Monday, August 12, 2019

One Team Will Not Go to the Playoffs

Durham – Charlotte – Gwinnett

The Durham Bulls play 20 more games and then the regular season is over. Fourteen of those games are against the Gwinnett Strippers (7, all at the DBAP) and the Charlotte Knights (4 home, 3 away). After today, the Bulls have only one more off day (Aug 29).

Here's how they stand in the International League South. Charlotte has made one heck of a run in recent days, Gwinnett and the Bulls have been pretty static since a run by Gwinnett took them out of first place a couple of weeks ago. A lot can happen over the next three weeks, but it's safe to say that one of these teams is going to win the IL South and go to the playoffs. The South Division winner plays the winner of the West Division. The Wild Card winner plays the winner of the North Division.

The Wild Card, at the moment, is dominated by Charlotte and Durham.

How could this play out?

Obviously, any one of these three teams could make a run. All of them have had big runs this year — the Bulls have had a couple of them.

The big variable affecting each team is how their parent club will be approaching the end of their season.

The Braves (Gwinnett) have a decent lead in the NL East, but you can bet they will do anything to maintain it. Ten players on the Knight's current roster are on the Atlanta 40-man (9 pitchers, 1 catcher).

The White Sox are 12 games below .500 in the AL Central and are well back of the Indians and Twins. The Knights have 9 players on the White Sox 40-man (4 pitchers, 2 catchers (!), and 3 other position players).

The Rays are in an intense fight for an American League Wild Card spot that has a long way to go. The Bulls only have 7 players on the Tampa Bay 40-man, including a couple on rehab/IL (5 pitchers, 1 catcher, 2 position players). However, the Rays are famous for their manipulation of the 40-man. In the short term, after the chaos of the last couple of weeks, things could be quiet. But as we get near the end of the month and September call-up time approaches, expect the Rays to fiddle with the 40-man list (Anthony Banda being a poster child for that situation). The Rays have 8 players (5 pitchers) included on the 40-man in some kind of injured status. That adds to the potential for turmoil on the Bulls' roster as their status changes.

Wish I could say that anyone in the baseball world, other than Patrick Kinas, is keeping us up-to-date on this stuff. But the best we can do is tune in early prior to the game and listen to his update.

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