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Examining Our Standings

A lot has been written both locally (pro and blog) and nationally about how the Rangers are “running away” with the AL West. That we have the widest margin of any of the division leaders, and that we’re a “slam dunk” to make the playoffs. While all of that may be true, I decided to examine our record and see where it would put us.
I remember some years ago when the Padres make the playoffs (1998), there was talk that they were the “best of a bunch of bad teams”, and that they only make the playoffs because someone from that division had to. There always seems to be some team somewhere that kind of does that – “backs into” the playoffs is what it’s generally called.
Now, do I feel that’s the way the Rangers are in 2010? No, we’re not a bad team. No, we won’t “back” into the playoffs. The way the team has played this year, we deserve to be there. But still, having said all that, I’d like to see where our current record would place us in the other divisions. A lot also has been made about how the other teams besides the Yankees & the Red Sox (and the Rays in more recent vintage) in the AL East would fare better if they were in another division. So here goes:
AL West: We’re in first place, 9.5 games up on second place Oakland. Our record is 73-55, 18 games over .500 – our winning percentage is .570
AL Central: Our record in that division would put us in second place behind the Twins, only a half game behind them. We’d be three games up on third place Chicago. A pretty decent shot at winning that division, I’d say while it wouldn’t be as easy, we could win that division.
AL East: We’d be in FOURTH place here. Right now the Yankees & Rays are tied at 78-50 (.609), and then Boston is in third at 74-55 (.574). We wouldn’t be far behind Boston (one game), and the division leaders (5GB), but we would have to hop three other teams to get there. I’d say this would be the hardest shot to make the playoffs, despite being only 5 games out.
NL West: Our record here would put us in second place, about 3.5 games back of division leader San Diego, and 2.5 games in front of third place San Francisco. Again, we’d be right in the thick of things, and would probably have a good shot at winning this division.
NL Central: Again, second place. This time just one game back of division leader Cincinnati, and 3 games in front of second place St. Louis. A very winnable division if we were in it.
NL East: This time, our record would tie us with Atlanta for the division lead, and two games up on what would be third place Philadelphia. Of the three NL divisions, I’d say this would be the hardest fight, but we probably could win this as well.
So basically, outside of our own division, we could easily win three of them, have a good fight with one of them, and in my opinion, be out of the playoffs in one other.
I realize this is a nebulous thing, if you moved us out of the division, we’d play different teams, different stadiums, things would be different. Yeah, I know that. Just playing a “pick up and put into another scenario – how would be be doing” fantasy. I know that. Still, it’s nice to know where we stand amongst everyone else.
I’ve given Tom Hicks some grief many a time for letting Bud Selig off the hook on moving the Rangers to the AL Central, where we’d more fit in with our division mates and the time zone. It stinks having so many games start at 9PM. However, had Bud not taken the guaranteed home and away series with the Astros every year, and actually moved us to the AL Central, we wouldn’t be in the driver’s seat we are in now. However, we might have won a few more divisions along the way and have been to the playoffs sometime in the last decade.
Still, this year is feeling like no other I’ve covered on this site since the first one I ever covered (1999). 2004 came close, but we fell down at the end. This doesn’t feel like that year at all. How far we get in the playoffs is an unknown, but at this point, I’m ready to say that we WILL get there, and I expect it will not be a first round sweep and out again. Overall, I think the team is too good for that.

Comments

  1. Great post, Joe. I actually play this same “fantasy” game when I check the standings.
    Considering that the Angels have been a strong playoff contender in recent years, I don’t see how people can make the argument that the Rangers are the best of a bad division. :)
    I hope – as you said – that it’s not another “one and done” playoff appearance by the Rangers. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, especially if we can face someone other than the Yankees at home in the first round.