Tuesday, September 27, 2005

One more week

I do this every year if there's a playoff race somewhere in baseball in the final week of the season, so here are my predictions. The difference this year is that there are five races that will be determined. This is why I love baseball. This is why I refuse to stop loving it, despite the fact the Cubs are always disappointing, the players and owners are constantly trying to kill the game and the last decade and a half has been a sham due to steroids. When a week like this comes around, I forgive easily.

AL East
Sadly, it is the Red Sox and Yankees again. While I am sick of them (much moreso the Yankees) and wish they would go away forever, it is always somewhat entertaining when they play. Perhaps it is the constant possibility of a brawl or the definite nature of New York and Boston people acting like idiots.

Whatever it is, the Red Sox are a half-game ahead right now after they beat Toronto today. They play three games against the Yankees this weekend, and it has a chance to be 1978 all over again.

The Red Sox will win two-of-three this weekend and the division by two games.

AL Central
People in Chicago tend to be fatalistic to an unhealthy degree. White Sox fans take that and add about 50 times to it. That is why it has been so fun to watch the Sox collapse. The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, have been fun to watch because they are a young team that learned how to play and started beating everyone.

On Aug. 1, the White Sox were 15 games ahead in first place. Today, they are two ahead. Both Chicago and Cleveland play weak teams (Detroit and Tampa Bay, respectively) this week before playing each other this weekend in Cleveland. If the Indians win the division, it will be the biggest collapse in baseball history.

My guess is the White Sox will be a game ahead on Sunday, but the Indians will force a one-game playoff to be played Monday in Cleveland. The Indians will win that, and the collapse will be complete.

However...

AL Wild Card
The White Sox will still get into the playoffs because they will win the Wild Card.

Boston and New York are close, but they will beat up on each other and Baltimore and Toronto are slightly more difficult opponents than Detroit and Tampa Bay. (Although, I am probably wrong about that because Baltimore has turned into a joke.)

NL Wild Card
This is a race between imperfect teams. The Astros can't hit, and the Phillies are the Phillies.

Houston began the season so poorly that it is amazing it is even in this position. They rely so heavily on Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt that if any of them struggles, the whole thing falls apart. Clemens is the most important of the three, but his back caused him to miss a start recently.

Philadelphia is a team that when it doesn't finish 30 games out of first, contends for awhile, goes on a late losing streak, wins 85 games and finishes second or third. If the Phillies are still playing next week, I will be amazed. This is exactly the type of team that would do that.

So yeah, I'm guessing Houston.

NL West
The National League West is a joke. I don't even want to write about it, but I guess I will.

The Padres have been in first place all season, despite currently being 78-79. The Giants have struggled all year and would be 24.5 games out of first if they played in the NL Central. However, San Francisco is only three games behind the Padres.

The Giants won last night, and they play three more games this week against San Diego. San Francisco is going to win because the Padres are so imept that they couldn't even win a division they should have won by 15 games.

That's all I have to say about it, but seriously, if the Cubs were in the West, they would be a half-game out of first. How sad is that?

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