lucky: Why you should root for the Angels, Rangers -- or neither -- in the AL wild-card race

Why you should root for the Angels, Rangers -- or neither -- in the AL wild-card race

Aug 22 2017 at 23:22

This American League wild-card race is more Authentic Ervin Santana #54 Womens jersey like a race to mediocrity than a race to the playoffs. Don’t know which team to root for? Here’s a quick guide, although it’s OK to admit you’re really rooting for the chaos of an eight-way tie. Minnesota Twins: They haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2004, having been swept in three straight Division Series. ... Lost 103 games in 2016, most in the majors, so going from worst to the playoffs would be a similar story to 1991, when the Twins went from worst in the AL West to a World Series  title. ... Watching Byron Buxton play center field is to dream of the impossible. ... They traded closer Brandon Kintzler at the trade deadline, so even management didn’t really believe in this team, and there’s nothing like the front office not believing in you to rally a team together. ... Before Miguel Sano landed on the disabled list, his performance was simultaneously awesome (on pace for 37 home runs) and frightening (228 strikeouts). ... Max Kepler is from Germany, so if the Twins make the World Series, that would help the World Series TV ratings in Germany! ... Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios would actually give the Twins a puncher’s chance in a short series if they advance past the wild-card game. ... They resisted Authentic Steve Cishek #31 Youth jersey trading Brian Dozier in the offseason. ... Bartolo Colon is on this team, and who doesn’t want to see the possibility of Bartolo Colon beating Clayton Kershaw to win Game 7 of the World Series? Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout. ... To appreciate the greatness of shortstop Andrelton Simmons, the MVP candidate nobody talks about as an MVP candidate. ... No, seriously, check his numbers. He’s second among AL position players in Baseball-Reference WAR and fourth in FanGraphs. Only Mookie Betts has more defensive runs saved, plus Simmons is having his best year at the plate. ... Mike Trout. ... OK, so he’s more Luis Pujols these days than Albert Pujols, but it still would be the chance to put an all-time great in the postseason spotlight again. ... The chance for an Angels-Dodgers World Series. ... Bud Norris, postseason closer? ... Given the state of the Angels' rotation, maybe manager Mike Scioscia  actually starts a reliever in the wild-card game and goes all-bullpen for nine innings. ... Their top starter right now is JC Ramirez, a guy claimed off waivers last June from the CINCINNATI FREAKIN’ REDS, a team with historically awful rotations the past two seasons. The Reds didn’t want this guy! Now he could start a wild-card game. ... Their No. 2 starter is Parker Bridwell, a guy with a name that sounds like he should be tossing a Frisbee around the expansive front lawn of The Hotchkiss School, with his collar turned up while wearing his $325 sneakers from Burberry. He was acquired from the Orioles in April. The Marquess Wilson Youth Jersey Orioles -- another team with major rotation woes -- didn’t want this guy! ... Mike Trout has 15 career postseason plate appearances and that makes everyone sad. Seattle Mariners: They have the longest playoff drought in the majors, last appearing in 2001. ... Would have made the playoffs or tied for the wild card if there had been two wild cards in 2002, 2003 and 2007. ... Missed wild card by one win in 2014 and eliminated on final weekend in 2016. ... In other words: These fans deserve a playoff game. ... You know who else deserves one: Felix Hernandez. ... Assuming the Yankees are the first wild card, a healthy James Paxton probably gives the Mariners the best chance of beating the Yankees of all the starters on all of the wild-card contenders. So if you’re anti-Yankees, you should be rooting for Seattle. ... You can argue that no team has persevered more than the Mariners. Manager Scott Servais has used 16 starting pitchers, and at the moment four-fifths of the projected opening rotation is on the DL. They’re surviving with  what is really their third-string rotation. ... Nelson Cruz in October, he of the .669 career slugging percentage in 41 playoff games. ... Who doesn’t want to see the Seager brothers squaring off in the World Series? ... Ben Gamel's hair. ... Because good outfield defense is fun to watch. ... FOR THE LOVE OF THE BASEBALL GODS, LET ME REPEAT: FELIX HERNANDEZ HAS NEVER PITCHED IN A POSTSEASON GAME. Imagine him starting a playoff game in Seattle, in front of the home fans, all decked out in their King Felix T-shirts. It makes me almost cry just thinking about it.

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