As the Cape Cod Baseball League breaks for the annual All Star gala, the race for the playoffs is still very much up in the air. Suddenly, the gap between the second and third place teams in the East is wider than in the West. Chatham defeated host Orleans 5-4 this evening while Brewster was trounced by Hyannis 12-2. The A's now have 45 points while the Whitecaps have 39 and the Cardinals have 38 points. Chatham has swept all five games against Orleans.
Things have tightened up in the West. While the Mets were taking care of business against Brewster, they received some unexpected help from the Cotuit Kettleers. Cotuit ended a twelve game losing streak yesterday and they continued their new-found winning ways with a 13-1 throttling of Falmouth tonight. The second place Commodores enter the break with 38 points while Hyannis has closed to within four points of them. Falmouth held a ten point lead over the rest of the division for second place as recently as July 21. If Hyannis were to win their remaining seven games, they would end up with 48 points. Falmouth would have to win five out of their last seven games to clinch at least a tie, so the Commodores "magic number" (by my not-so-scientific calculations) is 5. Any combination of 5 Falmouth wins or Hyannis losses will assure Falmouth of at least a second place tie. Falmouth plays host to Hyannis on August 3 and August 8. It is almost imperative for Hyannis to win both games. A split would mean the Mets won't pick up any ground in those head-to-head meetings and there would be two fewer games left on the schedule. The Mets also have one game remaining against division leading Bourne, while the Commodores must face the Braves two more times.
Switching back to the East for a moment, the most points third place Brewster can total would be 53. Chatham's "magic number" to assure them of at least a second place tie is 4. Any combination of 4 Chatham wins or Brewster losses will guarantee the A's at least a tie for second place. Remaining head-to-head meetings between the three teams competing for second place in the East are: Brewster at Orleans on August 3, Brewster at Chatham on the 5th, Chatham at Brewster on the 7th and Orleans at Chatham to close out the regular season on the 8th. Each of the three contenders has to play the division leading Y-D Red Sox one time. Chatham must also face West-leading Bourne on July 30.
I hope I haven't confused the issue while attempting to clear it up ! The magic numbers I listed are open to debate. Remember, the numbers I gave would guarantee a tie for second place, not an outright clinching of the playoff spot. In case of a tie, I believe a one game playoff would be held to determine the second place fiinisher. I don't believe head-to-head records are used to determine that position. In 2000, Chatham and Orleans ended the regular season tied for second place. Chatham won a "play in" game to advance to the playoffs against Brewster.