I've been so busy being a fan the last week I've had little time to put on my analyst hat. With the Cubs looking so strong at the beginning of last week, being swept by the Marlins, and then rebounding against the Reds to clinch the division on Friday night there's been some ups and downs to say the least. They're now getting set to take on the Diamondbacks starting Wednesday with Carlos Zambrano on the hill against Brandon Webb. And then when you add the excitement of the Rockies improbable 13-1 finish to tie the Padres and force today's one game playoff, hopefully you'll forgive the lack of content here during the season's waning days.
I worked Saturday night's game for MLB.com at Coors Field and you could feel the tension in the press box as the Padres held a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning at Milwaukee just minutes before game time. Once Tony Gwynn Jr. hit the triple to tie it, however, the tension was lifted and was completely obliterated when the Rockies jumped all over the Diamondbacks in the first inning on their way to an 11-1 win.
On the Rockies and tonight's game, Nate Silver has a nice piece on SI.com about today's game and predicts a 5-3 win for the Pads behind Jake Peavy. Although Josh Fogg has thrown pretty well in September (6 2/3 of scoreless baseball against the Dodgers on the 9/26 and a 3.25 ERA for the month) I still think I'd rather see Franklin Morales take the ball (2.88 ERA in September with 16 hits given up in 25 innings with 20 Ks against just 6 walks). In any case my hope is that Clint Hurdle is ready for the early hook and doesn't endure one of Fogg's Funks where he suddenly loses the strike zone. Although the Rockies are playing at home where they've been excellent (50-31), facing Peavy on normal rest will be a tough task to say the least. In his two previous outings against the Rockies this season at Petco he's thrown 14 innings and given up 2 runs on 8 hits. For that reason I too would have to pick the Padres if I were betting but confidence can do wonders. That confidence is based not only on the fabulous finish but also on the fact that since May 22nd the Rockies have been the best team in the National League with a 71-46 record (the Yankees went 74-45).
Taking a longer term historical view, tonight's game will mark the twelfth time (including three Wild Card races) in big league history that the season has been extended past the 154 or 162 game schedule. All but the 1915 Federal League season, in which there was no provision in place for playing a tie-breaker, resulted in a playoff. In the NL a three-game playoff was the rule beginning with the 1946 playoff between the Dodgers and Cardinals and ending with the advent of divisional play in 1969. In AL a one-game playoff decided things beginning with the 1948 race. Without further ado, here is the chronological list of the regular season playoffs that decided the affair.