FINAL REGULAR SEASON WEEK!
National League: DBacks finished a modest 3-3 but still led the ASFBL in wins and earned the top seed and homefield advantage for the playoffs…Washington was second in the best NL-and-ASFBL record…The Cubs needed all of their 5-2 finish to grab the NL central crown, finishing 2 games ahead of the Brewers…the Wildcard race was fast and furious…the Brewers finished 4-2 and nudged the Dodgers out of the last wildcard spot by all of 1 game…because….
I have added white space here in the hopes of adding a dramatic pause: in the next few lines, my friends, we will collectively witness the glory of baseball. The difference in the wildcard race, the coveted last wildcard spot, the culmination of 162 games of effort, came down to….the San Diego Padres. With a tough series coming up against the Rockies, the Dodgers had to beat the Padres to gain ground against Milwukee…they managed to do so in the first two games, winning both while scoring only 3 runs behind back-to-back shutouts (with Rich Hill and Alex Wood winning as the starters, and consecutive 2-inning saves by Kenley Jansen)…but in the 3rd game, the Padres — with 111 losses, -20 WOR, and struggling to be competitive — got 6 runs (homers by Myers and Margot), turned in 3 hit-saving plays, and shut out the Dodgers to salvage the last game in the series….and become the spoiler that determined the last spot in the NL wildcard race.
Congrats to John Kephart on his first campaign in the ASFBL, and a special thanks to him for filling in for Chuck Ballingall, who I still miss. And a hearty congrats to Chris Zewiske for a furious run to grab the last playoff spot. Chris, the tabs on you should and Padre owner Joel Rollins ever find yourself in the same bar together.
American League: Houston cruised to the top spot in the AL West by 12 games and also carried the best record in the league….after a see-saw battle with Detroit over the last 2 months of the season, Steve Skrovan’s Cleveland club got into the playoffs for the second year in a row and finished a comfortable — if close — 4 games up in the AL central…the Orioles finished at 2-3 as the Yankees surged at 4-2, but they had a big enough cushion to absorb the slowdown and take the AL east title…although Boston, the Chisox, and the Mariners all had solid seasons and came down the stretch with a plausible shot in the closing weeks, the necessary miracles weren’t in the cards. The Tigers and Yankees finished in a dead tie at 88-74, and honestly I haven’t even managed to get around to figuring out the tiebreaker yet.
WINS OVER REALITY
Detroit managed a truly impressive +24, fueled by Ben’s wise maneuvers and constant attention to detail and the collapse of the actual club…Cincy finished +17, tied for second, and with the highest WOR of any non-playoff team…Baltimore was the other 2d-place finisher…Philly and the Chisox finished strong at +14, and Johnny Mac and Rob Perkins have much to be proud of…it really takes some skill and deep baseball knowledge to take the really bad actual teams and make the more competitive…and hats off to Arizona and Colorado, both playoff teams, both big winners, and both good teams that Rick and Leo made much better…
I’m facing my usual Wednesday crunch, so I’ll set up the wildcard round tomorrow and we’ll look to finish it up by Saturday, and start the LDS series by Sunday/Monday. I’ll have all the details out then; in the meantime, you might check out the rules link above for a playoff review.
Thanks to all for a great regular season, appreciate all our owners who stuck out all 6 months, and good luck to our remaining 10 owners as they march to the championship.