Sunday, September 9, 2012

NL Wild Card: A Night at the Movies Edition

Top NL wild card teams are
chasing elusive W's
Really. Which team in the National League within reasonable distance wants to seize and take control of their playoff destiny? The Pirates, Cardinals, & Dodgers are stumbling and the chase pack is closing in. There are six NL teams within legitimate striking distance, and it's developing into quite a mad, mad, mad, mad world as we inch closer to October. Let's take a look back at the week that was and the week ahead Hollywood style in A Night at the Movies Edition on the CLBT...

Atlanta Braves: The Braves are 6-1 in ther last seven games and have won 4 straight. As expected, they seem to be taking control and will more than likely seal up the top NL WC spot as predicted. How incredibly boring of them.

The Cardinals are not even close
to being Untouchable yet 
St. Louis Cardinals: After losing four consecutive games last week, the Cardinals have been nibbling since Saturday by winning 1, losing 1, then notching 2 wins, followed by 2 losses including Friday night's rain-delayed, extra inning affair vs. Milwaukee. Add another loss last night at the hands of the Brewers, the Cardinals are simply not coming up big down the stretch. Hearing St. Louis manager Mike Matheny will bring in Sean Connery to address the team...
The chase group is closing on the Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates: There's just no excuse for a team that loses 12-2 to the 2012 lineup of the Chicago Cubs in the thick of a pennant race....and committing 7 errors in the process. SEVEN. Yes, that is how the Pirates began their weekend Friday night, missing out on taking advantage of the glorious opportunity the MLB schedule-maker has presented. So appreciative of this, they went out and fell short again last night, losing 4-3 to Chicago again. I'm embarrassed for them at this point.
...To Live and Die in LA

LA Dodgers: Since last Saturday, the Dodgers won 3 big games....and then lost 3 games, including Friday night's opener vs. the Giants in a HUGE division showdown. After a visit to the mound, Dodger manager Don Mattingly chose to leave Josh Beckett in Friday's game after he loaded the bases in the 7th inning with the game tied at 2. Marco Scutaro proceeded to bloop a ball over the infield plating 2 runs. Los Angeles came back last night to win 3-2 in San Francisco to gain ground on both the Cardinals and their division leading Giants. The way the Dodgers are playing, we are truly seeing what it is like ....

"turns out they just don't wanna be
on a **** **** plane no' mo'"
Arizona D-Backs: As mentioned before, the D-backs have the toughest schedule for early September among the wild card hopefuls. Last week, Arizona took their "Snakes on a Plane" show to California with flights to Los Angeles & San Francisco, finally landing in San Diego on Friday. Going back to last Saturday, they lost 3 straight to the Dodgers and Giants, took the next 2 in San Francisco, and then lost Friday in San Diego. a big night on Saturday as they put their bite into spacious Petco Park last night by slugging 4 home runs en route to an 8-5 win.

The Brewers are still on the bubble,
but chugging right along
Milwaukee Brewers: Last week, I talked about the Brew Crew's incredible power surge the over the previous 7 days slugging 18 home runs. Well, they're not slowing up as they've clubbed 15 more bombs since last Saturday en route to a 6-2 record for the week. Can't write this team off because they simply won't let you. In an obviously huge series vs. St. Louis, the Brewers have taken the first 2 games by scores of 5-4 (13 innings) and 6-3 last night. In this Beerfest series between these two beer-making cities, the Brewers have clearly figured out the "Das Boot" method towards hitting the long ball, winning on an extra inning blast by Ryan Braun on Friday night and two late home runs last night by Ricky Weeks in the 7th & Aramis Ramirez in the 9th.

My seats on Friday before a dramatic
live theater, walk-off finish
Philadelphia Phillies: They're 6-2 in their last eight games, they took 2 of 3 from both the Reds & the Braves this week, they have a seemingly advantageous schedule for the next two weeks, they're just not going away. The Phillies began this somewhat light schedule on Friday with a thrilling walk-off win hosting the Colroado Rockies. It was my first ever walk-off win while attending the live show dating back to 1981 & witnessing over a ka-jillion Phillies games. Crazy. Last night's game was postponed and will be played as part of a day-night double header today. As it stands, they're 6.5 games behind the Cardinals with four teams between. Of those four, only the Brewers are showing that they're interested in October baseball. Buckle up, it could get very interesting in Philadelphia....again.

The week ahead...

  • Braves: who cares, they seem to have this wrapped up. They have one more vs. the Mets, then can play the role of wild card spoiler in Milwaukee for a 3-game series begnning Monday.
  • Cardinals: 1 more vs. the Brewers today, then a California trip to San Diego & Los Angeles for  seven games. After that, their schedule is a little more forgiving.
  • Pirates: Clearly, no schedule is working to their advantage as the Pirates have already failed to capitalize on a weak slate last week. One more vs. the Cubs today, then on the road to Cincinnati & Chicago beginning Monday.  
  • Dodgers: They're about to begin the toughest mid-September schedule among the wild card gang. The Dodgers are in Arizona for a 2-game series, then host St. Louis for four games. After that, they embark on a 9-game roadie with the first two stops in Washington and Cincinnati.
  • D-Backs: One more today in San Diego, then hosting the Dodgers for two beginning Tuesday and enjoying home cooking again vs. San Francisco for three more. Tough week.
  • Brewers: One more today at St. Louis, then six at home vs. the Braves & Mets.
  • Phillies: A twin-bill today at home vs. Colorado, then three more hosting the Marlins beginning Monday. Then, it's off to the road in Houston for a 4-game series.

  • There you go. The Phillies would seem to have the biggest opportunity to gain ground in this race followed by the Pirates, as any team that gets to play Chicago five times over the next eight games should end the week on the plus side. There will be lots of movement this week, stay tuned....

    1 comment:

    1. It was good while it lasted for the Phillies but the Houston Astros proved
      as tough as the outfield fence that did old Bump Bailey in.
      I want to believe and will watch and cheer every last game. It could be fun
      if Babe Ruf launches a moon shot or two down the stretch.
      Write soon. I have to go get my Chet Laabs glove some new lacing.