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The top of the brackets is still the same, but don’t expect it to be the same for very much longer. The Dodgers already took over briefly for the Padres, the Braves are half a game back, and the Yankees have tied the Rays, only trailing the season series 2-3. Even the Angels are making noise, having swept said Dodgers. The Mets are somehow 2.0 games out of the NL lead, despite Jason Bay. Boston’s still 4.0 games out, because of Tim Wakefield. Inconsistent pitching strikes again. And in Week 10’s loser watch, Baltimore’s elimination number is now 77, and their ace still hasn’t won a game. With all but one division being decided by 1.5 games or less and the AL Central being decided by just 2.5, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, June 14, before the day’s (four) games:
The Padres had one brief hiccup against the ailing Mariners, while the Reds ran into a bit of trouble against Kansas City, even letting Zack Greinke win a game. The Padres have had the overall better pitching staff, while the Reds have been a little more iffy. Especially with home field advantage, not to mention Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres have the edge.
The Braves are continuing their tear, despite a few shaky pitching performances early in the week. The Dodgers just got swept at home by the Angels for the first time ever, but are still only half a game behind the Braves. This would be a tough fight, and if Manny Ramirez can stay off the estrogen long enough to not be suspended, the Dodgers could potentially pull it off, but then again, the Dodgers haven’t had very much playoff success lately.
Tampa Bay’s troubles with the Marlins have let the Yankees tie for the lead. Texas has won their last two against Milwaukee to just barely hold off the Angels. Vladamir Guerrero is starting to play the outfield again and is heating up nicely at the plate, but the Rays have a lot going for them. Defense, decent pitching, plenty of bats: Tampa should be too much for the bankrupt Rangers to overcome.
The Twins have been having troubles with Atlanta, and the Yankees have rolled back into place as heavyweights in the AL East by taking down the Astros. Minnesota may hold home field advantage for now, but that won’t even help them anymore. Shortly, it’s entirely possible that New York will take it back in a #1/#3 match-up.