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The muddled middle of the American League

White Sox crack the AL Top 10. So what.

Sox are in the top 10. That's good! Only top 5 make play-offs. That's bad!
Sox are in the top 10. That's good! Only top 5 make play-offs. That's bad!
your momma

4.5 games back of the Twins for the second wild card with 65 games to go.

That doesn't seem so insurmountable until you realize a third of the league is in the same boat.

6 teams are feasibly still in the hunt, despite being on the outside looking in tonight.

I mean just look at this log jam-

log jammin'

So that's the competition. The muddled middle of the American League. These guys are currently on the outside looking in, and deservedly so. Still, at the 100 game marker, it's too early to count any of them out, and it makes the looming trade deadline damn interesting.

Right now the only lock in my eyes for the AL play-offs are the Royals, what with their "Kansas City specials"* and brand new Ace in the hole, Johnny Cueto. Which muddies the water even further, as that leaves 10 halfway decent teams vying for the 4 remaining tickets to the post-season dance.

It's pretty easy to be optimistic about our 'Hitless Blunders' right now, winners of 5 in a row. All they need to do is score 5 runs today(50% off papa johns!) and their runs scored in the 11 games since the All-Star break will equal their output for the entire month of April. Things are on the up and up. Spanky gets on base on the regular now, Melky is crushing it, LaRoche... well, LaRoche got benched once! I'd feel a hell of a lot better about the whole situation if it wasn't 2 of the 5 teams that are actually trailing the White Sox pumping life back into the franchise after getting rolled in 3 straight by the Royals.

So what do you do with the Shark?

It's clearly not just me thinking about this peculiar situation. We are roughly 100 games into the season and two thirds of the American League would be totally justified to add for the final push. What the hell? Is this hockey in the 90s?

Doesn't that drive up the price for the Smardge? It seems like it should. Toronto is sniffing around was a game thread rumor last night. They're 7 games behind the Yankees. Same as the O's. 3 games out of the wild card, 1.5 ahead of our guys. Are the White Sox better than both of these teams? I have no idea. Should the Sox deal with either of them? Hell if I know. Throw Tampa into the mix for also-rans in the East. The 4 good teams of the East should continue to beat each other up, I don't see a lot of separation there, and hopefully they keep pulling each other down to open the door.

Ok, what about Houston, are they a lock for the wild card home game?

I mean if I got to pick one place for the White Sox to play a road game in the play-offs this year, I'd probably pick Houston. The White Sox own Houston. I think Houston gets in, they may even catch the Angels. Carlos Correa looks fantastic. He is already a star player. With Jose Altuve at 2nd they are strong up the middle. They have good young starting pitching. Dallas Keuchel is excellent. Colin McHugh has 13 quality starts thus far and they just added Scott Kazmir. Can the Sox overcome 6 games over 65 to wrestle away a home game? I kind of doubt that.

More importantly, are they better than the Twins?

It seems to me that they should be. The best starter they have in Minnesota has given up more HR than anyone else in the league. Joe Mauer got old incredibly fast. Byron Buxton is out with a bum thumb. He could miss a month. There is blood in the water here.

I don't see the Tigers trading David Price, despite being in a bit of a free fall with Miguel Cabrera out. See the common denominator here? The most dangerous bat from both other teams within the division and in the wild card conversation is out of their respective line ups. For all of us boobs clinging to that sliver of hope, Buxton and Miggy on the shelf is a good thing.

I'd be shocked to see the Twins make the play-offs. If they do though, I'd like to see them get swept by New York for old times sake, because I think the Yankees are probably back in the post-season for 2015.

Does that make New York buyers? Of course they are buyers, they are always buyers. In the old Steinbrenner days the White Sox probably could have walked away with Aaron Judge for the rental of  Jeff Samardzija if the boss thought Irish was their key to the World Series. Those days are gone though, and we just have no idea what sort of prospects are being bandied about, and by whom. Therefore I will spare you any further rosterbation. It seems to me the smartest thing to do is to stay the course and just see what happens anyway.

I think the Angels are in as well. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols are game changers. Garrett Richards and our old friend Hector Santiago turning in seemingly career years.

My playoff picture looks like this-

Royals are the #1 seed, Yankees add a something or another and hold on to the East. The West is a toss up between Houston and the Angels with the other one getting a wild card.

That leaves the Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays in the East, the White Sox and Twins in the Central, and the Rangers all in a battle royal for the last wild card.

That's why I think Rick Hahn should shoot for the moon when teams come calling, and if they pass or laugh at him or whatever just keep the hoosier and the sandwich pick next season and see what this team has left in the tank.

~I'd be fascinated to someday learn about who was selling what and who was after whom and who just stayed with the stone cold poker face as these last few days wind down to the 2015 trading deadline. Will anyone go all in on Cole Hamels? Did the Blue Jays really just get Troy Tulowitzki(unconfirmed at my bed time)?

Rusney Castillo was impressive enough tonight that the Red Sox traded Shane Victorino to the Angels to seemingly give him a job. That makes some sense to me.

It looks like it is Tulo and LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto for Jose Reyes, minor league stud pitcher coming off TJ surgery Jeff Hoffman, and Miguel Castro. Wow. That makes Toronto a little more dangerous, doesn't it? Jose Reyes has to still be on the move again, right? Was the 3 team rumor true? Good stuff.

This season is something else with 8 teams within 5 games of the two wild card spots with about 100 games in the books.

*KC special is the latest addition to the Hawk Harrelson list of catch phrases. Your seeing eye singles and duck snorts, if you will.