2005-09-29

MLB Closing in on the Weekend


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Yayyy! Let's hear it for the Padres. They can finally breathe a sigh of relief after completing the difficult task of winning the NL West. Next up: Trying to finish over .500 so they don't have to keep answering the question, "Do you think it's fair for a team that is under .500 to be in the playoffs?" all of next week.

Ironically, the rip on St Louis is that they've gotten fat on sub-par competition. It appears that that trend will continue in the playoffs when St Louis draws the Padres in round 1.

Pencil Houston in for the NL Wild Card, which scares me. They'll be facing off against the Braves in the first round, and as I've mentioned before, in the drawn out playoffs, any team with a good pitcher is a serious threat. If the 'Stros can figure out how to get some runs for the Rocket, don't count them out.

So, while the NL is just about wrapped up, the AL is heating up for a wild weekend. After mounting a seemingly impossible comeback to almost catch the White Sox, Cleveland has chilled a bit. The AL central is a long shot at best, and now they've fallen a game back in the Wild Card race. Working in their favor is the fact that whichever team doesn't win the East will be taking at least two more losses before the week ends. But the Tribe, er rather, homogenous group of persons of Native American descent (the NCAA has me all aware now!), still has to do their part and win.

And at the eye of the storm ... New York and Boston. The Yanks took a one game lead last night, and both teams will play one more game tonight before they face off in Boston this weekend. Think massive whiplash as everyone will be looking over their shoulders at the scoreboard to see how the other team is doing. If New York can jump out to an early lead on the Orioles, they would really turn the heat up on the Red Sox, er, guys clad in crimson hosiery. A New York win tonight means Boston would have to win three of their last four, and even then they could finish in a tie with New York and need to go one more. This year, the regular season is likely for keeps as, barring a total Cleveland collapse, whichever team loses the East will probably not make the playoffs at all.

So it seems that there is quite a bit of Karma on the line here. If New York wins out, after Boston had looked shoe-in at many points earlier in the season, the "curse" will still be alive and most will conclude that it was simply in remission last season. On the other hand, the Yankees are in great shape right now; playing well, a game up, having put Boston in a position where there is next to no margin for error, and with the Red Sox internal strife having come at the worst possible time, New York has to like their chances. So, if the Bosox should pull this one out, while it wouldn't be as dramatic a collapse as last season, it would still mark two years in a row that Boston came from behind and beat New York head on to end the pinstripe season. Suddenly the monkey would be on the Yankees' back.

This is awesome! How desperate everyone involved; fans, owners and players; must be to prevail.

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