Going into Wednesday's slate of MLB games, we've got plenty of tight playoff races to occupy our attention. In the event, however, that you're a rooter of the relatively secure Astros, Dodgers, or Yankees, you're likely more worried about locking up the best overall record and the home-field advantages that go with it.
Speaking of that, regard that tightly bunched fray:
Yep, all tied in the loss column. As for how this rather pleasing mess will be sorted out, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow thinks things will break in his favor. Here's what Luhnow said during a recent appearance on Sean Salisbury's show on SportsTalk 790 in Houston:
"Right now we're half a game behind L.A. for the best record in all of baseball, and I think we are going to pass them. I think we are going to pass the Yankees. I think we are going to pass them because you just think about what we are putting out there every night."
No doubt, the Astros are self-evidently an excellent team that bolstered themselves at the trade deadline with the addition of Zack Greinke, among others. As well, they'll at some point add shortstop Carlos Correa back to an offense that already leads the AL in OPS. Speaking of which, they lead the AL in OPS despite having gotten partial seasons from Jose Altuve and Correa because of injury and Yordan Alvarez because of late call-up. The rotation was already a force before Greinke joined it.
Moving forward, the remaining strengths of schedule are fairly similar for each of these three teams. The Astros, however, have a higher percentage of home games left to play than do the Yankees and Dodgers. To get a better idea of the road ahead, let's turn to the SportsLine Projection Model (@SportsLine on Twitter). Here's how SportsLine presently forecasts these three teams:
|Team||SportsLine projected regular-season wins|
Essentially, the system sees it as a coin-flip between Houston and L.A., with the Astros getting the slightest of nods and the Yankees very much within range. By way of reminder, the team with the best overall record earns the right to play any decisive Game 5 (in LDS play) or Game 7 (in LCS and World Series play) at home. That's not a huge factor, but in October you want any little benefit you can get. Given the six-month sprawl and grind of the regular season, it's also an understandable point of pride to say you hunted down more wins than anyone else. Mostly, though, it's about the possibility of those extra home games in the playoffs. To hear Luhnow tell it, his Astros are probably going to seize that opportunity.