It’s coming down to the wire. Three teams battling for two playoff spots, only two will survive, but after it is all said and done, who will still be standing when the smoke all clears?
Heading into the season finale’ with San Francisco, it appeared like the San Diego Padres were finished before it started. The Chicago Cubs stole three of four games from the Padres and the Giants had a three game lead in the NL West prior to this weekend. The Giants needed to win only once to clinch the division. San Diego needed a sweep of the Giants to capture the NL West. It seemed highly unlikely that that would happen, especially since the series is in San Francisco. The Giants boast one of the best, if not the best, pitching staffs in all of baseball. The Padres’ pitching staff isn’t too shabby itself and San Diego came to play.
San Diego, so everyone thought, had a better shot at winning the wildcard race, however the chances of that seemed small as well. The Atlanta Braves had a two game lead on San Diego. The Braves played host to the Philadelphia Phillies. I expected Charlie Manuel to rest his starters to get ready for the postseason but that would not be the case. Instead, Charlie wants his team to stay sharp and remain in playoff mode and the Fightin’ Phils have done just that. The Phillies have beaten Atlanta the first two games and now it is Bobby Cox and the Braves who are doing the sweating as the Padres have shocked San Francisco by winning their first two games with the Giants. The combination of Padres’ wins and Braves’ losses has propelled San Diego into a TIE with Atlanta for the wildcard.
This is where it gets very confusing. Sunday will bring the last day of the regular season but it may be far from over as tiebreakers could appear upon the horizon. Let me try and get this straight.
IF… The Giants win on Sunday, then San Francisco will win the West. Then if the Braves beat the Phillies, Atlanta will win the wildcard and San Diego is out.
IF.. The Braves lose too, then San Diego will travel to Atlanta for a showdown for the wildcard.
IF… The Padres sweep the Giants, then San Diego wins the West and San Francisco wins the wildcard IF the Braves get swept by Philadelphia.
IF the Padres AND the Braves both WIN, then there will be a three-team tie-breaker. The Padres would force one more game against the Giants to determine the NL West and the loser would travel to Atlanta for a tie-breaker for the wildcard spot.
A three team playoff would be the first ever in Major league history. How wild would that be?
IF… you’re confused by all the scenarios, don’t be. Let me simplify it. IF whatever team wins, then that team will survive at least another day. If a team loses, then their fate will rest on another team. However, losing on Sunday doesn’t necessarily spell the end, but it might.
Never mind, this really does get confusing. All we can really do, is sit back and watch on Sunday and see what happens. Watch the drama unfold. We can expect a dramatic finish to what has been, probably one of the wildest playoff races in baseball history!
Amid the noise and confusion, one thing is certain in this scenario. October has arrived and with it comes the drama and excitement of playoff baseball. It’s do or die now as these teams fight for the right to play on unto the postseason.
Get your game face on, boys. It’s showtime! …And it looks like it’s going to be a wild ride!