I was just looking at this after the Dodgers lost to the Rockies to finish tonight’s slate of games. It seems that in 2013, every team that makes the playoffs from either league will need at least 90 wins to qualify. In the NL, the low-water mark is the Cincinnati Reds, who could still get to 91 if they beat the Pirates to avoid a sweep tomorrow. In the AL, the Rangers and Rays have 90 wins apiece and the Indians have 91, though only two of them can get in via the wild card. The AL contingent therefore must have at least 91 wins to qualify this year.
This isn’t like years past when teams could sneak in with 85 wins or whatever. The divisions and leagues seem very top-heavy this season, with the NL being particularly lop-sided. The Cubs, even if they had finished above .500, might still be looking up at the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds. Arguably, the three top teams in the NL Central may not all have 90+ wins if the Cubs had been better, but wishing for the division to suck and for the Cubs to just sneak in is obviously not the way to go in retrospect. This might be a function of #YCPB, or just because the top teams in the NL (particularly the Central division) are built really well at the MLB level and the rest are seriously flawed.
At the very least, we should have an exciting final day as seedings have yet to be finalized. One of Texas, Cleveland, or Tampa Bay will be out of the race, or they might force potential tiebreakers on Monday and/or Tuesday (if necessary). In the NL, Atlanta still has a chance of stealing home field away from the Cardinals, so the Dodgers may have to wait to see who they have to play later on this week.
One more day…then after October, another long winter as we wait for spring. It’s too bad baseball has to end, but the anticipation is part of what makes spring training and Opening Day so special.