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Just two months are left in the regular season, and the trade deadline (without waivers) has passed. Texas has a firm grasp on their division, but it looks like we may have to have a playoff game with the Cardinals and Reds. The Twins have come roaring back, the Phillies are trying to do so, and the Red Sox have now added Youk to the ranks of the walking un-dead, assuming this thumb thing will be nagging. The longest losing streak (seven games) belongs to the Mariners, but the longest winning streak (six games) belongs to the Astros of all teams. But still, the herd is starting to become thinned, and the competition is fierce amongst the (all but mathematically) remaining teams, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, August 3, before the day’s games:
The Padres and Reds have both been rolling lately, with both teams now having at least 60 wins. But the Reds are only 27-24 on the road, compared to San Diego’s 29-20. Couple that with home-field advantage, and San Diego’s pitching (and Adrian Gonzalez, and maybe Ryan Ludwick) will go a long way towards the NLCS.
In their last 10, Atlanta is 4-6, while San Fran is 8-2, including a home-sweep over the Dodgers. Atlanta is the best home team in the majors (35-13), and with Tim Lincecum leading the way, the Braves will need to hang onto that edge for dear life. And the Giants recently acquired Ramon Ramirez from the Red Sox, and we all know how well crappy Red Sox pitchers do after being traded to the NL.
In a rematch from 2008, the Rays are even more favored than their improbable run from that year, especially since they won two of three over the invincible Yankees to take control of the season series. While still winning, the White Sox still have to hold off the twins, and the Rays are simply too good a team to give up so easily.
Can you imagine Cliff Lee vs C.C. Sabathia, the talk of the World Series, taking place in the first round? Lee can go deep into games, and Mo has had injury troubles this year. Andy Pettitte is currently injured, and A.J. Burnett is wavering. Texas needs to pump up the bats and take advantage of all of this, or else the champs will still manage to come through.