The American Eagle League’s four playoff teams are set in stone, after Miami was bounced out of the race yesterday as the Storm fell to the last place Dallas Deputies. Miami is now 10 games out of the wildcard with just 8 games left to play.
The four teams advancing are the Nevada Speeders, Denver Danger, St. Petersburg Admirals and Seattle Salts.
Nevada still retains the top record in the AEL, currently at 60-32. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and will finish off a four-game series at home with Arizona tonight, then move to Calgary and then Seattle. The Speeders have gone 6-5 against Calgary this season, but are 5-2 in August as the Inferno has been on a late season collapse.
The Speeders could finish first overall in the AEL and secure the pole position going into the playoffs, guaranteeing their home field advantage. They are missing starter Shi-min Chaim, who went onto the DL with bone spurs in the elbow just a week ago. But Chaim was unlikely to feature heavily in any postseason play, as Al Mota and Barry Requiem have anchored the rotation all season, teaming up for a record of 20-11. Speeders starters overall hold the best ERA in the AEL, and Mota is tied for 3rd in the league for strikeouts.
The Denver Danger (54-38) have faced adversity all month, with a burgeoning DL that includes all-star 2B Peyton May, MVP catcher Javier Chavarria, 3-time Bull Cup champ LHP Rich Ojeda, along with two other solid starters. Slugger Glen Reese will be back in CF by next Monday, while the other slugger, John Webster, will miss the next two weeks, making him unavailable for the first round of the playoffs.
With Denver decimated by injuries, St. Petersburg (52-38) has a real chance to regain the division lead and have 10 games with which to do it, as opposed to Denver’s 8 games to hold on to 1st. But, the injury bug has bitten the Admirals as well, as Sandy Koufax Award winner Jose Soto and rookie of the year contender Chris Zerkle both hit the DL in the last week. The Admirals’ run generation, led by DH Takeo Otomo’s 48 HR amd 91 RBIs, and backed by 1B Chris Pratt’s 33 homers and 82 ribbies, remains intact and should see the team through to the top of the East.
Seattle is loaded with injuries as well, but largely has their rotation and RBI hitters intact. The Salts have weathered the storm of seeing starters Aaron Reed and Roger Lyons go to the DL, and Jason Connery has accumulated a 10-3 record at the top of the rotation this year as he has enjoyed ample run support from the team’s 2nd in the AEL home run lineup.
The season is scheduled to close Sept. 7, and we expect the Danger and Salts to take the wildcard spots in the AEL. With the home advantage, Speeders should see themselves through to a League Championship, especially if they are seeded against Denver, with whom they are 5-3 this season.