How I want the National League races to end

With the season winding down, the playoff picture in the American League seems pretty clear. Unless the Twins and Rangers simply collapse and give the White Sox and A’s some life, then we can be pretty sure that the Yankees, Rays, Rangers and Twins will be playing in October.

But there is a chance that the National League could be right down to the wire.

I want there to be total anarchy by the end… nobody sure who is in and who is out.

Now with the Red Sox out of it, I am rooting for the Giants to win it all. But the rest of the National League could be in chaos if the following scenarios take place.

The GIANTS go on a mad 15-5 dash to capture the NL West title and finish the season 95-67.

The PADRES right their ship and go 15-7 to and finish the season 94-68.

The ROCKIES continue their late surge with a 17-4 streak and also finish the season 94-68.

The PHILLIES go 11-9 the rest of the way and finish the season 93-69.

The BRAVES pick up the pace and go 12-8 over the last few weeks and end with a 93-69 mark.

The REDS stumble to an 7-14 record the rest of the way and finish 87-75.

The CARDINALS, led by Pujols, Wainwright and Carpenter, go 14-9 and also finish 87-75.

So what would be the end result?

The Giants would be the Western Division Champs and have Home Field Advantage in every round of the playoffs, including the World Series.

My dad will be thrilled to see that the Championship will have to come through McCovey Cove.

And the rest of the National League playoffs would be up for grabs forcing three… count em… THREE win or go home one game playoffs on the same day!

The Padres and Rockies would play a one game playoff for the Wild Card (2007 rematch anyone?)

The Braves and the Phillies would play for the NL East title. (The two time NL Champs vs. Bobby Cox’s last stand.)

And the Reds and Cardinals, two of the classic franchises in baseball, will square off for the NL Central crown. (And no doubt some bad blood between LaRussa and Baker.)

And if these games would be as exciting as the one game playoffs played each of the last three seasons, they will be three heart stopping down to the last pitch thrillers.

We’ve never had more than one to end a season. (If the Mets won one more game we would have had two in 2007!)

Tell me that wouldn’t be the most exciting baseball day you could imagine.

So… just have those 7 scenarios take place.
I’ve always wanted a season to end with anarchy… maybe I’ll get my wish this year.

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Sully Baseball Presents THE BEST TIE BREAKER PLAYOFFS OF THE 2000s

Sometimes 162 games isn’t enough to figure out which 8 teams are headed for the post season… and a tie breaker is needed.

Each of the last three seasons have included a tie breaking 163rd game… and all of them were tense 1 run affairs. And two of them were extra inning thrillers where the eventual winners were 3 outs from elimination.

It’s painful enough to be eliminated in the post season… but imagine the angst of the three teams that missed October ball by the thinnest of eyelashes!

Let’s remember the Best Tie Breaker Games of the 2000s…


BEST ONE GAME TIE BREAKER OF THE 2000s (AMERICAN LEAGUE)

The Tigers coughed up a 3 game lead with 4 to play, setting up an epic, wild, back and forth and controversial one game playoff.

Homers by Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez for Detroit and Jason Kubel and Orlando Cabrera sent the game into extra innings.

Detroit took the lead in the 10th, putting Minnesota three outs from elimination. But Don Kelly of the Tigers misplayed a flyball by Michael Cuddyer putting the tying run at third with nobody out. He would score the tying run but the winning run was thrown out at home by Don Kelly.

With the bases loaded in the 12, Bobby Keppel appeared to have hit Brandon Inge with a pitch. But the ump said the ball never hit him. The Tigers didn’t score in that inning and in the bottom of the 12th Alexi Casilla drove home Carlos Gomez with the Division Clincher.

Honorable Mention for One Game Playoff of the 2000s (American League)
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Jim Thome’s 7th inning homer was the only scoring as John Danks threw 8 innings of 2 hit shutout ball, clinching the Central for the White Sox. Ken Griffey threw out Michael Cuddyer at home to end the 5th and kill the Twins best scoring chance.


BEST ONE GAME TIE BREAKER OF THE 2000s (NATIONAL LEAGUE)

The Padres looked like a formindable playoff team midway through September 2007 with a shot at home field advantage. The Rockies were an also ran playing out the string… then suddenly a surge by Colorado and a pair of losses at the end of the year put San Diego and Colorado in a most unlikely playoff for the Wild Card (Arizona would finish a mere 1 game ahead of both teams.)

Padres Cy Young candidate Jake Peavy would take the hill in Coors Field and fell behind early. But Adrian Gonzalez’s grand slam gave the Padres the lead.

This is Coors Field, so no lead is safe. The Rockies took the lead back in the 6th and the Padres tied it with two outs in the 8th.

Then the scoring stopped and the tension built up. The Rockies couldn’t bring home the playoff berth clinching run in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12. The Padres left runners in scoring position in the 10th, 11th and 12th.

Finally Scott Hairston homered in the 13th, giving San Diego the a 2 run lead. Trevor Hoffman now had to shut the door.

Remember this is Coors.

Kaz Matsui doubled to lead off the 13th and Troy Tulowitzki doubled him home. Then Matt Holliday crushed a game tying triple to right. Jamey Carrol came up with runners on the corners and flew out to right.

Holliday tagged and came home. Did he tag the plate? We’ll never know but he was called safe and Colorado’s improbable playoff run continued while the Padres franchise hasn’t recovered.

TO RETURN TO BEST OF 2000s POST SEASON HOME…
CLICK HERE.

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Whither Instant Replay

This has not been a glowing post season for big league umps.

Brandon Inge was hit by a pitch in extra innings of the One Game Tigers/Twins playoff that would have put Detroit ahead.

Some strange calls at first went against the Red Sox in a key inning in Anaheim.

Later a play at third was blown in the Red Sox favor.

In Minnesota, Joe Mauer dumped a double in extra innings that was fair by a foot… but called foul.

In the 9th inning of a tied game in Denver, a ball clearly bounced and hit Chase Utley in the batters box and it should have been called a foul ball.

At least in Denver there was an excuse… the umps eyes were covered.

But doesn’t that just bring back the specter of instant replay?

Most of these bad calls were exposed in under a minute on TV.

Sometimes the correct call is shown over and over again before the manager is done even arguing on the field.

Wouldn’t it be better for baseball to get the calls RIGHT?

Maybe the Twins would have scored twice in the bottom of the 12. But the win wouldn’t have the ugly stench of the Tigers being cheated out of a run.

And yeah, had Joe Nathan retired the Yankees in order, there wouldn’t even be the need for extra innings in the Bronx. But the Twins had enough going against them… they didn’t need the UMPS working against them.

I’m becoming a broken record as I stated my belief in instant replay in general and also using the 1987 Twins/Cardinals World Series as a reason to use it… but if we have the capability to get the calls right WHY THE HELL DON’T WE????

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