Saturday, June 23, 2007

Last Series Ahead

Four games played since the last update, and a little bit of clarity (but not much!)

AL Classic: The Yankees only took 1 of 4, losing a series to Detroit, their only win coming on a vultured win by Johnny Murphy. After scoring 9 in the first game, the Yanks bats went cold, amounting to only 7 runs in the next 3 games, including a 4-hit shutout by Texas' Bert Blyleven. Mike Hargrove did his future employers a big favor, with his homer accounting for all the scoring in a 1-0 beauty. But could Baltimore take advantage? Not really. The Os split their 4 games, and head into their final series in Detroit 1 game back, while New York hosts Washington. Baltimore has been slightly better than .500 against the Tigers, the Yankees slightly under .500 against the Nationals... New York would host a 1-game playoff if it comes to it. Boston won 2 of 3 against the Browns but were eliminated anyway.

AL Modern: Texas preceded their win against the Yankees by taking a series from Cleveland. Doc Ellis shut down the Indian's bats with a surprising shutout one day, while the Rangers bats pounded Cleveland the next day. Could Seattle take advantage? No. The Mariners played three extra inning games against usually-hapless Oakland, leading each in the 8th only to suffer three blown saves. They lost the first two, games that will haunt fans in the Emerald City if the Ms fall just short. Seattle pulled out the third game, though it took 19 innings to do so. Cleveland hosts Toronto and Seattle visits Texas to finish their season. The Indians have had trouble with the Blue Jays, while the Mariners have hand led the Rangers well this year. Seattle would host a hypothetical playoff. Other than Cleveland and Seattle, no AL Modern team will finish above .500.

NL East: Brooklyn helped their cause immensely by taking 2 of 3 from first-place Pittsburgh. MVP candidate Dolph Camilli was basically AWOL, going 1-12 in the games, but Pete Reiser made up for it by going 6-12 with 3 extra base hits. Ginger Beaumont poured it on for the Pirates, going 11-18, including 5-5 in a heartbreaking extra-inning loss to the Dodgers. The Pirates split their four games, salvaging a make-up against the Mets (featuring a comeback that sent Roger McDowell to a somewhat astonishing 16th loss) after the series loss to Brooklyn. Atlanta took 2 of 3 from Philadelphia, doing it with hitting (a 17-10 slugfest) and pitching (the next day's 2-1 win). Andres Gallaraga did his best to keep Atlanta in it, going 6-9 in the three games. Meanwhile, the Beaneaters are all but eliminated after leaving choosing to score 14 runs in their one win and only 4 in the other three games (all losses). Boston visits Pittsburgh, needing to sweep and then win a to-be-scheduled makeup against the mighty Cubs. Brooklyn is 1.5 back, and is off to Montreal (against whom they've played terribly) to finish the season, while the Mets look to knock Atlanta out. At this point, I believe all results up to and including a four-way tie are still possible. Venues for any playoff games will be (randomly) decided after things clear up a bit.

NL West: Chicago and Milwaukee end this update where they started it-- with the Cubs holding a slim 0.5 game lead. Both teams split their games, Chicago taking 2 of 3 from St. Louis, Milwaukee losing 2 of 3 to Houston before coming back and beating the Cubs in a makeup game. Milwaukee fans might note with some concern the fact they've only scored 4 runs in 4 games, but they can take some solace that their pitching has let them gain the split, stars including Bob Buhl's 11 inning shutout and Spahn's shutout of Chicago to win his 20th (and 7th in a row). The Cubs pitching has been excellent, allowing 6 runs in 4 games, but they too have been scoring little, save an 11 run outburst in game 1. Of more concern is an injury to manager and 1st baseman Frank Chance that likely puts him out for the remaining games, at the Reds. The Braves host Los Angeles. Milwaukee would host any playoff game. The pennant race overshadowed two great pitching performances in games by lesser teams: Doug Rau and Mike Marshall teamed up to pitch a 1-hitter against Cincinnati, and the Padres' Josh Hamilton struck out 11 in a complete game shutout against San Francisco.

Next update after the next three game series, before any last-day makeups.