Back on September 8, I wrote that the MLB playoff races were boring and all but decided. Boy, was I wrong.
With both the NL and AL Wild Card races tied on the final day of play, each of the four teams playing are potentially playing for their lives. Here's the games of note:
AL Wild Card Race
- BOS Jon Lester (15-9, 3.49) @ BAL Alfredo Simon (4-9, 4.85); first pitch 4p
- NYY TBD @ TB David Price (12-13, 3.35); first pitch 4p
This matchup is especially intriguing given the Yankees, already in the playoffs, can stick it to their rival by fielding a team of total scrubs and losing the game. As of 10a, the Yankees' starter hadn't even been named. Given the Red Sox was leading the entire AL on September 1 (with a nine-game lead on the Rays), but proceeded to go 7-19 down the stretch, this would be pretty devastating. I expect the Red Sox to pull it out, and Boston fans to lord this over everyone not from their "Nation."
NL Wild Card Race
- PHI Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.03) @ ATL Tim Hudson (16-10, 3.23), first pitch 4p
- STL Chris Carpenter (10-9, 3.59) @ HOU Brett Myers (7-13, 4.31); first pitch 5p (and MLB.tv's free game of the day!)
The Cardinals rallied yesterday for a comeback victory over the Astros, the worst team in the major leagues. St. Louis, who was 8.5 games out of the Wild Card on September 1, has the added benefit of starting an hour later than the Braves' game. And the Phillies and Braves are divisional rivals (even though Philly is throwing more of a joker than one of its lauded four aces). I'm expecting the Cardinals to make the playoffs--or spend all winter lamenting that Dodgers ninth-inning victory at Busch that got away (you know, the one that SoSG Alex Cora and I attended!).
graphic from mlb.com