Sunday, May 13, 2007

Time to panic on the North Side?

It's taken another month, but the end of the season is a bit closer. The most secure leads of recent times are much smaller, and the reverse is also true. There are 7-8 games left for most teams.

AL Classic: Baltimore treaded water, taking 2 of 3 from St. Louis while the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Philadelphia Athletics. The Orioles lost a good opportunity to make up ground when Dick Hall blew a save in the 9th and the Browns took the game in the 11th. The Yanks, meanwhile, used some late heroics and took advantage of hot hitting from Joe DiMaggio (4-8, 2 HR, 7 RBI in the two wins) to lower their magic number to 6. Washington swept the Red Sox, effectively knocking them out of the race (and putting the Nats in plausible striking distance of Detroit for 4th place). The Yankees lead by 2, tied for the largest division lead, and will host Detroit. Baltimore heads to Philadelphia.

AL Modern: The Indians and Mariners slouched toward the finish. Seattle caught Cleveland after they beat Kansas City (coupled with an Oakland win), but the Royals swept a big double header, Jeff Nelson blowing the save in the 8th of the nightcap. In the end, the Indians' lead remains 1 game with 6 to play. The battle for third place between Texas, Minnesota, and California continues in the leaders' rear-view mirror. The Mariners head down I-5 to Oakland, the Rangers come next to the Jake.

NL East: Brooklyn edged closer to the top, moving into second place after sweeping the fading Beaneaters. Boston's vaunted offense was shut out twice in the three game set, including a heartbreaking 1-0 finale. The Dodgers have won 5 straight. Pittsburgh took two of three from the Mets and have lowered their magic number to 6. Atlanta dropped two of three to the New York Giants. Heading into the final two series, the Pirates lead Brooklyn by 2 games, with Boston at 2.5 back and Atlanta 3 back. This sets up a critical series as Pittsburgh visits Ebbets field. The Beaneaters and Braves will try to take advantage against the Giants and Phillies, respectively.

NL West: Chicago has led for the lion's share of the season and has had a large lead for months (of game time, to say nothing of real time). The Cubs wake this morning with their lead a slender 0.5 games, 1 game in the all-important loss column. This is most immediately a result of a disastrous sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers (who outscored the Cubbies 22-4 in the three games) while the rolling Milwaukee Braves easily handled San Francisco. Milwaukee has the easier schedule going forward, facing the anemic Astros next before facing the 3rd place Dodgers (who would be in 1st place in the NL East, but that's another story). Chicago takes on the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals. There is also a make-up game between Chicago and Milwaukee after this next series, which is looming ever-larger.