Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who will fold the least?

There are three teams in the National League that are completely shellshocked and seeing their seasons coming to a crashing end.

The Brewers have won only 3 games this month, shocked the baseball world with a bizarre panic move of firing their manager with a dozen games left, and then lost to their division rival with the best pitcher in baseball losing for the first time since his trade to the NL… all the while knowing that free agency will devastate their pitching staff.

Speaking of devastation, the Astros had a hurricane derail their momentum, force them from their stadium where they were no hit one night, nearly no hit the next day and in the past three games have 1 run and 6 hits COMBINED.

And the Mets are in the middle of a gut wrenching free fall that is reminding everyone of their epic collapse one year ago… their bullpen can’t close games, their rotation is in shambles, their line up is old and banged up and teams like the Braves and Nationals are picking them apart,

There is nothing but panic, despair and resignation of failure in the eyes of those teams and the hearts of their fans.

All three teams resemble Alec Guinness at the end of The Bridge on the River Kwai… battered, about to die, suddenly realizing the mistakes he has made… and as he dies he destroys everything he has fought so hard to build.

Want to know the strange thing?

One of those teams are going to be playing in October.

The National League needs four teams… and one of them will be either the Mets, Brewers or Astros.

Like Rocky at the end of Rocky 2, if one of the teams can climb up that rope and be standing when the ref counts to ten, you win.

The Mets and Astros have 12 games left… the Brewers have 11.
Going on a winning streak over 12 games isn’t an outrageous request.

The Mets need to play the Nats and Braves… which has been a challenge as of late. And then the Cubs and Marlins at home.

The Brewers have 5 more games with the Cubs, plus 6 games with the Reds and Pirates.

The Astros have the easiest schedule… two more games in Miami and then the Pirates, Reds and Braves the rest of the way (with a possible make up game with the Cubbies.)

And if the Astros or Brewers win the Wild Card, chances are they would face either the beatable Phillies or maybe the Mets if they (David) right their ship.

I’d pick either the Astros or the Brewers over the NL East champ!

One of these three teams will be in it… and have that collective sigh of relief that comes over a team that struggles past the finish line.

Everyone remembers the Rockies sprinting past the Padres and Dodgers last year…
But how about the Cardinals in 2006?

They went on a 7 game losing streak in September. They had an 8 ½ game lead with 12 to play and the Astros cut it to ½ a game before the St. Louis finished the year with the third worst playoff record in baseball history.

And once they got in, there seemed to be a release of tension. “We didn’t blow it!” And they went on to win the World Series.

The Tigers that year also had a miserable September where they did blow the division lead and backed into the playoffs as the Wild Card.

They won the pennant.

The 2007 Red Sox and the 2005 White Sox saw their huge leads nearly evaporate in subpar Septembers… and both won the World Series.

So while these the three teams all resemble Mr. Orange bleeding to death in the warehouse… one could have a real shot at making their 2008 season have a happy ending.

At least happier than Mr. Orange’s ending.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:41 AM

    How is what the Mets are going through any thing like the collapse of last year? Except for a couple of bad nights, they're actually playing 9 innings. okay 7.

    Also, Jerry Manuel is managing to make up for the fact that his bullpen is essentially the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox' pitching rotation with a batting practice machine as closer; few other managers in the bigs would have the guts any more to make his starters go 8 innings a game.

    Do I think this is a World Series caliber team? Of course not. But considering all the injuries, it's pretty amazing they've gotten this far, and the fact that they're even in the playoff conversation shows they've got more guts than last year's team.