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Three’s Company: NL, AL Division Titles Wrapped Up in One Night

On a night when three division leaders claimed their titles, the picture in post-season baseball just got a little clearer.

On Friday night, the Diamondbacks, Rangers and Brewers claimed the NL West, AL West and NL Central Titles. Nl-central-champs_tx Mariners_Rangers_Baseball_244329_game Giants_Diamondbacks_Baseball_244338_game

With the Phillies, Brewers and Diamondback winning the East, Central and West in the National League and the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers in the same respective divisions in the American League, only the Wild Card picture needs solving.

In the American League, the Red Sox lead the Rays by 2 ½ games and the Angels by 3 ½ games.

The deciding factor in the American League is the Yankees, who play Tampa seven times in the last 10 games and the Red Sox in three times in the last 10 games.

The Yankees and Red Sox were rained out last night and the Rays lost to Toronto, 5-1.

In the National League, the Braves lead the Cardinals by three games and Giants by five games.

With six games remaining, it would take a miracle for the Giants to win.

The Cardinals winners of 12 of 14 games from Sept. 6 to Sept. 21, had cut the Braves Wild Card lead to 1 ½ games and two days ago, looked surely to take over the Wild Card lead.

The Cardinals have lost its last two games to expand the Braves’ lead to three games.

If the Cardinals do not win the Wild Card, look no further than Thursday’s game against the Mets.

Winning 6-2 heading into the ninth inning, the Cardinals’ Rafael Furcal misplayed an apparent double play to give the Mets two baserunners with no outs.

Three Cardinal pitchers, Jason Motte, Marc Rzepczynski and Fernando Salas gave up six runs in the inning and the Mets had completed an improbable 8-6 victory.

Two foundations of any championship team is the bullpen and defense (who makes the least mistakes).

The Cardinals weakened on both accounts in Thursdays game and it may have taken the wind out of their sails.

The Cardinals, for as much as Albert Pujols , Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia scare me, the Cards bullpen appears to as bad as Pujols is good.

You want the definition of a hot September team, take the 2007 Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies won 21 of 22 games  in September, claiming the NL Central Division Wild Card.

They swept the Phillies and the Diamonbacks in the National League division and championship series, respectively, to get to the World Series.

A break before the World Series may have undone the Rockies, as they lost four straight to the Boston Red Sox.

As a Phillies fan, I remember not only the Rockies’ run in 2007, but the Giants run all the way to the World Series championship, after winning the National League West on the last weekend of the season.

In the American League, all three division winners could make the World Series.

In the National League, the Phillies are the favorites, followed closely by the Brewers and Diamondbacks.

A hot St. Louis team could spell trouble for the Phillies in a five-game series.

With no one apparent uber hot, teams like the Yankees and Phillies could let their talent, in particular starting pitching, take over a series, short or long.

Still, the last week of the season, ending Wednesday, could make for one wild week.

 

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