Monday, September 15, 2008
Thanks to the Brew Crew getting throttled this weekend in Philly and the Mets bullpen holding up their portion of the bargain, the NL race has become suddenly very interesting. Currently 4 teams are separated by 3 games and fighting for two spots. Unfortunately, over the course of the next two weeks these teams will never face off against each other, so prepare for a lot of teams that are out of it to play spoiler. Here's a sum up of which National League teams will have the biggest influence on the race.
Chicago Cubs (1or2 Astros, 6 Brewers, 4 Mets)
No playoff team other than the Cubs can influence the wildcard race. The Cubs are currently up 7.5 games in the division and will not have much to play for come the last week of the season other than playing the role of spoiler and helping set the rest of the playoff contenders. After todays game against the Astros in Milwaukee, the Cubs head home to take on CC Sabathia and the wild card leading Brewers. After games against the Cards (who are just about out of it) the Cubs finish the season on a 7 game road trip with 4 at Shea and 3 in Milwaukee and potentially a monday game against the Astros if needed. The Cubs in the final week could easily decide they want to rest Harden, Zambrano, or any other key player which could potentially make the path easy for the Brew Crew and the Mets. But don't count out Sweet Lou deciding that he wants to put the screws to the potential postseason enemies.
Atlanta Braves (6 Phillies, 3 Mets, 3 Astros)
Atlanta has 12 games left this season and all 12 games comes against teams vying for the final 2 NL playoff spots. The Braves just stole 2 games away from the Mets bullpen over the weekend so they're showing some fight, they just aren't very good right now. They're batting Martin Prado (who?) in the 3 hole. After sitting out a few days the Braves got Larry Jones back and he of course pummeled the Mets pitchers at his sons namesake.
Florida Marlins (3 Astros, 3 Phillies, 3 Mets)
The Marlins are fresh off sweeping the Nats and in the midst of a 5 game winning streak. They get to try to extend that when the Astros put Roy Oswalt and his massive scoreless streak on the hill on tuesday night. After a 3 game set against the Astros, the Marlins play weekend host to the Phillies and start it up against fat toad Joe Blanton on Friday night. Then in a beautiful bit of scheduling the Marlins close out the season in Shea looking to bounce the Mets from the playoffs in back to back seasons.
Washington Nationals (4 Mets, 3 Phillies)
The Nats have been a mostly awful but strangely streaky team this year. They finished August on a 7 game winning streak including a sweep of the Dodgers showing that they could make an impact on races. However, now they are currently on a 5 game losing streak including a 2 game sweep at the hands of the Mets. The Nats were a pain in the Mets ass last year at the end of the season and tonight begins their 4 game set in Washington.
Cincinnati Reds (3 Brewers, 3 Astros)
The Reds starting friday have 6 straight games against division rivals poised to make the postseason. The Reds are having a solid month of September rattling off three straight series wins over the Cubs, Brewers and Diamondbacks. Series wins against either the Brewers or the Astros could push them out of the postseason.
Pittsburgh Pirates (3 Astros, 3 Brewers)
The only other team in MLB with games against the postseason contenders is the lowly Pittsburgh. The Pirates and Reds flip flop opponents between the weekend series and the final weekday series. The Pirates line up the traveling Astros after they make their trip to Florida and then get the Brew crew afterwards. If anything the Phillies and Mets will probably root for the horrible Pirates to simply come away from both series with a single win.