The final nine games of the season are about to be crazy. The Indians are right in the middle of the AL Wild Card pack, trailing both the Rays and Rangers by a half game while the Yankees, Orioles, and Royals are all nipping at their heels. Knowing things are about to get crazy, I decided to ask the staff what they think might happen. I wanted them to pull out their crystal balls and play out what might happen over the course of the next week a half for this week’s edition of the Weekly Wroundtable. All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Here is what they did and, in the case of one staffer, didn’t have to say on the matter. Yes, the email chain quickly degraded. We’re awesome.
Jeff Mount: My gut tells me the Indians need to sweep the Astros to make it. Right now the schedule is a plus in that it’s hard to imagine both Texas and Tampa staying ahead of us. If we haven’t passed one or both of them by Sunday, the schedule becomes less relevant than the lack of games remaining, particularly if Baltimore or someone else stays in the mix.
Michael Chaney: I’ve probably said it a million times, but there’s something about this year’s Indians squad that gives me a much different feeling than I’ve ever really had about a team. There just seems to be some sort of magic about them. Much has been made of the fact that the Tribe’s remaining ten games are against lesser teams, but the Indians need to worry about playing quality baseball, and not who they’re playing it against.
I really like the odds of the Indians gliding through their remaining schedule and soaring into the Wild Card Game, but this game isn’t played on paper. The Indians still have a lot to prove, and you can bet that the Astros, White Sox, and Twins won’t simply roll over and die. With that said, for argument’s sake, I’ll say that the Indians will take three of four from the Astros, sweep the White Sox, and split the series with the Twins for a total record of 7-3 in their final ten games.
Is that enough for the playoffs? Possibly. After the final game of their series with the Rays, the Rangers face the Royals in Kansas City (three games) and host the Astros (three games) and Angels (four games) to end the season. If the Indians indeed go 7-3 to end the season, Texas would need to go 6-5 or worse to give the Indians a Wild Card spot, while the Rays would need to go 5-6 or worse. Tampa Bay will play the last game of their series with the Rangers and then host the Orioles (four games) before ending the season on a six-game roadtrip to face the Yankees and Blue Jays (three games each). It’s very possible that one of these teams could struggle and give the Indians an opportunity to make the postseason, but the chances of the Indians doing the same are just as high.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the Indians making the playoffs, but I won’t GUARANTEE IT. However, if I had to definitively answer, you’ll be seeing the Indians playing October baseball.
Steve Kinsella: To me it’s a simple scenario. I will be on vacation from September 28 through October 5th and will be unable to cover any of the Tampa Bay Rays games; therefore, the Indians will go 6-4 an win the second wild card and travel to Tampa to take on the Rays. I will be unable to see the game but will be watching with my mother who will give me dirty looks every time the Rays do something well. If I were going to be in attendance at the wild card game the Indians would go 4-6 and miss the playoffs.
Ed Carroll: I anticipate there will be 10 games of the baseball played in this span. I expect the Indians to win most of these games but they could lose some.
Maddening generalities aside, I really don’t see much reason to start speculating about scenarios quite yet. This is fairly new territory for Tribe fans (2000 and 2005 have really been the team’s only experience with the Wild Card in its previous format), and the second wild card adds too many variables for me to get nutty over yet.
This is another oversimplification, but I see four “legit” wild card contenders at this point (Tampa, Texas, Cleveland and New York) and two “pretenders” (Kansas City and Baltimore) based off my completely arbitrary judgement. I’m not ready to speculate much yet. I’m just gonna watch and enjoy the city’s only source of meaningful sports games in September.
Brian Heise: Ed, you are the worst…
Geordy Boveroux: Ed said a whole lot of something that was really nothing. Like a friggin’ politician, avoiding the question but talking incessantly hoping no one will notice and to also sound smart.
Ed Carroll: interesting analogy. Not what I intended, but the “politician” label probably applies. I didn’t like the question as presented, so I sidestepped it while finding a way to push my agenda.
Brian Heise: You didn’t like the question as presented? When did this become a political debate? Seriously… just tell me what you think might happen. How hard is that? Jesus tap dancing Christ.
Geordy Boveroux: Ed doesn’t like anything about the Indians that doesn’t come out of his or my mouth.
Nick Houghtaling: Don’t forget me. I’ve led Wahoo’s on First in Opinion Quality Over Replacement for months.
Steve Kinsella: Give Ed the Steve Response: “Seriously, what is the real Wroundtable Question?”
Ed Carroll: Well, honestly, I don’t really see the point. I have received more than what I wanted out of this team in Spring Training – a legit chance at playoff baseball in September. I won’t lie and say I won’t be disappointed if the team goes 0-10, but 10-0 doesn’t necessarily guarantee playoffs either (OK, since TB plays Texas again it SORTA does, but why be bitter at 9-1?)
We can count/speculate wins all we want. If that’s fun for you at this point, go for it. Me, don’t care as much. Keep playing well this month and there’s a good chance they will still be playing next month.
Brian Heise: This is how aneurysms happen…
Evan Vogel: The Indians are still playing baseball? Damn! I was too busy coloring my Trent Richardson jersey blue and cutting myself to realize that the Indians were actually good this year. Based on the bleeding and the need for a quick response, I say the Indians go 7-2-1 and miss the playoffs by one game due to the first tie in decades because it’s a Cleveland sports team and that is how life works. Adam Dunn costs the Tribe a playoff spot and Ed Carroll realizes that he was in love with the wrong man all year; instead, Ed should have loved Lonnie Chisenhall, Carlos Santana, or Rich Hill just a little bit more.
Ed Carroll: If you’re gonna jump in late you better bring it hard. Evan brought it hardest. Lol
Brian Heise: Evan wins.
Evan Vogel: I love winning! Unlike the Browns.