Back to school, but the sports world rolls on.
In baseball this weekend, there are three series that, I think, will have a significant impact on the playoff picture. The Orioles go to New York for a weekend series, the Rays go into the shithole (literally) of the Oakland Coliseum, and the Cardinals continue their ridiculous stretch against the NL’s top teams in Pittsburgh.
The Orioles have a chance to just drown the Yankees’ playoff hopes this weekend with a sweep. A sweep would give the Yankees 5 more losses than the Orioles, and that is a huge deficit to overcome in a month. Not to mention that the Orioles don’t even have a playoff spot yet so its 5 games back of 3rd place in the AL Wild Card with a month left. Yankees would be done, but I doubt that the O’s will be able to pull this off as the Yankees have suddenly become a lineup to fear. They can still come up with a dud game, but they can also explode like they did against the Blue Jays last series. I attribute most of this to Alfonso Soriano. Soriano has been ridiculous in the second half. He has 11 home runs and 33 RBI’s in 31 games with the Yankees. Thats ridiculous. Its a better pace than Miguel Cabrera, but Cabrera has done it over a whole season, 130 RBI’s in 126 games. Another incredible stat on how good Cabrera has been… Chris Davis has 47 home runs, 121 RBI’s, a .303 batting average and no shot to win the AL MVP. That is ridiculous.
The Rays in Oakland is a big deal for the AL Wild Card and the race for their respective division title. If Oakland gets swept, they will continue to fall behind the Rangers in the AL West and give the Orioles hope for a playoff spot. It would also mean the Rays get closer to where, I think, is their ultimate home at the top of the AL East. The Rays have everything. I wrote about this about a week ago, so I won’t repeat myself. Just link myself. If the Rays get swept, the AL East becomes a harder task than it was. The Red Sox could pull away and leave the Rays in the one game playoff. If Oakland gets the sweep, they will have a realistic shot at taking back the AL West. Then again, they did it last year after not leading all year so I don’t think they’ll be out for awhile. The series is also important for home field advantage in the Wild Card Round. The winner of this series will be in first place for the AL Wild Card and will be in place for a home game. However, that didn’t matter last year as both away teams won the one game playoff.
The Cardinals continue their ridiculous stretch against the NL’s top teams. It is 18 games against the Braves (Yes, they are a top team. I was wrong about that, but they are in the worst division in baseball and I still don’t think that is wrong), Reds and Pirates. They have gone 6-2 so far in the stretch failing to finish off sweeps in their first two series. Now they go to Pittsburgh and look to create even more separation in the NL Central. They have a 1 game lead right now and could have a 4 game lead come Monday. The Cardinals are the most complete team in baseball in my opinion. With Yadier Molina off the DL, the team is insane. They can hit from any place in the line up. Their rotation has one soft spot, Jake Westbrook, but he is on the DL now, so they get to use their young talent and see who will be useful in the playoffs. And their bullpen has an unbelievable ability to shut teams down with Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica. I think that they will go far in the playoffs.
Predictions for these series…
Orioles take 2 of 3
Cardinals take 2 of 3