The Week Ahead For AL Playoff Contenders: September 15th

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Assaulted in Detroit, the Indians playoff chances dwindle

How things “stand”:

That’ll just about do it.

The Cleveland Indians were swept for the second time this season by the Detroit Tigers over the weekend. With the Los Angeles Angels breaking-and-entering Progressive Field on Monday and a loss to the Minnesota Twins the following day, you have a 2-5 week from a team fighting to make the playoffs. Start stretching, fat lady. You don’t want to pull anything.

The Tribe woke up Monday morning with no keys, no wallet, a black eye and a 6.5 game deficit in the Central division. There’s no proof, but Alex Avila’s hand is swollen. The Tigers now enjoy a 1.5 game lead over the Kansas City Royals with less than two weeks left in the season.
The Wild Card is just as painful. Not only are the Indians a solid five games out, but they are tied there with the New York Yankees. The Toronto Blue Jays are one game closer at four games back. The ship seems to have been righted out in Oakland, with the A’s taking two of three from the Seattle Mariners over the weekend, who are now one game behind the Kansas City Royals for the second Wild Card spot.

The Week Ahead:

Cleveland Indians

Last week rating/results: Looking Good / 2-5

This week difficulty rating: Could be good, could be bad

Schedule: @ Houston 9/15-9/18, @ Minnesota 9/19-9/21

Sep 14, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (17) take the ball to relieve relief pitcher Bryan Shaw (27) in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Real quick: Woof. Two of the three losses against the Tigers came late, and out of the right hand of Bryan Shaw. Perhaps pitching in every Indians game since the Hoover administration is finally catching up to him. Things are looking bleaker than bleak. Seven consecutive away games for one of the worst teams in baseball on the road should help.

Kansas City Royals

Last week rating/results: Looking Good / 2-5

This week difficulty rating: Could be good, could be bad

Schedule: vs Chicago White Sox 9/15-9/17, off 9/18, vs Detroit 9/19-9/21

Real quick: I’m not very good at this. What looked like a favorable week turned into losing two of three to the Tigers and three of four to the Boston Red Sox. Getting two starts this week from ace James Shields is huge. With the Mariners nipping at their heels in the Wild Card, the Royals need to avoid a Cleveland Clunker against the Tigers.

Detroit Tigers

Last week rating/results: Could be good, could be bad / 5-1

This week difficulty rating: Looking Good

Sep 14, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder J.D. Martinez (28) runs the bases after he hits a home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) in the fourth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule: @ Minnesota 9/15-9/17, off 9/18, @ Kansas City 9/19-9/21

Real quick: Detroit is the only team right now in the Central playing like October baseball sounds fun to them. You don’t get much better than taking 5 of 6 from the second and third place teams in the division. Long road trip for them this week, but they’re better away from Comerica and the Twins have won four games total this month. If you have to face James Shields in a crucial division game in September, you could do a whole lot worse than trotting out Max Scherzer to face him.

Seattle Mariners

Last week rating/results: Looking Good / 2-4

This week difficulty rating: Could be good, could be bad

Schedule: @ Los Angeles Angels 9/15-9/18, @ Houston 9/19-9/21

Real quick: Four away games against the best record in baseball will be tough, but you never know when Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will toss two of them. Sitting at one game back in the Wild Card, the Mariners need to take care of business against the Astros, as well as the Blue Jays next week. They have seven games left against the Angels and the Tigers/Royals do not.

New York Yankees

Last week rating/results: Not so hot / 4-4

This week difficulty rating: Could be good, could be bad

Schedule: @ Tampa Bay 9/15-9/17, vs Toronto 9/18-9/21

Real quick: Figured four games and a doubleheader in Baltimore would be tough, and it was. However the Yanks played the Orioles well (one loss in 11 innings, another 3-2), and took two of three from the Rays before that. Four games against the Blue Jays, followed by four more against the Orioles and ending the season with three in Boston is a pretty tough final stretch. The Evil Empire needs an evil miracle to keep their evil playoff hopes alive. They could be eliminated from the division race tonight with a loss and a Baltimore win.

Toronto Blue Jays

More from Cleveland Guardians News

Last week rating/results: Looking Good / 4-2

This week difficulty rating: Could be good, could be bad

Schedule: @ Baltimore 9/15-9/17, @ New York Yankees 9/18-9/21

Real quick: Last week could have been much better for the Jays. After sweeping the Cubs at home, they lost the opener against the Rays, 1-0. After securing a 6-3 victory on Saturday, they lost again on Sunday, 6-5 in ten innings. Back to back sweeps would have been enormous for Toronto’s Wild Card hopes. Instead, they sit four games back, with the Mariners in front of them by three. Six remaining games against Baltimore on top of four vs Seattle is hardly a walk in the park. Losing Melky Cabrera for the year could very well have been the nail in the Canadian coffin.

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