Split the Season in Two!

I find the 1981 season to be quite fascinating, as due to a strike in the middle of season, the playoff teams were determined in a strange fashion. Whichever teams were leading their division pre-strike would make the playoffs, but whichever teams lead their division post-strike would make the playoffs as well. This lead to the Cincinnati Reds having the best record in the NL West for the season as a whole, but because they finished second in both the first half and second half – they did not make the playoffs.

Well wouldn’t it be fun to see what would happen if this method of playoff determining was still in effect today? Not really? Well, that’s just your opinion, and I’m going to do it anyway.

The rules for the playoffs(as decided by myself . I’m often referred to a young Bowie Kuhn.) are as follows: The winner of each division in each half qualifies for the playoffs. If the same team wins both halves, then the second place team with the best single half winning percentage wins the second playoff spot. The two teams in each league with the best single half winning percentages get first round byes in the playoffs, while the remaining four teams will square off in the first round.

Now let’s move on to the results of the first half:

AL East W L W-L% GB NL East W L W-L% GB
NYY 52 33 0.612 WSN 49 34 0.590
BAL 45 40 0.529 7 ATL 46 39 0.541 4
TBR 45 41 0.523 7.5 NYM 46 40 0.535 4.5
TOR 43 43 0.500 9.5 MIA 41 44 0.482 9
BOS 43 43 0.500 9.5 PHI 37 50 0.425 14
AL Central W L W-L% GB NL Central W L W-L% GB
CHW 47 38 0.553 PIT 48 37 0.565
CLE 44 41 0.518 3 CIN 47 38 0.553 1
DET 44 42 0.512 3.5 STL 46 40 0.535 2.5
KCR 37 47 0.440 9.5 MIL 40 45 0.471 8
MIN 36 49 0.424 11 CHC 33 52 0.388 15
HOU 33 53 0.384 15.5
AL West W L W-L% GB
TEX 52 34 0.605 NL West W L W-L% GB
LAA 48 38 0.558 4 LAD 47 40 0.540
OAK 43 43 0.500 9 SFG 46 40 0.535 0.5
SEA 36 51 0.414 16.5 ARI 42 43 0.494 4
SDP 34 53 0.391 13
COL 33 52 0.388 13

The Yankees ran away with the AL East in the first half, and also had the best winning percentage in the AL. The White Sox finished three games up on the surprising Indians to win the Central, while the Rangers finished four games ahead of the Angels to take the West.

In the NL, the Nationals won the playoff spot in the East, while the Pirates finished a game ahead of the Reds to take the Central. There was some controversy in the NL West, as the Dodgers finished only 0.5 games ahead of the Giants, but also were allowed to play one more game than the Giants – perhaps a sign of the schedule makers showing an LA bias. Bruce Bochy was reportedly furious.

On to the second half standings as of today:

AL East W L W-L% GB NL East W L W-L% GB
BAL 39 24 0.619 WSN 40 23 0.635
TBR 33 29 0.532 5.5 ATL 39 25 0.609 1.5
NYY 31 30 0.508 7 PHI 37 24 0.607 2
TOR 23 36 0.390 14 MIA 25 39 0.391 15.5
BOS 25 38 0.397 14 NYM 20 41 0.328 19
AL Central W L W-L% GB NL Central W L W-L% GB
DET 34 27 0.557 CIN 42 21 0.667
CHW 34 28 0.548 0.5 MIL 35 27 0.565 6.5
KCR 29 34 0.460 6 STL 32 30 0.516 9.5
MIN 25 38 0.397 10 PIT 26 36 0.419 15.5
CLE 17 46 0.270 18 CHC 25 38 0.397 17
HOU 15 47 0.242 26.5
AL West W L W-L% GB
OAK 41 20 0.672 NL West W L W-L% GB
TEX 35 26 0.574 6 SFG 39 23 0.629
SEA 34 28 0.548 7.5 SDP 37 24 0.607 1.5
LAA 33 29 0.532 8.5 ARI 31 31 0.500 8
LAD 29 31 0.483 9
COL 25 37 0.403 14

The Orioles are well on their way to winning the second AL East playoff spot, and they currently sport a better winning percentage than the Yankees did in the first half. The Tigers and White Sox are battling it out in the Central, although the White Sox already clinched a spot in the first half. The Tigers will make the playoffs as long as they can keep their winning percentage over the .518 that the Indians posted in the first half. In the West, the A’s are running away with the division, and currently have the best AL winning percentage. If the season ended today, the A’s and Orioles would have first round byes, while the Yankees would host the White Sox and the Rangers would host the Tigers.

Over in the NL, Washington is likely going to take the division again, but because they already clinched in the first half, the real race is for second place between the Braves and the Phillies, who are only separated by a half game. The Reds are cruising in the Central, and currently have the highest NL winning percentage of any team. Over in the West, the Giants hold a 1.5 game lead over the upstart Padres, who have really turned it around in the second half. If the season ended today, the Reds and Nationals would have first round byes, while the Giants would host the Dodgers, and the Braves would host the Pirates.

These last few weeks of the season should be exciting to say the least!

 

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