Wow, what a finish in the AL wildcard race. The Indians winning their last 10 games, and needing every one of those wins to take the top wild card spot, as the Rays and Rangers both went 8-2 at the end (the Rangers with a 7-game winning streak of their own). This is the way you want to see a playoff race finish … lots of winning!
Reminds me a bit of the Rockies’ mad dash to the playoffs at the end of the 2007 season. They had to win, I believe, 13 of their last 14 to tie for the wildcard spot. It was exciting to watch!
Predictions: The Rays are a stong team, but weaker on the road. The Rangers have been impressive how they’ve turned things around at the end of the season, turning a big slump into a big winning streak. I’m inclined to give the Rangers the edge here given their home field advantage and momentum, but the fact that the Rays have David Price pitching gives me pause. At times this season he’s been lights-out, and though lately he’s been just consistently good, I have to think for a big game like this you’ll see him pitching well. Slight edge to the Rays because of Price. Should Price get injured before he’s done, edge goes back to the Rangers.
As for the following matchup with the Indians, I give the edge to the Indians. They’re a good team with a manager that knows about getting into and through the postseason, in Terry Francona. They’re on a roll and they’ll have a very partisan crowd in their favor, as their Wednesday wildcard game is already sold out, and their opponent is yet to be determined.
But in the end, the ALCS will be between the Red Sox and the A’s. Let’s just hope for a lot of fun baseball to watch on the way there!