Siberian Baseball

Friday, September 26, 2008

Three games left (aka fear the Twinkies)

This is one of the many things to love about baseball. After 159(ish) games it can still come down to a Friday, Saturday, Sunday series.

Teams that have been ahead for most of the season have fallen by the wayside. Teams that have been close have run out of gas. Teams that should be able to pull things together drop three straight to the Twins, despite the Twins failing to retain any major talent not born within a 30-mile radius of the Metrodome.

And this is also where things get dicey. After waiting out a rain delay in Boston, I'm being treated to some strange sights - empty seats in Fenway Park in a game against the Yankees that has very little impact on the postseason.

The White Sox just took the lead against the Tribe in Chicago, while the Royals jumped to an early lead against Minnesota.

Here are the breakdowns heading into the last weekend of the season for the races still in play:

AL East - Tampa leads Boston by two games. The Rays trail the Tigers tonight, while the Red Sox are in this weird Yankee showdown with unknown pitchers, rain and empty seats. At least no one is getting hurt as people scramble for all the balls getting smashed in the first inning.

AL Central - The fun race to follow. The White Sox are home and the Twins are home. The White Sox face the toothless Indians and the Twins face the toothless Royals. The Twins, however, enjoy the Dome Field Advantage. Minnesota leads by 1/2 game, with the possibility of a White Sox vs. Tigers make up game on Monday. Oh, and Minnesota is getting slapped by Kansas City right now.

NL East - The Phillies lead the Mets by a game going into Friday night with Philly hosting the Nationals and the Mets hosting the Marlins. Doesn't this sound familiar?

AL Wild Card - Either the Red Sox or the Rays will fill the spot. For the record, New York is second at seven games back and the White Sox are behind them at seven and a half. So much for my preseason thesis that the AL East would it eats young with the revamped Rays and Jays taking more wins from the Sox and Yanks.

NL Wild Card - Milwaukee and the Mets are dead even with the Astros three and a half back. Miller Park is playing a major supporting role (wait, is that possible?) in the chase.

The Astros were plowing through the National League until the hurricanes hit and they were forced to play a two-game series against Chicago at the "neutral" site in Milwaukee, where I think the commisioner has friends or extended family or something.

In what might be part of the seasonal lore years from now, Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros who were away from home, sleep deprived and worried about what was going on in Houston. Ted Lily carried a no-hitter midway through the next game and the Astros haven't rebounded since.

Miller Park struck again last night when JJ Hardy apprently hurt his hand in the post-game celebration when Ryan Braun hit his walkoff grand slam. He's in the lineup tonight against the Cubs and still looks like that dude from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The Brewers need to get through the Iowa Cubs this weekend to get to October.

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