|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
As the season goes on, it’s tough for any team to gain a competitive edge. The NL Central even has a three-way tie going, with each team only percentage points apart. Sure, teams are starting to wedge a little bit of room between themselves and their competitors, but those leads haven’t been stable this season for the most part. At least the Red Sox are still going strong; take that, Seattle! With everyone scrambling to fill out their rosters by month’s end, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, July 25 at 4:00pm:
Both teams are quite similar offensively, except for Atlanta having a sizable edge in homers and RBIs. But San Francisco has four of the top 50 starting ERAs in the majors (including rookie Ryan Vogelsong’s 2.10, 3rd place overall) compared to Atlanta’s three. Both team’s closers are tied with 31 saves, most in MLB. If San Francisco’s staff can keep things going well enough to get to Brian Wilson, they should be able to use home-field advantage to their advantage.
Detroit capitalized on Cleveland’s recent woes to climb 2.0 games ahead. But Boston is getting Jon Lester back, and their offense is really something else. Justin Verlander alone won’t be nearly enough to do it for Detroit.
New York‘s pitching staff, anchored by MLB wins leader CC Sabathia and closing legend Mariano Rivera, has closed up some early holes, but it’s still not consistent enough to New York’s liking. The Rangers have cooled off since their impressive winning streak, but they’re still very good. Still, with New York 2.5 games ahead of Texas, and without Cliff Lee in Arlington, the Yankees and their offense are once again the favorites.