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State of the Races

Sep 26, 2011, 9:17 AM EDT

Photo finish

This is pretty much all you need to know:

Boston:  89-70
Tampa Bay: 88-71

Atlanta: 89-70
St. Louis: 88-71

Such wonderful symmetry, both in record and in dynamic. A faltering would-be giant above the guys everyone wrote off in August. A three-game sprint to Wednesday evening or — if things break just right — one-game playoffs on Thursday. It’s not quite the 1993 NL West or the 1987 AL East, but ’tis enough. ‘Twill serve.

For Boston it’s three games in Camden Yards with Josh Beckett, Erik Bedard and Jon Lester facing Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton and AlfredoSimon.  For Tampa Bay it’s three at home against the Yankees with James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson and David Price facing Hector Noesi, Bartolo Colon and, well, Joe Girardi will cross that bridge when he comes to it. Given Boston’s recent struggles with Baltimore and the Yankees not exactly trotting out the finest portion of their rotation, let’s call it a push. A push, however, favors the Red Sox as that one game is pretty big.

Atlanta has the unenviable task of hosting Philly, with Randall Delgado, Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson taking on Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.  Meanwhile the Cardinals take on the Astros with Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and Chris Carpenter facing Wandy Rodriguez, Henry Sosa and Brett Myers.  Here the schedule and the matchups clearly favor the Cardinals.

Photo finish anyone?

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    I doubt the Braves see Hamels on Wednesday. He just pitched on Saturday, why would they bring him back on short rest to pitch a meaningless (for them) game? It is far more likely that Joe Blanton gets the start and the rest of the bullpen fills in the rest.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:33 AM

      Wow, what poor writing skills on my part….”rest of bullpen fills in the rest.” Seriously? I’m going to do a 5 minute double face palm now.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:50 AM

        I’ll time it for you :)

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:42 AM

      Dr. Monkey, I think they will use him for around 5-6 innings depending on pitch count, just to keep him sharp.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:50 AM

        Hamels??? No way. If he does pitch, 2 innings max. Can’t forget this is a guy who spent time on the DL with “dead arm” not long ago. I wouldn’t pitch him at all. Just looked it up, he isn’t listed as the Wednesday starter, it is TBA.

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:55 AM

        Charlie isn’t going to roll over for the Braves since they’re still in the race for the WC spot. 5 -6 innings for Hamels. If the wc spot was clinched, I’d see it your way.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        It has nothing to do with rolling over. He isn’t going to pitch Hamels for 5-6 innings on 3 days rest nor should he. Rolling over would be not pitching Lee and Oswalt. He would be in no way shape or form rolling over by not pitching a guy who has never pitched on 3 days rest before.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:22 AM

        In fact, it has already been decided. Hamels will pitch out of the bullpen on Wednesday. 1-2 innings max. He will pitch at a point in the game, where it is possible for him to receive the W. Hamels wanted to start, but Dubee said no. Here is the link:

        http://www.csnphilly.com/blog/phillies-talk/post/Hamels-going-to-pen-for-win-No-15-?blockID=567166&feedID=704

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Not to mention the races for the 2nd and 3rd seeds. 8 series will have an effect on the playoffs the next 3 days. Amazing.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      Somehow, State of the Seeds doesn’t have that Je ne sais quoi as State of the Races does. One suggests farming and the other suggests gambling.

      • Utley's Hair - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:07 AM

        John Cougar—is he back to using Mellencamp yet?—questions your assertion that there’s that much of a difference between farming and gambling.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        When he starts managing a Baseball Team THEN I will revisit the topic.

  3. tacklemeelmo - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Anyone else notice there were no races until Craig started these “State of the Races?”

    *puffs on bubble pipe*

  4. foreverchipper10 - Sep 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    C’mon Astros, I never ask you for anything. Make me proud! Make me forget when Beltran blasted his way through Atlanta in the playoffs all those years ago. Pretty please?

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 26, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      …the exact opposite of everything you said.

      Sincerely,

      A guy who still irrationally hates the Braves for destroying the Cardinals in such a humiliating fashion in the last 3 games of the 1996 NLCS.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 26, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        Way to hold a grudge dude… now if only the fine folks at Rogers Centre would stop playing that video of Joe Carter in the 1993 WS every – frakkin – time – I go to the games…

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