I wanted to put a fairly reasonable scenario together that would not only get the Indians to 90 wins (which in my mind seems to be the magic number to make the playoffs), but the teams competing with the Indians for that second wild card spot to fewer than 90 wins.
American League Wild Card Standings
It's highly unlikely that the Indians catch the A's (or the Rangers), so for this exercise, let's assume that Tampa Bay is the team that the Indians have to catch:
First,let's assume that the Indians do this over their remaining games:
Cleveland (current record: 74-65)
- New York Mets (Sep 6-8) 2-1
- Kansas City (Sep 9-11) 2-1
- @Chicago White Sox (Sep 12-15) 3-1
- @Kansas City (Sep 16-18) 1-2
- Houston (Sep 19-22) 3-1
- Chicago White Sox (Sep 24-25) 2-0
- @Minnesota (Sep 26-29) 3-1
Record: 90-72 (16-7)
I think that's fairly doable given the schedule. That's with a series loss in Kansas City, but with a two-game sweep of the White Sox in the last week.
So if the Indians get to 90 wins, what do the other clubs have to do?
Tampa Bay (current record: 77-61)
- @LA Angels (Sep 5) 0-1
- @Seattle (Sep 6-8) 2-1
- Boston (Sep 10-12) 1-2
- @Minnesota (Sep 13-15) 2-1
- Texas (Sep 16-19) 2-2
- Baltimore (Sep 20-21) 1-3
- @New York Yankees (Sep 24-26) 1-2
- @Toronto (Sep 27-29) 2-1
Final Record: 89-73 (11-13)
No ridiculous losing streaks, but I'm counting on the tough schedule hurting the Rays, particularly that 4-game series against the Orioles.
New York Yankees (Current record: 75-64)
- Boston (Sep 5-8): 1-3
- @Baltimore (Sep 9-12): 2-2
- @Boston (Sep 13-15) 1-2
- @Toronto (Sep 17-19) 3-0
- San Francisco (Sep 20-22) 2-1
- Tampa Bay (Sep 24-26) 2-1
- @Houston (Sep 27-29) 3-0
Final record: 89-73 (14-9)
The Indians only have to make up 2 games on the Yankees, but several of the series are against other teams in the race. The 7 games against Boston are absolutely crucial.
Baltimore (current record: 73-65)
- Chicago White Sox (Sep 5-8) 3-1
- New York Yankees (Sep 9-12) 2-2
- @Toronto (Sep 13-15) 2-1
- @Boston (Sep 17-19) 1-2
- @Tampa Bay (Sep 20-23) 3-1
- Toronto (Sep 24-26) 2-1
- Boston (Sep 27-29) 2-1
Final record: 88-70 (15-9)
I think Baltimore had the easiest remaining schedule of the three AL East clubs, which is why last night's win was so important. Again I'm counting on Boston to help out, but also hoping that the Orioles help the Indians out against Tampa Bay.
Kansas City (current record: 72-67)
- Seattle (Sep 5) 1-0
- Detroit (Sep 6-8) 1-2
- @Cleveland (Sep 9-11) 1-2
- @Detroit (Sep 13-15) 1-2
- Cleveland (Sep 16-18) 2-1
- Texas (Sep 20-22) 2-1
- @Seattle (Sep 23-25) 2-1
- @Chicago White Sox (Sep 26-29) 3-1
Final record: 85-77 (13-10)
This is the only contending team that the Indians play the remainder of the season, and if the Indians at worst split those 6 games, they should be ok. The Royals play 6 more games against the Tigers and 3 more against the Rangers, and even if they go 4-5 in those games (as I have them going) they won't come close to the playoffs.
Over the next month we're all going to become Red Sox, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Rangers fans, and depending on the series, Orioles or Yankees fans. Because the Indians went 3-6 over the last 9 games, they're going to need some help to overtake the Yankees and Rays, but the schedule does seem to favor them. But they have almost no room for error. If they lose more than one of their remaining seven series, they're probably done.