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The Tally Ho

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Well, it is once again time for celebration. Firstly, summer is over – dead and gone. Gone again for seven or eight months… hot weather is the plague of humanity. Today was the first day of tolerable weather since early June. It was brilliant! No sweat while walking and no jacket needed at night – though I still prefer jacket weather. Today reminded me of an English summer. Secondly, this is the last week of the baseball season – which is basically the start of postseason play.

Until last nights rained out game I thought the Boston Red Sox were going to win the East. The rainout caused the Sox to not only play a double header – which traditionally are hard to sweep, but that due to Wade Miller’s season being over, Tim Wakefield will have to pitch on three days rest against the Yankees Randy Johnson on Friday. To make things worse, Baltimore has lost nine straight games and has showed little fight. So now, I would actually say that it is completely even Steven. What the East may come down to, and even a playoff birth for one of these teams, is which collection of starters can go more innings? Which team can avoid using their middle relievers. I say advantage to the BoSox in this regard as Schilling, Wells, Arroyo, and Wakefield have all been in this situation before and Matt Clement has moments of brilliance while the Yankees high priced off season pick ups have been duds (Wright, Pavano, and Brown), thus relying on the always tough Randy Johnson; a solid Mussina – and the three biggest surprises, Wang, Chacon, and Aaron Small who all are not use to these situations. But still, it is hard to pick a winner. Sure, David Ortiz and A-Rod may be their teams MVPs, but I think Tim Wakefield and Aaron Small have been overlooked down the stretch. The worry of the rotation is actually Curt Schilling. He has the tendency to turn it on, but take tonight as an example – the Red Sox have scored five runs in four innings and it may not be enough for Schilling. Any time a Red Sox or Yankees pitcher can’t make it through the seventh (or minimum the sixth) the game is over. Remember then 1990 Cincinnati Reds? They had the “Nasty Boys.” Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble, and Randy Myers. Three closers, all were capable of pitching two innings each. When it came to the playoffs that year, the Reds finished 8-2 and a World Series ring. It is what every team lacks.

The other great race going on is the ChiSox and the Indians. They seem like polar opposites this season. ChiSox started off with a bang and have crawled their way into the last week – but have started a winning streak at the perfect time. Cleveland got hot as Chicago got cold. You can say that Chicago doesn’t have a mighty offense, but their starting pitching this year has been great. A week ago I thought they were finished and that Cleveland would win the division and Chicago would fall out of the playoffs. Now I think Chicago will win the division and we have a three way race between Cleveland, Boston, and New York.

Now, the Wests – Oakland is done, Angels are in. The NL West is a complete shame. The worst team in the NL East (Nationals or Mets) would win the West. In essence, the NL shows a flaw in the playoff system. If the wild card is suppose to be the best team that is not a division winner – in an attempt to get the four best teams in a division to face off. Only in the NL, besides St. Louis and Houston, the best teams are all in the East.

What would I like to see? St. Louis has a fantastic team, but otherwise the National League isn’t where I think it is at. Look at the top five teams in the American League… all of which can make it to the big show.

I love Autumn.

Update: Cleveland lost. Chicago lost. Unless an enormous meltdown Chicago is at minimum the Wild Card and almost certainly the division winner. Boston lost and basically used their entire bull pen tonight. Yanks are about to lose as well - but managed to not use Gordon or Rivera (at least last time I checked - and no reason to after that.

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