Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
There is not a better advertisement for the MLB Extra Innings package then what is going to be taking place this weekend. With four days left in the regular season, we still do not have a team in the playoffs yet in the National League.
And other than the Colorado Rockies, there is not a team that is even playing like it wants to be in the postseason at this point.
In the NL East, the Mets are in the midst of a historic free fall and are on the verge of dropping the division to a hungry, never-say-die Philadelphia club. The Mets, who lost the final eight games they played with the Phillies this season, were seven games ahead of the Fightins on September 12, but are now clinging to just a one-game lead after getting swept at home by the lowly Washington Nationals.
The Mets, who seem to find a different way to lose every night, are home from here on out and will play a make-up game with the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday before a weekend set against Florida, against whom the Mets took three of four from last weekend.
I can't imagine the Mets blowing this lead over the final few days. Pedro Martinez goes for them on Thursday, and if he gets a win it may loosen the team up a little bit and ease some minds in Mets-land.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, after Thursday's finale with Atlanta, is home for its last three games with the suddenly-hot Nationals. The Phillies are also just one game back of the wild card-leading San Diego Padres, who also trail the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks by a game.
Pedro Martinez and the Mets are home from here on out.
Out West, there is a team that is starting to get some serious play and that is Colorado, which has won a franchise-record 10 straight games to get back in the mix. Heading into action on Thursday, the Rockies are just two games behind the Diamondbacks and one back of the Padres. And, oh by the way, guess who visits lovely Coors Field this weekend? You guessed it, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
San Diego will start a four-game series in Milwaukee on Thursday. The Brewers are also fighting for their playoff lives and sit two games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
After closing their series with the Florida Marlins on Thursday, Chicago is in Cincinnati for a three-game set this weekend.
I think the Mets and Cubs will hold on in their respective divisions, but as far as the West and the wild card goes, it's anyone's guess. Don't be surprised if we have some action on Monday to break a tie.
What I am hoping for, though, is a monster five-way tie between the Mets, Phils, D'Backs, Padres and Rockies. That would certainly make things interesting and it really isn't all that far-fetched.
If you are wondering what happens if that does occur, you are in luck. Here is how it would play out:
- The Mets and Phillies would play on Monday in Philadelphia for the NL East title.
- Also on Monday, the D-backs, Padres and Rockies would begin the A-B-C scenario, which is a two-game tournament, based on the head-to-head records among the three teams.
- On Tuesday, the winner of A-B would host Club C for the NL West title.
- Then, on Wednesday, you'd begin another A-B-C scenario with the loser of the NL East game and the two losers from the NL West tournament. The first game would be Wednesday and the second game would be Thursday, with Thursday's winner being the wild card.
I am telling you, if your thumb is not worn out from hitting the buttons on your remote control by the end of the weekend, you are just not a baseball fan. Heck, the NFL may even take a back seat to MLB on Sunday if things fall the right way. Alright, maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself.
AL SORTING ITSELF OUT
With the New York Yankees clinching the final playoff spot in the American League on Wednesday we are pretty much all set over there. The only remaining question is which team is going to finish with the best record. It really does not matter, though, since Boston cannot play the Yankees in the first round. So, as long as Cleveland finishes with a better record than the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Tribe is going to play the Yankees in the ALDS with Boston matching up with the Halos in the other series.
Of course, though, getting the best record in the AL gets you the right to choose which series you want. Cleveland would love nothing better than being able to throw Cy Young Award candidates C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona on full days' rest in Games 4 and 5.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"This feels like home. It's hard to believe that I played for another two organizations. So much has happened to me here, adversity, some success, that I feel like anything but New York feels weird for me now."
- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez after his team clinched their 13th straight playoff appearance on Wednesday.