Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Sunday Docket: MLB

Quite a bit on today’s docket:

1) Major League Baseball ends its 2007 regular season with four teams struggling to secure the final two spots in the National League Playoffs.
2) Week 4 of NFL action kicks off with several marquee matchups and fantasy showdowns to drool over.
3) The fallout from Look-Ahead Saturday (aka Demolition Saturday) continues.
4) The President’s Cup finishes. Okay, it’s golf. Nevermind.

MVP Candidate Matt Holliday and the Rockies are making a push for the playoffs.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

First on that list may be the best viewing you’re going to see all season long. And wouldn’t you know it, the schedule makers won’t let us enjoy any of it.

Several questions, ala 60 Minutes-style, must be asked. **Tick, tick, tick**

Why aren’t the Mets and Phils playing each other this weekend? Anyone who thought Florida or Washington would be better last-weekend matchups for the two NL East perennial favs is a lunatic.

Why aren’t the Padres clashing with an NL West opponent instead of the Brew Crew?

Why is Cleveland playing KC, the Yanks hosting Baltimore and the Red Sox playing Minnesota? At least, Anaheim drew Oakland. Score one for the schedule makers.

As we enter Sunday, the American League playoff pairings are set. In fact, Boston was even friendly enough to secure homefield advantage with a 4-2 victory over the Twins.

Here’s your ALDS matchups:
Boston vs. #3. Los Angeles
Cleveland vs. #4. New York
Boston cannot host the Yankees as they are both in the AL East.]

As for the National League, that’s where things get mighty interesting.

Over in the NL East, New York and Philadelphia are tied for first place (both at 88-73). Even though the Phils have dominated the season series, the two would play a tie-breaker,on Monday evening if they ended up with the same record (for the NL East title only, the wild-card will be discussed later).

New York hosts Florida, with the game starting around 1:10 pm, with 300-game winner Tom Glavine dueling with Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis. After Saturday’s 13-0 victory, which included a near all-out brawl between the teams, you had better believe Florida is playing for more than pride.

Philadelphia hosts Washington, with the game starting around 1:35, as 78-year old lefty Jamie Moyer clashes against Nats pitcher Jason Bergmann. Taking only one day to relinquish their newly earned NL East lead, the Phils fans will definitely be doing some scoreboard watching before the first pitch.

Odds: Both teams should win. However, it’ll be interesting to see if it’s the Mets snaking their ways back into the playoffs OR falling face-first into the record books with an unprecedented September choke (up 7 games on September 12th in the division).

In the NL Central, the Cubbies are your champs. However, they don’t know exactly who they’re playing yet. Odds are it’s Arizona. Although former Central contenders, now relegated to being spoilers, Milwaukee can spoil the Pads season with a victory.

In the NL West, Arizona has locked up the divisional crown. Nevertheless, they’re not exactly sure who their opponents will be just yet. As for the rest of the West? Two teams and one wild-card spot. That scenario is only more clouded when you add in the Mets and Phils potentially.

San Diego concludes its four-game set in Milwaukee at 2:05 pm. After a brutal loss on Saturday evening, much of which came from the bat from Tony Gwynn Jr., the Pads appear ready to replace scheduled starter Brett Tomko with Cy Young favorite Jake Peavy. Jeff Suppan will take the mound for the Brewers. Win and you’re in, Pads fans. It doesn’t get much easier than that

: Just when you thought they were dead on Friday night after having their 11-game winning streak snapped against Arizona, the Rockies spanked the division champs 11-1 on Saturday afternoon. While they trail the Pads by one game, the math is simple. Beat Arizona, hope for the Padres to lose and you have yourselves locked into a tie-breaker. The game is the latest meaningful launch, with the first pitch starting around 3:05 pm.

: As much as I want to see the Rockies defy all odds, the Padres will spoil their fun.

The scenarios can’t be stopped. Here’s the official explanation. Admit it though; you’d love to see a four-way tie. SAY IT!

More than just the playoff race is up for debate on Sunday (and potentially Monday) as well. The Cy Young race may have a lot to do with what Jake Peavy does on Sunday. He is the likely starter for San Diego.

Also on the radar has to be the NL MVP Race has yet to be decided. Enter the key players:

Brewers 1B Prince Fielder, Mets 3B David Wright, Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins, and Rockies OF Matt Holliday (my selection, by the way). Who will make the play that wins them the award? Better yet…who won’t?

Until next time…

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