Friday, September 18, 2009

NL Silliness

The NL playoff picture must have been taken with one of those cameras like Fred Flintstone used because it is BLURRY. Three of four divisions are currently within 3 games. Seven teams are within 3 games of a wild card spot. And there are only 27 games remaining.

In order of probability, you're contendors.

1. Burlington leads the NL East by 13 games and couldn't miss the playoffs if they tried. This will be a 7th straight division title for the defending WS champs. Burlington has the 3rd best pitching/D in the league and the 5th best offense.

2. San Juan has just a 3 game lead over Mexico City in the NL South, they're 7 ahead losing the wildcard. An arm injury has taken out staff ace Billy Hoffman causing a recent slide. Still, their 31-16 record in 1-run games makes them a dangerous, gritty team.

Looking Good
1. Mexico City leads the wild card race and trails San Juan by just 3 games. They've won 8 of 10 and have 10 games remaining against non-playoff contenders.

Leaders at the top of the Stretch
1. Sioux Falls holds just a 3 game lead in the division, and would be 1 up on the 2nd wild card spot. The recent loss of Mac Stevens raises a specter of doubt about a 13-th consecutive division title. The Dakota host Helena in a huge 3-game series starting 9/22.

2. Cheyenne leads the NL West by 2 games over arch rival Las Vegas. They've lost 10 of 14 extra inning games, but are the stingiest staff around. The Seminoles face perennial doormat Pawtucket for the next 7. They must travel to Sin City 3 starting 9/22 however.

3. Nashville is chasing its 4th wild card birth (they've never won the division), but face a brutal 17-game road trip that includes stops in San Juan (80-55), Toledo (65-70), Arizona (66-69), and Mexico City (77-58). They own the worst run differential of teams currently set to reach the playoffs (+53).

The Chase Group
1. Memphis has the poor luck of playing in the deepest division in Second City. They sit just 1 game out of the wild card. Creative management has started 11 different pitchers. The schedule is not kind as they face just 1 sub-.500 team the rest of the way.

2. Las Vegas has been to the playoffs 10 times in 12 seasons, but an impossibly bad 12-22 record in 1-run games reveals a team that hasn't come through in the clutch. They face potential rivals Cheyenne and Sioux Falls at home so a hot finish could find them with an 11th birth.

3. Helena is 3 out of the division and 2 out of the wild card. Three-time defending Cy Young Rafael Aguilera has struggled (by his standards). Helena plays their last 10 and 13 of their last 17 on the road. Of the contenders, only San Juan and Cheyenne have scored fewer runs.

4. Augusta faces a tall order. Of all the teams in the race, they're the only 1 without any shot at a division title. Augusta would have to make up 3 games and leap 4 teams to earn a wild card berth. They have 16 road games remaining, but they're strangely 15 games over .500 on the road and 10 under at home.

The Pretenders
1. Toledo is 9 games out of the North and 8 games out of the wild card. Not looking good.

2. Arizona is 7 games out in the West and 7 games out of the wild card. They face only 1 team under .500 the rest of the way so, no matter what, they will impact this race.

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