Rob Gronkowski narrowly escaped another major knee injury in Sunday's loss to the Broncos. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney) Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Lose 1st Game in Frustrating Fashion; Broncos Win in OT 30-24 Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports Report: Hightower Suffered Sprained MCL in Loss to Broncos Tom Brady couldn't overcome the mounting injuries or the referees as the Patriots' undefeated season came to a halt against the Denver Broncos. (ESPN) Undefeated Mirage Gives Way to Reality of Flawed Patriots Team in OT Loss to Broncos Gronkowski Avoids Major Injury

If the Playoffs Started Today – MLB Week 12

Yankees vs Padres: Week 12's prediction for the World Series

It’s almost All Star time, and with Interleague Play over, plenty of teams have padded their leads, or taken some. The Red Sox have been dipping into the take-an-injury, leave-and-injury tray quite frequently, but are still holding their own. Philadelphia is still trying to get back into the race, while Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals are finally starting to turn back into the team we all knew they’d be. And remember the Orioles? The New Jersey Nets of baseball? Well they’ve won their last four games. Tampa’s starting to show wear and tear, and seemed to have peaked during their 2008 campaign. And did you see Jonathan Broxton give up his four-run lead to the Yankees? He’s supposed to be better than that. Anyhow, absolutely nothing is given nearly halfway through the season, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, June 28 at 11:00pm:

National League

#1 San Diego Padres vs #W New York Mets

Taking care of Florida put the Padres back on top, while the Mets have been hit-and-miss lately. That’s not the way to win a series. Especially not with the Padres rediscovering their groove. Jason Bay has been starting to heat up really nicely, but Adrian Gonzalez is a very effective weapon to neutralize that. The Padres have been the more consistent team, and that is what gives them the edge.

#2 Atlanta Braves vs #3 Cincinnati Reds

Facing the Indians helped Cincinnati get their division lead back, while the Braves found a bit of a chink in Stephen Strasburg’s armor Monday. To win, the Braves will have to be at the best of their game, which may mean not using Kenshin Kawakami. If Scott Rolen has a hand in it, his bat will power the Reds into the next round. And judging by the way things have been going lately, I don’t see any obstacles to that.

American League

#1 New York Yankees vs #3 Minnesota Twins

The Twins have really been struggling lately, and are now in a three-game series with Detroit, whom they lead by only half a game. The Yankees took advantage of a confused Dodger team and then sent Mariano Rivera to finish the job in two innings. Is there really any doubt as to how this one will turn out?

#2 Texas Rangers vs #W Boston Red Sox

The Rangers are 16-2 in their last 18 games including 13-2 in Interleague Play. Meanwhile, there won’t be a Pawtucket Red Sox shortly with the way injuries have been piling up for Boston. Strangely enough, the worse Boston gets hurt, the better they seem to do. Texas is 1-2 against Boston so far this season, but you have to wonder how the injury fairy will gift Boston next. Either way, this one will be back-and forth, and close.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • Detroit should take over the division lead, especially with the easier schedule after their series with Minnesota.
  • If Tampa does good in Boston, they have a shot at retaking the Wildcard lead, especially since Boston will also face a surprisingly pretty good Orioles team.

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