Looking over our remaining schedule (and ignoring management's mantra of taking it one game at a time), I predict that Weaver, Haren, and Santana will make 13 of the Angels' final 19 starts -- 5 by Weaver, and 4 each by Haren and Santana. Pineiro and Williams each will make three of the other six starts. A breakdown of those starts follows the jump.
Friday 9/9 - Sunday 9/11 vs. the Yankees -- Weaver, Haren, Santana (as already announced)
Monday 9/12 - Wednesday 9/14 @ Oakland -- Pineiro (7 days rest), Williams (5 days rest), Weaver (normal rest)
Thursday 9/15 -- the last scheduled day of rest
Friday 9/16 - Sunday 9/18 @ Baltimore -- Haren (5 days rest), Santana (5 days rest), Pineiro (5 days rest)
Monday 9/19 - Thursday 9/22 @ Toronto -- Weaver (normal rest), Williams (6 days rest), Haren (normal rest), Santana (normal rest)
Friday 9/23 - Sunday 9/25 vs. the A's -- Pineiro (normal rest), Weaver (normal rest), Williams (normal rest)
Monday 9/26 - Wednesday 9/28 vs. the Rangers -- Haren (normal rest), Santana (normal rest), Weaver (3 days rest)
* * * * *
If this holds true, Pineiro will start at Oakland, at Baltimore, and at home against the A's, while Williams will start at Oakland, at Toronto, and at home against the A's. All six starts will be against teams that are below .500, although four of the six starts will be on the road. How many of these games can we reasonably expect to win? How many do we need to win? My guess is that anything worse than 3-3 is probably insufficient, and that our realistic goal should be 4-2.
Prior to the final series against Texas, Santana, Haren, and Weaver will pitch 10 games as follows: three at home against the Yankees, one at Oakland, two at Baltimore, three at Toronto, and one at home against the A's. Three of these games are against the team with the best record in the American League. At the same time, those games are at home, where we have dominated the Yankees since 2007. The other seven games are against teams that are below .500, although six of the seven games are on the road. Again, how many of these games can we reasonably expect to win? And how many do we need to win? My guess is that, one way or another, we need to go at least 6-4 in these 10 games, and that our realistic goal should be 7-3.
Where would that leave us heading into the final series at home against Texas? It all depends, of course, on how Texas does in its next 15 games. If we are to have a chance, we need to go at least 9-7. In that case, we have to hope that Texas finishes no better than 8-7 so that we are only two games back heading into that series. Then we would need to sweep the final three games to win the division (note, if Texas were to go 9-6, we would need to sweep the final series and win a one-game playoff). As I indicated above, however, it is not an unrealistic goal for the team to go 10-6 or 11-5 in the next 16 games. If we can somehow do that, then the pressure will be on Texas to keep pace.
What are your predictions? Do you agree with my projected schedule? Where do you think the Angels and Rangers will be heading into that final three-game showdown?