The days are getting shorter. The temperature is dropping. The leaves are beginning to change colors. Which can mean only one thing: Mid-September baseball! Now I know that much of the drama has been drained from the pennant race (See the AL Central, AL West and NL Central races for examples). But both the NL and AL East races are still full of excitement, and the NL West, like every year it seems, is a 3-team dead-heat towards the finish line. To top it off, two intense series start tonight; the Braves and Phillies, and the Yankees and Rays.
The Phillies own a 3 game lead over the Braves as Atlanta marches into Philly tonight. The Fightins’ big guns, Cole Hamels, Doc Halladay, and Roy Oswalt are lined up for the series for the Phillies, who come in riding a 7-game winning streak and a ridiculous 14-3 September record. The Braves started to cool off a bit, but a trip up to Citi Field was the perfect cure for their woes, as Atlanta swept the pushover Mets this weekend.
Prediction #1: The Phillies sweep the Braves, and eventually win the division. Braves miss the playoffs and many players burst into tears as their season ends prematurely. (Note: Sports Unlimited’s office is located about an hour away from Philadelphia. In no way has this affected our predictions whatsoever.)
The Rays visit the Bronx tonight to begin a series against the Yanks, who hold a 0.5 game lead over Tampa. The two will battle it out down the stretch for the AL East crown, with the loser all but assuredly getting quite the consolation prize, the AL Wild Card.
Prediction #2: The Rays take 2 of 3, and end up winning the division. The Yankees take the Wild Card.
On the other end of the world, the MLB’s most exciting race rests in the NL West. The Giants and Padres have been in contention all year for the divisional championship, and the Giants currently hold a .5 game lead over San Diego. Meanwhile, the Colorado Rockies have come out of nowhere (doesn’t this happen every year?) to pull within 1.5 games of the divisional lead. Led by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies have been absolutely red-hot and are playing their best baseball at the right time of the season. All three teams have the night off before beginning play again tomorrow night.
Prediction #3: San Francisco wins the division, while the Rockies take the NL Wild Card.
So now that you’ve read our expert and completely unbiased predictions, why not post some of your own. How do you see this week’s big series and the divisional/wild card races going down? Who’s going to win what? Who’s going to choke?
In other baseball news, how scary is it that Tyler Colvin of the Cubs got pierced by a broken maple bat while on third base yesterday? Your thoughts? How do you feel about Maple bats? Anyone into chest piercings?