The AL West is now a three-way tie, and with the strike date set for August 30, it may be a mad dash for the Mariners, A's, and Angels to be on top on that day. The theory is that the rest of the season may be lost, but the strike will be settled for the playoffs, and the standings as of the strike day will be final. Let's see who each team plays before August 30:
Anaheim (9): 2 games @ New York, 4 @ Boston, 3 vs. Tampa Bay
Oakland (8): 2 @ Cleveland, 3 @ Detroit, 3 @ Kansas City
Seattle (8): 2 @ Detroit, 3 @ Cleveland, 3 @ Minnesota
It seems that the Angels have the hardest row to hoe with the Yankees (who are playing well even though they have nothing to play for at this point) and the Red Sox (who are fighting for their playoff lives but not playing particularly well), though they do have a slam dunk series with Tampa Bay as well. Oakland, the hottest of the three teams, plays three sub-.500 teams from the AL Central. The M's don't have such a difficult schedule either with only Minnesota (who like the Yanks have nothing to play for, but unlike the Yanks just seem to be coasting) to worry about. Well, the way they have been playing the Tigers, maybe they have to worry about everyone.
The Mariners seem set to become the Janice of this situation. Oakland seems to have the easiest ride. My prediction (which are always notoriously wrong) is that Oakland wins maybe 6 (6-2). Seattle plays .500 ball (4-4). Anaheim splits with the Yankees, wins two in Boston, and takes all 3 from TB at home, for a total of 6 wins (6-3). The A's head into the strike up half a game on the Angels (because of their extra game). If the scenario described above plays out and these are the final standings, the Angels would be the wild card. Boston and Seattle would both be out of the playoff pitcure, something that seemed unlikely before the All-Star break.
Of course, if this does happen, fans will be robbed of what could have been an all-time classic pennant race. Each team is scheduled to play each other a number of times down the stretch including a final series between two. It would be a shame for it to end with Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Minnesota their opponents on the last day of the season.