The Playoff Picture (as of September 5)
Statistics are as of the morning of September 5.
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 72-70, 1½ games behind Tacoma (73-68) in the Pacific North division with two games to play. The Rainiers have one fewer game to play as their May 26 game against Oklahoma City was cancelled due to rain and won’t be made up. The Bees lost last night 6-5 to Reno while the Rainiers won 3-1 at Fresno. The Bees must win both remaining games at home against Reno (68-73) while Tacoma must lose both remaining games at Fresno (74-68) for Salt Lake to go to the post-season.
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 27-41, and have lost ten in row. They have two games left to play at home against Springfield, and then Travs fans can look forward to receiving next year many of the players on Rancho Cucamonga’s title-contending team. Speaking of which …
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 35-33, two games behind the first-place Quakes (37-31). High Desert (36-32) is in second place, one game behind Rancho, and one game ahead of Lake Elsinore. The Quakes have two games left at Lancaster, while the Mavericks have two games left 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 81-57, five games ahead of Rancho Cucamonga at 76-62 and eight ahead of High Desert at 732-65. With two games 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 37-31 with two 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 won’t 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.
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 2-9. The Owlz lost last night 11-10 at Idaho Falls. The Ghosts also lost, 15-4 at Ogden, so they remain in second place at 17-16 while the Owlz are in third at 16-16. Ogden at 20-12 is 3½ games ahead of Casper and four ahead of Orem. (The half-game difference comes from an Owlz’ rainout August 30 at Billings that won’t be made up, and an Ogden rainout at Great Falls the same day.)
Should Ogden win both halves, they’ll face the team with the second-best overall record. Right now, that would be the Owlz at 35-35, 1½ games ahead of Casper (34-37). Orem has five games left, starting with today on the road at Idaho Falls (25-46 overall). They finish with four games against the Raptors, two at home and then two at Ogden. Casper is at Ogden today, 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 five 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.