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May’s almost done, which means Interleague Part One has passed. Ever since 2004, the AL has won the season Interleague series, but the NL is up 22-20 so far, with every series going 2-1, except for the Bay Bridge Sweep of Oakland over San Francisco. The Dodgers have come surging forward in the last week to pull even with Cincinnati in the Wildcard race. If the Red Sox, fresh off a surprisingly good performance against the Phillies, needed some encouragement heading into Tampa Bay, then if Houston can give Tampa that much trouble, and win a game, then so can the Sox. With Halladay and Sabathia’s outings lately, it’s not a good time to be an ace, meaning just about anything can happen, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, May 24 before the day’s games:
The Phillies had a rough outing against Boston, while the Reds are still fighting St. Louis for the division and the Dodgers for the Wildcard. Still, the Phillies are in command of their division while Cincinnati would have to have a playoff game with the Dodgers, and if Stephen Strasburg pitches against them on June 4 as rumors have said, it’ll be a tough go. Cincinnati’s surprisingly good this year, but the Phillies have the bats and arms.
The Cardinals have plenty of pitching, but the Padres whipped Cliff Lee pretty badly. The Padres don’t have the double-ace setup of the Mariners or Cardinals, but they have a well-rounded staff, and Adrian Gonzalez is pretty close to Albert Pujols. The Cardinals haven’t exactly done much in the postseason since 2006, and if the Padres don’t fall out of position a la the Mets of the past few years, they’ll pull it off.
Texas is financially in peril, with a pending court-approved sale being deliberated. Phoenix Coyotes, anyone? Texas may lead the Athletics by a game, but the Rays are the Rays. If it’s any consolation, Houston gave them some scary moments, but the Rays still managed to claw out two out of three. It’ll be the Rays advancing easily.
The Yankees screwed up twice against their subway rivals, and lost a home game to Minnesota earlier in the season, so this won’t be as easy for the Yankees as last year. Not only does Minnesota have home field advantage, but the teams are both at 26-18, and New York has fallen a full 6.0 games behind the Rays, and is only 1.0 game ahead of Detroit and Toronto for their Wildcard spot. If the Mauer and Morneau combo gets things rocking, then the Twins could pull it off, especially if C.C. keeps having troubles.