More and more teams are becoming spoiler-proof, as they clinch playoff spots — and heave sighs of relief. But this September has offered vivid proof why contenders hate engaging also-rans at the end of the season.
Wondering where all these frantic finishes — the Twins and Tigers in the AL Central, the Rockies and the Braves in the NL truly-Wild Card — came from? After all, recall that when the month began, this was supposed to be the September to not-remember?
Here’s where: Those hopeless last-place teams, making life miserable for the elite.
Funny, “spoiler” is one of baseball’s venerable concepts, but seldom defined. Let us Webster on it.
The Majors’ six cellar-dwellers have engaged contenders in 92 games thus far this September. They’ve won 38 of them.
While a 38-54 record may seem unimpressive — heck, it is unimpressive — the winning percentage of .413 actually is superior to the six teams’ full-season body of work.
The best finishing kick among the six belongs to the A’s, who are 17-8 this month and personally ruined the Rangers’ postseason dreams by beating Texas five out of seven.
But the Royals also rate. They’re responsible for throwing the AL Central race into a pretzel. Kansas City’s 14-12 month includes a 5-1 low-blow to the Tigers.
Seems like taking championship hopes against teams long in wait-till-next-year mode is like leaving milk out of the refrigerator.