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Down to the Wire

Posted By John Morgo On Sep 25 2011 @ 9:29 pm In Atlanta Braves | No Comments

I hope you were able to listen to the round-table podcast I joined in with Adrian Fedkiw, Brenda Sepanek and Matthew Hesse. You can listen to it now by visiting (www.prosportsblogging.com/mlb [1]).

The big question was whether or not we thought the Braves and Red Sox would hang on for the wild card - or were we seeing two Metsian collapses? (If I use it enough, it will catch on?) I may be wrong, but this could be the first time that we’d witness such a collapse in both leagues in the same year. If it happened before, please let me know, and I’ll be sure to mention it in my next column.

That was before the events of this weekend. Atlanta lost two of three from Washington, while Boston is tied with Tampa in the win column. (The Sox and Yanks are tied in the ninth at 4 while I’m typing this). Brenda (my Red Sox colleague) is probably chugging Pepto Bismol. I mentioned that I get my Red Sox news from my dad. If the Sox stay home next week, he’ll be the one at the head of the Fire Terry Francona Parade.

Back to Atlanta. St. Louis is one game behind Atlanta going into the final series of the regular season. On paper, you have to like the Cards. Atlanta hosts the front-running Phillies (finally off the schneid), while St. Louis plays the Houston Astros, who haven’t had anything to play for, since…May? June?

I was about to write that Philly doesn’t care about this series, but, after careful consideration, I changed my mind. Atlanta might have the only bullpen in the remaining teams that could challenge them. Sure, it’s been worn down the last few weeks, but you don’t pile up all those saves with smoke and mirrors. I think they would much rather face the Cardinal staff than Atlanta’s (Philadelphia wouldn’t face Atlanta’s until the NLCS, but you get my point).

Philadelphia also has 99 wins. They want to reach triple digits and set a franchise record (a sweep gets them 102 wins). Most importantly Philadelphia sants to build some momentum heading into the postseason – having gone 1-8 in their last 9 games since clinching. The Phillies would much rather face St. Louis than either Milwaukee or Arizona though they will garner home field advantage in any case. Then agin, with their pitching, it doesn’t matter.

All St. Louis has to do is win one more game than Atlanta. That’ll force a playoff to determine which team wins the NL Wildcard spot. If the Phillies sweep, then it’s easy pickings for the Cards. If the Braves sweep, bye-bye St. Louis.

What do I think will happen? I’m going for a 163rd game playoff, and in that instance, you have to go with the hot club. St. Louis will get in, and then promptly lose to Philadelphia in four. Milwaukee and Arizona? That’s tough. Even though we don’t know who will have home field, I’ll take the Brewers. They’re not playing tight, and that matters.

Watching the Braves fold is like watching a slow motion train wreck. They are 9-15 this month, but the more egregious stat is a 36-33 mark (they’re .500 against the Nats) against the NL East. The Mets, Nats and Fish all have losing records, so that mark is just awful. But here’s the truly sickening stat. In today’s 4-0 loss to Washington, Atlanta only got four hits. The season is on the line. You’re facing Ross Detwiler, who had a 3-5 record coming in, and you manage just four hits. I hope you’re saving them for the Phillies, or very least, the playoff game with St. Louis.

MLB Wildcard Podcast Forum

Brenda Sepanek (Boston Red Sox), John Morgo (Atlanta Braves) and Matthew Hesse (Arizona Diamondbacks) join Adrian Fedkiw (Philadelphia Phillies) to discuss the AL & NL Wild Card.


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