The baseball universe, at least the ones who get to keep playing, will continue without the Chicago Cubs yet again. It was a trying season for the North Siders but we’re hopefully moving in the right direction as the minor league and player development systems are rebuilt and the new infrastructure is put in place. We’ll still be here during the postseason and the offseason all the way into spring training and beyond, and we thank you for hanging out with us and sharing us with your friends.
Now let’s take a look at the playoff picture. Schedule is here.
Money Money Money…
A few days ago I posted a quickie chart of how much each team spent on the MLB payroll this season and where they were in the standings. Let’s update that chart right now.
|New York Yankees||$ 197,962,289||$209,792,900||AL East Champion, best record in AL at 95-67|
|Philadelphia Phillies||$ 174,538,938||$172,093,902||Eliminated, 81-81|
|Boston Red Sox||$ 173,186,617||$175,249,119||Eliminated, 69-93|
|Los Angeles Angels||$ 154,485,166||$151,381,000||Eliminated, 89-73|
|Detroit Tigers||$ 132,300,000||$133,475,000||AL Central Champion, 88-74|
|Texas Rangers||$ 120,510,974||$120,836,000||1st AL Wild Card, 93-69|
|Miami Marlins||$ 118,078,000||$101,628,000||Eliminated, 69-93|
|San Francisco Giants||$ 117,620,683||$131,355,298||NL West Champion, 94-68|
|St. Louis Cardinals||$ 110,300,862||$111,858,500||2nd NL Wild Card, 88-74|
|Milwaukee Brewers||$ 97,653,944||$98,150,833||Eliminated, 83-79|
|Chicago White Sox||$ 96,919,500||$97,669,500||Eliminated, 85-77|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||$ 95,143,575||$105,419,833||Eliminated, 86-76|
|Minnesota Twins||$ 94,085,000||$100,435,000||Eliminated, 66-96|
|New York Mets||$ 93,353,983||$94,508,822||Eliminated, 74-88|
|Chicago Cubs||$ 88,197,033||$109,316,000||Eliminated, 61-101|
|Atlanta Braves||$ 83,309,942||$93,529,667||1st NL Wild Card, 94-68|
|Cincinnati Reds||$ 82,203,616||$87,826,167||NL Central Champion, 97-65|
|Seattle Mariners||$ 81,978,100||$84,928,100||Eliminated, 75-87|
|Baltimore Orioles||$ 81,428,999||$84,102,333||2nd AL Wild Card, 93-69|
|Washington Nationals||$ 81,336,143||$92,534,929||NL East Champion, 98-64, best record in National League|
|Cleveland Indians||$ 78,430,300||$65,430,300||Eliminated, 68-94|
|Colorado Rockies||$ 78,069,571||$81,135,571||Eliminated, 64-98|
|Toronto Blue Jays||$ 75,489,200||$83,739,200||Eliminated, 73-89|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||$ 74,284,833||$75,417,833||Eliminated, 81-81|
|Tampa Bay Rays||$ 64,173,500||$63,627,200||Eliminated, 90-72|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||$ 63,431,999||$51,932,333||Eliminated, 79-83|
|Kansas City Royals||$ 60,916,225||$64,001,725||Eliminated, 72-90|
|Houston Astros||$ 60,651,000||$60,799,000||Eliminated, 55-107|
|Oakland Athletics||$ 55,372,500||$52,873,000||AL West Champion, 94-68|
|San Diego Padres||$ 55,244,700||$55,621,900||Eliminated, 76-86|
First of all, I have to commend the commish for cramming the extra wild card in, although the races in the American League would probably have been just as exciting without it. The National League was also exciting, though for mostly seeding purposes. If not for the second wild card, however, the Cardinals probably get eliminated ages ago. As it was, most races were hotly contested until the very end. So kudos for that.
Secondly, it’s amazing how a large payroll didn’t actually guarantee anything for some clubs on the list. Though you’ve got to pin some of that on bad decisions and bad luck with injuries. Maybe the National League just sucks, but three out of the five postseason participants had payrolls under $95MM. Then you have the Oakland A’s. Try to explain that one. Even the Yankees had to get to the final series before they clinched the division.
Finally, the fact that they actually had to slam this extra wild card into an already crowded schedule means that the higher seeds are all at a disadvantage due to the need to have at least one game in each team’s home city while reducing travel days. As you can see from the schedule, after the Friday games, where the Orioles travel to Texas and the Cardinals visit Atlanta, the higher seeds will have to travel to whichever team wins the wild card playoff and play two games on the road before heading home. Hardly seems fair, but that’s what they had to do to meet broadcast TV demands and not screw up the schedule too much. One year only, and they should have this figured out before next postseason. Not that the Cubs are expected to compete for a spot so soon, but with nine of 16 NL teams at .500 or lower, it’s not too far-fetched if whatever scrubs Theo and Jed are able to sign can play out of their minds.
Anyway…in the divisional rounds, the Yankees travel to whoever wins the wild card between the O’s and Rangers. The Nationals travel to the winner of STL vs. ATL. Then the other matchups are Cincinnati at San Francisco and Oakland at Detroit. It’s definitely stupid to call it “homefield” advantage when the teams with the best records, Yankees and Nationals, have to start on the road, but nothing anyone can do about it now.
My Nostradumbass prediction says that Texas will beat the O’s in the AL Wild Card playoff while the Braves beat the Cardinals. Since there are no restrictions on teams not playing another team from the same division, the Nats will face the Braves and beat them in five games. The Giants will beat the Reds in five (I believe SFG’s rotation is better even with Barry Zito and a subpar Tim Lincecum). The Rangers will lose to the Yankees in four games, while the A’s will defeat the Tigers in four. In the league championship series, I think the Nats outlast the Giants in six and the A’s find a way to beat the Yankees in six or seven. The 2012 World Series champion will be the Washington Nationals in six games, becoming the 104782547th professional franchise to win a championship since the Cubs last tasted sweet victory in 1908.
If you take these predictions as gospel and bet in Vegas and win I want 10%. If you lose, then I absolve myself of all responsibility. Enjoy October, folks.