|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
The race for the postseason is really anyone’s game, in the National League, at least. Nine teams of the 16 are in the brackets or 3.5 games out at most. In the American League, the West is a three-way race (everyone but the Mariners are 1.0 games apart), but other than that, it’s pretty safe for the others involved. Boston and Toronto are still up there in the Wildcard race, but Boston couldn’t even sweep Baltimore. Leaving the bases loaded without scoring multiple times will keep you out of the playoffs by far. Of the just four teams located in red states (Rangers, Braves, Astros, Diamondbacks), two of them are in the elite eight. Not too bad. With so much that could change in the standings with one swing of the bat (or a balk, for that matter), let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, June 7 before the day’s games:
All of a sudden, the Padres only lead the Dodgers by half a game, while the Reds are tied with the Cardinals for their division, but are losing the season series, and also tied with the Dodgers, but winning that season series. It’s looking like a bad soap opera. In any case, pitching has been the key to getting these two teams where they are, and whoever has the better staff will win. Plus, San Diego has home field advantage.
The Braves now lead Philly by 2.0 games after going 8-2 in their last 10 games, but were swept in April while visiting the Cardinals for four games. With Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Albert Pujols leading the way, what’s Derek Lowe going to do to stop them? The Braves might make this interesting in Games 3 and 4, but it won’t be enough.
Texas just got done beating Tampa Bay two-of-three in Texas, but Tampa did win the last game, and they’re still the only team without at least 10 road losses. With the Angels’ recent flurry, Texas is only half a game ahead. With the uber-competitive AL East guaranteed the #1 seed and the Wildcard each year, Texas will have to concentrate hard to even make the playoffs. After that, they’ll have nothing left for the Rays.
The Yankees actually are 2.0 games ahead of the Twins, but of course the Wildcard can’t have home field advantage. For Seattle to take three games from Minnesota, what’s going on with Minnesota? Never mind Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. Who’s named Felix nowadays anyway? Never mind that New York had some issues with Toronto; Toronto’s actually a good team this year. New York all the way.