Home-field advantage can be an important commodity with the competition as close as it is. More home games doesn’t make a team a favorite, but it does what it says, giving a small advantage.
The Minnesota Twins have not exactly run away with the notion. Instead of trying to earn the top spot, they are resting players. Instead of staying hot, they are losing.
No one wants to go to New York or Tampa Bay. The Twins will need to get their heads back in the game as if their playoff berth is finalized yet.
The race is one of the best in recent years. The Yankees have four games left, all on the road. They are at Toronto and Boston.
The Rays have five games left. They have their last home game tonight against Baltimore, and they have four at Kansas City.
They are in the playoffs already, but the division winner gets a home series against Texas. The loser goes to Minnesota.
On paper, the Rays have the advantage with the schedule, but as a White Sox fan, I know Kansas City is not a welcoming place in September.
No wins on the road against the other teams in postseason. I repeat. The Texas Rangers have no wins on the road against the other teams in postseason.
So, why are fans still excited? The Rangers are first in the American League with a .276 average. They are fourth with 766 runs, fifth with 159 homeruns and fifth with a 3.94 ERA.
The ERA is even more important, since the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are ahead of them. In terms of the postseason, they are ahead of the Yankees, a potential first-round opponent.
TOP FIVE AL TEAMS September 29:
1.) Tampa Bay Rays - It could be the best thing to have to win until the last day. They may be the hottest team if they pull out the division.
2.) Minnesota Twins – Even if they can’t get home-field advantage, they are guaranteed three home games to two in the ALDS.
3.) New York Yankees – They don’t want to go to Minnesota to start the playoffs.
4.) Texas Rangers – The critics will be answered in Tampa Bay or New York.
5.) Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox have clinched the best team not in the playoffs.