Friday, September 14, 2007

Baseball In The September: Pennant Races With Extra Clam Juice

The Colorado Rockies suffered another disappointing loss yesterday, 12-4 to the Phillies. They split the 4-game set with the Phils, and both of the losses were upsetting considering the situation.

Last night they sent all nine batters to the plate in the first, scoring three and chasing starter J.D. Durbin. Yet they still lost the game in blowout fashion. Back on Monday, the Rockies had what replays showed to be a clear Yorvit Torrealba grand slam ruled a double and lost by a run. The Rockies fell back a game behind the Phillies and two and a half out of a wild card playoff spot.

So now the Colorado nine faces a difficult but eminently achievable path to the postseason. Five series remain, including three at home and four against teams that are also trying to extend their seasons into October. First up are the Florida Marlins for a three-game weekend series at Coors starting tonight.

The Diamondbacks lead the division by four over the Padres, who currently stand atop the wild card standings. Arizona visits the Dodgers for three over the weekend, with LA a game and a half out of the wild card.

San Diego faces the easiest schedule of all the contenders. Their next ten games are at home, and their next seven are against the Giants and Padres (Colorado arrives at Petco in a week). They do, however, finish with four at Miller Park in what may be a monster series for both teams. The Brewers are a half-game behind the Cubs, with the division probably the only way in for either team. There are simply too many NL West contenders in the way of the wild card.

Out East, the Mets' magic number sits at 11. I know this not because of any mainstream media site but a little gem called, strangely, Mets Magic Number. It conveniently lists the same for every big league club (Braves: 27!). New York will coast into the Division Series, only concerned with holding off the D'Backs for the NL's best record.

In the AL, it's very unlikely that the top four will change, but the seeding is very much up in the air. Barring another sweep by the Yankees this weekend the Red Sox will win the East, with the Indians taking the Central, Angels the West, and New York the wild card. Magic numbers, because they're fun:

Los Anaheim 9
Cleveland 11
Boston 11
NY Yankees 22
Detroit 22
Mariners 26

And my epic first-round head-to-head fantasy playoff struggle concludes on Sunday. Right now it's too close to call, but as always I'm convinced my superior pitching will eliminate Arvada Schwag. I'll keep you posted, because you just know you care.