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 Post subject: Whom to root for - September 5-7, 2014
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:52 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:11 pm
Posts: 7659
Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
The Giants' sweep of the Brewers and the Cardinals' sweep of the Pirates series cleared the fog from what was once a murky divisional and wildcard race.

It is all clear.

The second wildcard position is the only legitimately realistic playoff option available for the men in black-and-gold. Its down to the Braves, Brewers and the Pirates. As I write this, both the Braves and the Brewers have played one more game than the Pirates and are ahead of the Pirates by 1 in the loss column and 2 in the win column.

We are all Marlins fans for the next week. The Marlins host the Braves over the next three games. The Marlins then travel to Milwaukee to face the Brewers for a four game series.

As much as it may be painful, we are also Cardinals fans for the next 3 days. We would greatly benefit from having the Cardinals keep the Brewers reeling.

Here are the remaining schedules of note:
Braves: Marlins (3 - Away); Nationals (3-Away); Rangers (3-Away); Nationals (3-Home); Mets (3 -Home); Pirates (4-Home); Phillies (3-Away)
Brewers: Cardinals (3-Home); Marlins (4-Home); Reds (3-Home); Cardinals (3-Away); Pirates (3-Away); Reds (3-Away); Cubs (3-Home)
Pirates: Cubs (3-Away); Phillies (4-Away); Cubs (3-Home); Red Sox (3-Home); Brewers (3-Home); Braves (4-Away); Reds (3-Away)

What sticks out to me?
1. Braves still have 6 games left against the Nationals. The Nationals are playing for home field advantage in playoffs. The Nationals may be the best team in the NL. That will be a tough set of games. Good possibility of three losses.
2. Brewers still have 6 games left against the Cardinals. Like the Nationals, the Cardinals are motivated for playoff seeding and still need to lock up the division. Good possibility of three losses for the Brewers.
3. Pirates have the chance to make up ground by taking care of its own business. Take the series from the Brewers and take/split series with the Braves.
4. The Cubs are no push over with the way that they are playing right now. They are young and hungry. They are playing with confidence. The Bucs are catching them at the wrong time. That being written, a playoff caliber team needs to take care of business and take both series.
5. Of the three teams' schedules, I think that I'd take the Pirates.

The Cardinals' series sucked. Big time. But . . . trying to take a positive out of it . . . Garritt Cole was handed a two run lead in the 7th inning of the first game and just didn't get the job done. Edinson Volquez pitched a great game when the Pirates needed a big pitching performance. They lost 3 games on the road by a total of 4 runs. That's a far cry from the god damned shellacking the Cardinals delivered to the Pirates late last year in St. Louis.

There is no hope for a division. That died with the Cardinals' series.

However, this team isn't dead in the water . . . not yet. Get healthy with a series win against the Cubs. No need for desperate claims that a sweep is needed (it would be nice, though). Just win the series. It won't be easy on many fronts - just look at the "handedness" of the Cubs' starters. Tabata and Sanchez better be ready to bring their bats.

Playoff baseball is still very much on the radar screen. The Braves, Brewers and Pirates are not exactly "hot" teams right now. They all have "warts."

Mark my words . . . barring a complete meltdown . . . this wildcard race is coming down to the last weekend and I think that we are going to be scoreboard watching.

With that . . .

It may seem as though there is an armada against them but . . . it. is. not. over. There is still a fight to be had.

Hoist the colors Pirate fans. Rally the troops. Meaningful September baseball remains in hand. And it resumes in a few hours.

Go Bucs!

Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.

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