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The baseball regular season is over and we have our ten teams playing in the postseason. And the American League is nice and cut and dry. Everyone here except for Ian, Horatio, Fronk (I think), Herodotus (I think), and I will be rooting for the Dirt Raiders come Wednesday in the Wild Card Game. Winner hopefully beats the ever-loving fuck out of the Grit Sawx in the Division Series. On the other side of the AL bracket, the defending champion Astros take on the [MLB Redacteds] in the other Division Series.
Except the regular season is not over. Because the playoff order hasn’t even been decided yet in the National League. We know the teams playing: the Braves, Small Bears, Brewers, Dodgers, and Rockies. We have no idea who’s playing who where. Actually we know that the Braves will be the 3rd seed. That’s it. They don’t even know where they’re going yet.
Our two games:
NL Central Tiebreaker: Brewers at Cubs, 1:05 PM Eastern, ESPN
Not only is this game for the NL Central title, it’s also for the top seed in the National League and the home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs that come with it.
Pitching for the Cubs is José Quintana, who they got from the cross-town White Sox last year to try and lead them to a repeat. That didn’t quite happen. This year Quintana’s had an okay I guess year, going 13-11 with a 4.09 ERA. Definitely not the 2016 All-Star everyone wanted in 2017 but didn’t remain at those lofty standards. Quintana pitched well against the Brewers this season, going 4-1 with a 2 and change ERA, including 6 2/3 scoreless at Wrigley on September 11.
Pitching for the Brewers is that illustrious specimen (as of writing this twelve hours before first pitch)… TBD. Well that doesn’t fucking help with predictions. You can’t do a bullpen game in all likelihood, the loser has to play tomorrow! Okay, I guess you can, because you can use the regular season roster which is up to 40 players once you get to September. No, there’s still no better option.
(Update: Jhoulys Chacín gets the ball for the Brew Crew.)
Oh, and did I mention that earlier? The one thing possibly preventing new middle names being given to players
is that the losers of both of these games play in the one game Wild Card playoff tomorrow night. That is slightly better for the loser of the Central game, as they have the better record, so they’ll be the team that gets home field for that game. The winner of that game plays the winner of this game in the Division Series.
That makes sense, right? Good.
NL West Tiebreaker: Rockies at Dodgers, 4:09 PM Eastern, ESPN
I know in other sports the head-to-head would be first tiebreaker for spots (like… all the other Big Four sports actually), but when they expanded the playoffs to two Wild Card teams playing a one-game playoff they changed that. I remember in 2005 the Yankees won the AL East based on winning the head-to-head with the Red Sox, but both teams finished 95-67. The last series was at Fenway, and they lost that last game (checks Baseball Reference) 10-1 but nobody gave an ass because by winning the day before they had locked up the division. That game would have meant something. On a related note I do like the “everyone’s game that last day starts at 3:00” rule. One of the useful things taken from Lesser Footy!
Anyway back to this game, the winner gets the #2 seed and will host Atlanta on Thursday. The loser has to fly east to play the loser of the first game, and then, should they win that, fly to face the winner of the first game in Game 1 of that series, also on Thursday. In the case of the Rockies, they have also never won the NL West. Yes, they’ve won the pennant in that famous Rocktober run in 2007 (and as a result every Rockies playoff run is Rocktober), but they didn’t win the division—the Diamondbacks did and the Rockies had to beat the Padres in the Wild Card tiebreaker.
Scotchtoberfest, meanwhile, will begin when Scotchy posts the MNF thread later tonight.
As for the Dodgers, defending last year’s NL crown/getting revenge for the entire pitching staff running out of gas has to start somewhere and it’s a lot easier starting without the Wild Card Game.
Pitching for the Rockies is German Márquez, who last time out did this. If you don’t want to click on an MLB link, he struck out the first eight batters he faced, tying the modern (post-1900) Major League record (oddly enough he didn’t get the pitcher), and set the franchise single-season record.
Pitching for the Dodgers is
Not quite. Walker Buehler, spelled differently, is a rookie starting the Dodgers’ most important game of the season so far. That’s right, it’s not Clayton Kershaw. He pitched on Saturday, so he wouldn’t be in line to pitch until Game 1 on Thursday. The thing about it being a dogfight until the end is that you can’t always line everything up nicely. Although if they had won the division it would have, fair point. But Buehler’s pitched fairly well too, with an ERA about the same as the great Kershaw’s (granted due to injuries he didn’t have his usual lights-out Cy Young contending year). Most years he’d probably be a Rookie of the Year contender, but that’s either going to be Juan Soto or Ronald Acuña, Jr..
A historic (NOT HISTORICAL) event (NOT “AN HISTORIC EVENT”) at stake here too: This is not a postseason game. This is Game 163. Which means the stats all count as regular season stats. Which gives us the case of Christian Yelich, who’s been on some sort of ridiculous tear the last month. Where he still has a chance at the Triple Crown. AND to make it more intriguing those blocking this feat are also playing.
Batting Average: Yelich is hitting .323, well above Cincy’s Scooter Gennett at .310. That’s not the interesting one.
Home Runs: Yelich has 36 home runs, tied with two others including Trevor Story of the Rockies. He is one behind Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, who leads the NL with 37. Teammate Jesús Aguilar is one back with 35, and while we’re at it, Javy Baez of the Cubs is two behind Yelich.
Runs Batted In: Yelich has 109 RBIs, two behind Baez, tied with Arenado, one ahead of Aguilar, two ahead of Story.
Predictions? Well, Suzyn, you can’t predict baseball. But I’m going to take the Brewers who’ve been on Yelich’s back as he’s going to win the MVP, and while I’m at it, screw it, I’ll take the red-hot Rockies. And Yelich ties either Arenado or Baez in one of the categories, but the other gets one while we’re at it so at the end of the day he falls just short.
Fans of the four teams, hold onto your butts. Everyone else, let’s watch some chaos!