Which MLB team not in a playoff spot has best shot to get in? [Updated]
[Updated at 1:41 p.m.:
Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
I'm going with the Los Angeles Angels. They have six games left with the Texas Rangers, who lead the American League West. The Rangers have 21 games left with teams with winning records. The Angels have 13, six of those against the Rangers.
Over the next two weeks the Rangers play the Boston Red Sox, the Angels, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox again and the Rays again. At the same time the Angels play the Chicago White Sox, the Rangers, the Seattle Mariners, the Minnesota Twins and the Mariners again.
The Angels aren't going to out-hit anybody but they just called up mega-prospect Mike Trout to join Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter in baseball's best outfield defense. Jared Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana can give up all the fly balls they like now -- and the Angels can win 2-1.
Harvey Failkov, Orlando Sun Sentinel
Unless MLB adds another wild card team, as the owners have been contemplating, seven of the eight playoff teams seem locked in. Tampa Bay has the hard luck to be trapped in its division with the Yankees and Red Sox, favorites to face the pitch-rich Phillies in the World Series.
Detroit, led by Justin "No Hit" Verlander and closer Jose Valerde, are pulling away from Cleveland.
World Series runner-up Rangers are ranked third in offense, too much firepower for the Angels.
The Brewers, flexing their "Braun," have left the Cardinals in their dust. No one will catch Atlanta for the wild card.
NL West-leading Arizona has scored six runs in five-straight losses. while the defending world champion Giants (35-25 at home) begin a 12-game home stand against sub-.500 teams. Unless Manager Kirk Gibson grabs a bat, the Giants, led by Tim Lincecum, will overtake the no-name Diamondbacks for the final spot.]
Phil Rodgers, Chicago Tribune
Seldom has a September in the wild-card era offered less excitement for baseball fans. We're in for an overdose of anticlimactic champagne celebrations beginning around Sept. 15 and the only drama lies in whether two of baseball's best pitching staffs -- the Giants and the Angels -- can sufficiently rise to the occasion to overcome teams with much better lineups (the Diamondbacks and Rangers). As much as I love the Angels' trio of Jared Weaver, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren, I don't think they can stop a team that is a threat to outslug the Red Sox or Yankees in a playoff series. But the Giants can -- and probably will -- reach the playoffs. They have the confidence of winning a down-to-the-last-day race against the Padres a year ago, and they have a favorable schedule. They are 28-17 against NL West teams, which other than the Astros (4) and Cubs (3) is all they play the rest of the way. You know the Phillies are rooting furiously for the Diamondbacks, but I think we're heading for a first-round rematch of the 2010 NLCS, Phillies vs. Giants.
Photo: The San Francisco Giants have the pitching staff, led by Tim Lincecum, and a favorable schedule to make the postseason again. Credit: Cary Edwards / US Presswire