If the season ended right now, the AL playoff matchup (I won't even address a potential World Series opponent; it's far too premature and I don't really follow the NL, so I just have to reserve a vague hope that the Cardinals aren't as good as everyone says they are) would be White Sox vs. Yankees and Red Sox vs. Angels. This would actually be far and away my preferred scenario, for a number of reasons:
- I don't think the Yankees would be able to beat us. Although they can always turn it on in the playoffs, and we're 3-3 against them on the season (with a worse record at home than in Yankee Stadium), they've struggled mightily to get where they are, and they're likely to wear themselves out trying to catch up to Boston in September.
- It means that the Athletics won't be in the playoffs, which (sorry, janehex) is a very good thing. They've been floundering lately, but Oakland has absolutely owned the White Sox for going on three decades. We simply cannot win against them, particularly in California. The less we see of them, the better.
- It also means we'd only have to face one or the other of Boston and Los Anaheim rather than both; they're dangerous teams and I'd be happy to see a situation where one takes the other out. I like our chances better against Boston (see the White Sox's inability to win on the west coast), but either way, it's one less thing to worry about.
Of course, there's still a month of regular-season baseball to play. With 24 games to go, a lot can still happen. Toronto is still technically in the race, but in practical terms, I think they're a writeoff, so I don't think too much of them. The highly frightening Twins have lately fallen victim to a resurgent Cleveland, which is a twofold good: it means (a) the White Sox almost certainly won't have to face the Twins, which saves me from the possibility that they'll lose to them and open me up to endless humiliation at the hands of hipsterdetritus, ninafarina and her sisters; and (b) if a team from the Central does sneak into the wild card slot, it'll be Cleveland, who we've manhandled all year. I'm still terrified that Oakland will get their breath back and win the wild card, in which case I pray to the ghost of Babe Ruth that we start throwing games in order to fall to second-best team in the AL. That would allow us to play the Angels, and let Boston have to deal with the team we can't beat.
Man, September baseball. There's few things that cause me such joy and stress at the same time. It's almost enough to make you yearn for the days when the White Sox blew and spent all of September simply playing out the string.
Almost. Not quite.