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Looking at the schedules of fellow contenders

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The Royals are reeling now, but maybe they can get some help.

Otto Greule Jr

The Royals are currently sitting in the second Wild Card spot, the final hope for the post-season. They have 13 games (plus the remainder of their August 31 game against Cleveland) to ensure they don't fall out of that spot. Last week I took a look at the schedule and pitching match-ups for the Royals for the rest of the season. Today, let's look at the schedule and potential pitching matchups for the teams they are contending against. Again, pitching matchups are tentative at best and subject to change due to injuries, rainouts, and manager whims.

First, let's look at the standings as of today. For the American League Central Division:

American League Central Division W L PCT GB
Detroit Tigers 83 66 .557 --
Kansas City Royals 81 67 .547 1.5

The Tigers will face the Twins seven more times, although Minnesota has played them tough, splitting twelve games against Detroit this year. Minnesota's rotation is still in flux, with a six-man rotation, although I went under the assumption that Tommy Milone, who has missed two starts with a neck injury (Anthony Swarzak makes a spot start for him today), will be shut down and they will go back to a five-man rotation.

Detroit Tigers remaining schedule
September 15 - 17 at Minnesota
RHP Max Scherzer vs. RHP Anthony Swarzak
RHP Rick Porcello vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco
LHP David Price vs. RHP Kyle Gibson
September 19 - 21 at Kansas City
LHP Kyle Lobstein vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie
RHP Justin Verlander vs. LHP Jason Vargas
RHP Max Scherzer vs. RHP James Shields
September 22-24 vs. Chicago White Sox
RHP Rick Porcello vs. LHP John Danks
LHP David Price vs. RHP Chris Bassitt
LHP Kyle Lobstein vs. LHP Chris Sale
September 25 - 28 vs. Minnesota
RHP Justin Verlander vs. LHP Logan Darnell
RHP Max Scherzer vs. RHP Trevor May
RHP Rick Porcello vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco
LHP David Price vs. RHP Kyle Gibson

The Royals have essentially two games to make up on the Tigers, with Detroit getting a friendly schedule down the stretch. Royals fans may want to look instead to the Wild Card, where the Royals are still clinging to a spot.

American League Wild Card W L PCT GB
Oakland Athletics 83 66 .557 --
Kansas City Royals 81 67 .547 --
Seattle Mariners 80 68 .540 1
Toronto Blue Jays 77 71 .520 4
Cleveland Indians 76 72 .513 5

Let's focus on the Athletics and Mariners. If the Blue Jays and Indians get involved in this thing, the Royals are probably in deep trouble. Let's start with the sliding Oakland Athletics, losers of 22 of their last 33.

Oakland Athletics remaining schedule
September 16 - 18 vs. Texas
LHP Scott Kazmir vs. RHP Nick Tepesch
RHP Jeff Samardzija vs. RHP Nick Martinez
RHP Sonny Gray vs. LHP Derek Holland
September 19 - 21 vs. Philadelphia
RHP Jason Hammel vs. RHP David Buchanan
LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Jerome Williams
LHP Scott Kazmir vs. RHP A.J. Burnett
September 22 - 24 vs. Los Angeles Angels
RHP Jeff Samardzija vs. LHP C.J. Wilson
RHP Sonny Gray vs. RHP Jered Weaver
RHP Jason Hammel vs. LHP Hector Santiago
September 25 - 28 at Texas
LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Colby Lewis
LHP Scott Kazmir vs. RHP Nick Tepesch
RHP Jeff Samardzija vs. LHP Derek Holland
RHP Sonny Gray vs. RHP Nick Martinez

Yow, that's a cupcake schedule that could make Bill Snyder blush. The A's have reset their rotation a bit to ensure they have Sonny Gray pitching the last game if necessary, and Jon Lester ready to go in Game 163. But with ten games remaining against two last place clubs like the Rangers and Phillies, and with nine of their last thirteen games at home, the A's may not be sweating it out the last weekend.

Let's look at the Mariners.

Seattle Mariners remaining schedule
September 15 - 18 at Los Angeles Angels
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma RHP Matt Shoemaker
LHP Roenis Elias vs. RHP Cory Rasmus
LHP James Paxton vs. LHP C.J. Wilson
RHP Felix Hernandez vs. RHP Jered Weaver
September 19 - 21 at Houston
RHP Chris Young vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma RHP Collin McHugh
LHP Roenis Elias vs. RHP Nick Tropeano
September 22 - 25 at Toronto
LHP James Paxton vs. LHP J.A. Happ
RHP Felix Hernandez vs. RHP R.A. Dickey
RHP Chris Young vs. LHP Mark Buerhle
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma RHP Marcus Stroman
September 26 - 28 vs. Los Angeles Angels
LHP Roenis Elias vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker
LHP James Paxton vs. RHP Cory Rasmus
RHP Felix Hernandez vs. LHP C.J. Wilson

The Angels have such a large lead that is unlikely they play many regulars that last weekend, and C.J. Wilson almost certainly won't make that start. However, the Mariners have a tough road with eleven road games and eleven games against teams fighting for a playoff spot. The big concern would be how seriously the Angels take their two series against the Mariners. While they may rest some starters, they also don't want to get too complacent before October. It is because of the Mariners schedule that Jeffrey Flanagan thinks the Royals still have a decent shot at the post-season.

How do things look to you? The Royals have seven games remaining against the White Sox who are playing young guys, but have to face the winning teams like the Tigers and Indians as well. Will the Royals be able to stay ahead of Seattle?