San Diego's loss, coupled with the Rockies' win, leaves the two NL West teams tied at the end of the regular season, leading to today's winner-take-all one-game playoff to earn the NL Wild Card slot. This is the seventh one-game playoff in MLB history, with the road team having won four of the six prior meetings (the game is in Colorado). Padre ace and likely NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy goes up against the Rockies' Josh Fogg.
Some random thoughts:
- It's hard not to think that this is where the Dodgers should have been this season, rather than languishing down the stretch to end up in fourth place. I mean, 60% of the NL West teams are playing extra ball, and we're not one of them. It's sad, but put against the context of how the Dodgers led the division up until July, it's rather pathetic. To be fair, we never got to +16 over .500 all year,so maybe we could never have hung with the NL West horses even if we treaded water at our +13 peak (July 18). But this post-season should have been ours, and instead we're sitting at home simmering over what might have been.
- I'm rooting for the Rockies, for a number of reasons. They have no post-season experience in their short expansion tenure, while the Marlins have won two World Series in the same time period. They earned this extra game by going on a tear at the end of the season, including a 11-game winning streak. I've developed a nice appreciation for "Bad Altitude," the Rockies' Baseball Toaster blog, where the author (Mark Donahue) has approached the stretch run like a seven-year old kid who just got out of the hospital--every day has brought new sunshine, new excitement, and new possibilities for his normally downtrodden team, and he has written about it with a wonderful positive attitude.
- And the Padres, perhaps due to geographic proximity or the fact that we have traded pitchers over the last two seasons (Greg Maddux, David Wells, Brett Tomko--whom they can keep, as his could-have-seen-this-coming-a-mile-away loss Sunday caused this one-game playoff in the first place), are more of a natural rival for the Dodgers. So I'm pulling for Colorado.
- Which means, of course, that San Diego will win tonight. But at least I'll take some solace in the fact that Peavy will be spent and cannot start Game 1 against the streaking Phillies.
I'm not sure how my other brothers feel about this, but I'm heading home early today to root for the Rockies. I hope the Denver crowd shows up in full force.
UPDATE 10/2: My bad, the Rockies do have playoff experience, having earned the Wild Card in 1995 and losing to the Braves 3-1. With that one win, though, they have as many post-season wins--twice as many if you count this game--as the Dodgers have post-1988.