With new playoff system, 90 wins guarantees nothing

With new playoff system, 90 wins guarantees nothing

SEATTLE -- Few would've predicted, heading into a season with an extra Wild Card in each league, that 90 victories wouldn't have been enough to sneak into the postseason.

In fact, nothing less than 93 would've been enough.

"You would think that by adding the extra Wild Card spot, 90 wins would've been enough," Angels starter Dan Haren said. "I remember when 90 wins several times has gotten the Wild Card team in."

In fact, from 1995 (the first year the Wild Card was implemented) to 2011 (the last year before the new format), the average win total by the team that would've notched the second Wild Card spot in the AL was 88. In only four of those 17 seasons, from 2002-05, did a team need to win more than 90. And it was never more than 93.

Heading into Wednesday's regular-season finale, the Angels had gone 27-12 since Aug. 21 but found themselves the same amount of games out of the second AL Wild Card spot than when they started - four. The A's, who closed out the season with six straight wins to take the AL West from the Rangers, and the Orioles, who have surprised practically everyone by threatening in the AL East, were simply too resilient.

But that doesn't temper the Angels' frustrations.

"Actually, the fact that we will win close to 90 games, or 90 games, and not make the playoffs just makes it even more frustrating," Haren said. "These stretches that we went through, early in the year and then just after the All-Star break, if we would've played just a little bit better, we wouldn't be on the outside looking in."