But what about the 1 seed? The Rays have been scalding in the second half (37-20) and currently sit 4.5 games ahead of Houston. They’re doing playing the Orioles though, against whom they’ve gone 11-1 in the second half. 26-19, in case you’re wondering, is the Rays second-half record against non-Oriole opponents. That’s much less impressive. What does their schedule look like?
Third, they need to win the series in Houston to gain the tie-breaker. The reality for the Astros is that there’s almost no way they drop that series and catch the Rays. For argument’s sake, let’s say the Astros take 2 of 3 against the Rays, giving them the season series and thus the tie-break.
Getting the 2 seed means having home field advantage in the ALDS, no small matter considering that the White Sox are below water (34–36) away from Guaranteed Rate Field. Their next 11 are on the road, where they’ll have to start playing better if they want a chance for the 2 seed. They’ve had one, two-game winning streak this month and are 3 games back of Houston, who holds the tie-breaker. Even if the Astros close the season at 8-8, the White Sox would need to go 12-4 to get the 2-seed.
They play the next nine games at home, against Detroit (3), Toronto (3), and and Miami (3), before spending the last week @ Houston (3) & NYY (3). The Fangraphs projections have them going 8-7 down the stretch and ending with 98 wins.
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