If the Playoffs Started Today ...
Do you realize how few games remain in the MLB season?
The Atlanta Braves have the best record at 72-47, which means they have played 119 games. Now students, please sit down and open your math book to page 23 while we learn some simple subtraction. 162 games in the MLB's schedule is - 119 games played = 43 games remaining (remember to carry the rainout in April).
Now students, let’s review a quick history lesson. Do you also recall that the Atlanta Braves led the division most of the 2010 season, finished six games behind division winner Philadelphia Phillies by going 13-14 in September, and then coughed up the division lead on September 11? 'Way to send Bobby Cox out a winner! Talk about an epic collapse!
For our science lesson, the Phillies were polar opposites of the Braves and went an astounding 21-6 in September 2010!
So even though the Braves have a 14-game lead over the Nationals, no lead is safe come September!
In fact, the Red Sox folded like a house of cards that same year and also missed the playoffs.
Incidentally, Yu Darvish had a nice playoff tuneup by one-hitting the Houston Astros through eight innings yesterday, and was just four outs away from throwing a no hitter. This comes on the heels of his throwing 8⅔ innings of no-hit ball the last time he faced them. Chris Carter added to his single season strikeout record by chasing a vaseline ball in the dirt. Seriously, he should play Pedro Cerrano if they ever shoot a Major League made-for-TV movie!
And he should only hope for some of Cerrano's voodoo to rub off on him:
Anyway, it's clear some teams are already getting in playoff form. If the season ended today, here are the playoff matchups:
Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays vs Oakland Athletics
Divisional series: Wild Card winner vs Boston Red Sox
Divisional series: Texas Rangers vs Detroit Tigers (I'm salivating over this epic matchup!)
ALCS: Detroit Tigers vs Boston Red Sox (that’s my prediction!)
Wild Card: Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals
Divisional Series: Wild Card winner vs Atlanta Braves
Divisional Series: Los Angeles Dodgers vs Pittsburgh Pirates
NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves (that’s my prediction, but I’m no Miss Cleo!)
World Series: I’m not ready to make that prediction, but I foresaw an all-LA World Series before the season started. Half of that may still come true!
There are some pretty freakin’ sweet matchups here, and fans should be pumped for some intense playoff baseball. I’m sure MLB is looking at that Tampa Bay vs Oakland series and wonder if revenue sharing is working, or did New York, Toronto, and Chicago just have off-years? And after last year's wild wild-card game, a St Louis vs Atlanta rematch this October would be too cool!
What I like about these current pairings is a throwback to the 1970’s when the Reds, Pirates, A’s, Red Sox, and Dodgers were dominant teams and made several playoff appearances in that decade. If only we could get the Orioles, Royals, Yankees, and Phillies in the playoffs; then, fans could justify bell bottoms, corduroy blazers, and unisex jumpsuits!
One thing I guarantee is that these matchups will change before the post season begins. Yes, there will be another epic collapse, but I’m guessing the Braves will hold onto that 14-game lead this time around.