So here are the possible situations:
If we win on both Saturday and Sunday, we win the division outright and play Anaheim.
If we win on either Saturday or Sunday and the Indians lose on both days, we tie the division and play New York on Monday to determine the division winner and if we lose, we still win the Wild Card.
If we win on either Saturday or Sunday and the Indians win on either Saturday or Sunday, we force a playoff for the division against New York and if we lose, we still win the Wild Card.
If we win on either Saturday or Sunday and the Indians win on both Saturday and Sunday, we play New York in New York for the division. If we win, we win the division. If we lose, we play Cleveland for the Wild Card.
If we lose both Saturday and Sunday and the Indians win on either Saturday or Sunday, we lose the division and play Cleveland.
If we lose both Saturday and Sunday and the Indians win on both Saturday and Sunday, we lose the division and lose the Wild Card.
The only way we are completely out of the playoffs come Monday morning is if we lose our last 2 games and Cleveland wins their last 2. If we win on either Saturday or Sunday, we will at least have a playoff game against New York and/or Cleveland and at most, clinch a playoff berth.
Tomorrow is Game 2 of The Big Series. Randy Johnson against Tim Wakefield. The last two times these pitchers clashed, it was a 1-0 Yankee win. I anticipate another pitcher's duel. Johnson has beaten us 4 times this year and Wakefield is on a tear. Both of these guys are big game pitchers that are capable of digging down for that extra something.
If we want to win this game, we need our lefties to hit Johnson. Career wise, Damon is 2 for 15, Ortiz is 2 for 14, Olerud is 0 for 5. That's 4 for 34 or .118. Overrall Red Sox hitters are 44 for 223 (.197). We're going to need to build up some runs the hard way against Johnson. I'd like to see Alex Cora in the lineup. I'd like to see the Red Sox build up Johnsons pitch count and get him out of the game.
Jon Garland will take the mound for the White Sox against the Indians. If Chicago, who will probably start more than 2 of their typical starters like they did on Friday, beats Cleveland, there is no way we will be out of the playoff picture come Monday morning. The same goes for if we win. If both of these things happen, we're in the playoffs no matter what.
Speaking of the playoffs, the White Sox clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Angels are a game behind us and New York for the 2nd seed in the AL post-season. The Cardinals, Braves, and Padres have all clinched their divisions. The Cardinals need to win their last 2 games in order to be the sole 100 win team this season. The Padres are one entire game above .500. The Astros are 1 game above Philadelphia for the NL Wild Card.
Friday, September 30, 2005
What a start by David Wells. He looked shaky at first but he settled down nicely. The Red Sox were also capable of capitalizing on Wang's inaiblity to throw strikes, and the Yankees lapses in defense and scored enough runs for the win. The pitching was the story of this game though. Wells pitched 7 getting it to the reliable part of the bullpen. Bradford was brought on to get Sheffield, he did. Myers came in to get Matsui, and after 12 pitches, he did. Timlin was brought in for a 4 out Save, and he got it. He also struck out 3 of the 5 men he faced. He also tied the Red Sox record for appearances in a season with 80.
Someone posted a comment on my previous post. The basic gist of it what that David Ortiz doesn't play the field, therefore he isn't really a player, therefore he doesn't deserve the MVP. Here's a problem with that argument. If there was no DH, Ortiz would most definately be playing first ahead of Millar. He isn't Edgar Martinez who is physically unable to play first base. When he needs to play, such as in interleague games, he plays first base. He had a nice defensive World Series including the play when he threw out Marquis at 3rd base.
I'm not saying Papi is going to win a Gold Glove. I'm not even saying he is a good defensive first baseman. The fact of the matter is, without him, this team wouldn't have even been in the hunt this season. He has carried this club for stretches of this season. He is a clutch hitter who is putting up ridiculous numbers. In my opinion, he's the MVP, despite his being a DH. Anyone who uses the DH argument, in my opinion, is either an overly puristical baseball fan, or has something against Ortiz/Boston/the Red Sox.
Is there any doubt that David Ortiz is not only the Most Valuable Player, but the clutchest hitter in baseball? No, there isn't. Last night's win was a demonstration of this team's ability to fight back when they're up against the wall. The win also saw David Ortiz and Johnny Damon break out of their slumps. When these guys are hitting, our offense is incredibly good. When they aren't, we can't score runs unless a few guys in the bottom of the order are hot.
We take some emotional momentum into The Big Series with New York. Here are the pitching matchups:
Game 1: Wang (8-4, 4.02) vs. Wells (14-7, 4.42)
Game 2: Johnson (16-8, 3.79) vs. Wakefield (16-11, 3.96)
Game 3: Mussina (13-8, 4.41) vs. TBA
The best matchup is Game 2, Johnson has pitched well against us beating us 4 times this season, Wakefield has been on one of his tears the past month or so.
We need to win 2 of 3 to tie the division and force a playoff, which would be played at Yankee Stadium. A sweep wins us the division. Meanwhile, we're still tied with Cleveland for the Wild Card and they play the White Sox who just clinched the Central but are still vying for home field advantage. If we tie with Cleveland, the tie-breaker will be at Fenway. If all three tie, we play the Yankees in New York for the division and the loser plays Cleveland for the Wild Card.
I think we can sweep if we win the first game. That will be the toughest to win. Wang has pitched well and we haven't seen too much of him. Wells, on the other hand, has been hurt lately and the Yankees know him inside and out.