The Playoff Picture (as of September 4)
Statistics are as of the morning of September 4.
Here’s an update on the playoff status for each of the Angels affiliates.
SALT LAKE — The Pacific Coast League plays a 144-game schedule. Unlike lower levels, it’s all one season, not divided into two halves. The Bees are 72-69, a half-game behind Tacoma in the Pacific North division. They just completed a four-game sweep of Fresno and beat Reno last night 11-4, while Tacoma (72-68) lost 10-7 in 12 innings at Fresno. The Bees have three left at home against Reno, while Tacoma will be on the road at Fresno for three. So the Bees still have a pulse.
UPDATE 11:00 AM PDT — In response to an e-mail … The half-game difference between Salt Lake and Tacoma is due to a Rainiers game against Oklahoma City on May 26 that was rained out. The game was cancelled because the two teams do not face each other again in 2010. The minors pretty much don’t care about making up games that may impact a title race, so Tacoma will continue to have that half-game advantage on Salt Lake through season’s end.
ARKANSAS — The Texas League plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Travelers finished 26-44 in the first half, 16 games behind Northwest Arkansas in the North division. They’ve clinched last place with a current second-half record of 27-40, ten games behind third-place Springfield, with three games to play.
RANCHO CUCAMONGA — The California League also plays a 140-game schedule divided into two 70-game halves. The Quakes finished 39-31 in the first half, good but not good enough to win the Cal League South, falling seven games behind Lake Elsinore (46-24). The Storm have been more like a squall in the second half, currently at 35-32, two games behind the first-place Quakes (37-30). High Desert (35-32) is tied for second place with Lake Elsinore. Rancho has three games left to play, on the road at Lancaster. The Mavericks have three to play at Lake Elsinore.
The Cal League has a rather convoluted playoff procedure, in part because they add an extra tier of playoffs. Click here to read the playoff procedures. Basically, the first-half team (Lake Elsinore) gets a bye while the second-half winner plays the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three playoff. Should the Storm win the second half too, then the teams with the second-best and third-best records would play. If you look at the overall records, Lake Elsinore is in first at 81-56, five games ahead of Rancho Cucamonga at 76-61 and nine ahead of High Desert at 72-65. With three games left to play, the Mavericks can’t catch the Quakes for the second-best record. All that appears to be at stake right now is home field advantage for the first-round mini-series; the team with the better finish is the home team for Games #2 and #3.
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Midwest League also plays a 140-game schedule split into two halves. The Kernels won the Western Division first half with a 43-25 record, so they’re automatically seeded into the post-season. They’re currently 36-31 with three games to go. The current roster bears little resemblance to the first-half powerhouse. Tyler Skaggs and Pat Corbin were traded to Arizona. Garrett Richards and Orangel Arenas were promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. Fabio Martinez Mesa has been on the disabled list since August 1 with right shoulder tendonitis and it’s unclear whether he’ll be available for the playoffs. League MVP Mike Trout was also promoted to Rancho along with third baseman Luis Jimenez. Randal Grichuk has returned from the disabled list, which will help, and Carlos Ramirez has hit much better in the second half.
UPDATE 9:30 AM PDT — I checked with Angels management about Fabio’s status. He won’t pitch in the playoffs but could pitch in fall instructional league.
OREM — The short-season Pioneer League plays a 76-game schedule divided into two halves of 38 games each. The Owlz finished 19-19 in the first half, four games behind Ogden (23-15). Ten days ago, Orem appeared poised to go off on another one of those famous Tom Kotchman runs as they won eight of ten between August 13 and 22 to move into first place for the second-half title, but since then have gone 2-8. The Owlz just dropped two out of three at home to Casper, and lost last night 5-2 at Idaho Falls. The Ghosts also lost, 8-6 at Ogden, so they remain in second place at 17-15 while the Owlz are in third at 16-15. Ogden at 19-12 is 2½ games ahead of Casper and three ahead of Orem.
Should Ogden win both halves, they’ll face the team with the second-best overall record. Right now, that would be the Owlz at 35-34, 1½ games ahead of Casper (34-36). Orem has six games left, starting with two more on the road at Idaho Falls (24-46 overall). They finish with four games against the Raptors, two at home and then two at Ogden. Casper is at Ogden for two more, then at home against Idaho Falls for four. The Owlz are fairly well-positioned to qualify for the playoffs, but they’ll have to play better during their remaining six games to outrun Casper.
TEMPE — The Arizona League plays a 56-game schedule which ended Sunday August 29. The Angels finished 24-31, last in the AZL East, so no playoff this year for the rookie league team.