FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cubs and Rockies Play On

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 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 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.

  • 1946 NL – the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 4-2 in St. Louis and 8-4 in Brooklyn getting solid pitching from Howie Pollet and Murry Dickson

  • 1948 AL – the Indians playing at Fenway Park beat the Red Sox 8-3 behind rookie hurler Gene Bearden.

  • 1951 NL – the Dodgers inexplicably elect to play two games on the road and wind up on the wrong side of a miracle.

  • 1959 NL – the Dodgers, having moved west, beat Milwaukee in a pair of one-run games 3-2 and 6-5 in 12 innings.

  • 1962 NL – the Dodgers drop 6 of their final 7 to force the playoff and then lead 4-2 in the 9th inning of game 3 before 4 walks, 2 hits, a wild pitch, and an error seal the 6-4 victory for the Giants.

  • 1978 AL – the Yankees furious comeback culminates in a 5-4 playoff win at Fenway on the strength of homeruns by Reggie Jackson and Bucky Dent.

  • 1980 NL West – after being tied for 6 straight days in September it was only fitting that the season should come down to one game at Dodger Stadium which the Astros win 7-1 behind Joe Niekro.

  • 1995 AL Wild Card – Seattle comes from 7.5 games back on September 1st to force a playoff with the Angels in the Kingdome which they win 9-1 behind Randy Johnson

  • 1998 NL Wild Card - the Giants win 6 of their final 7 while the Sosa-powered Cubs struggle and so the two face off at Wrigley Field where the Cubs win 5-3 behind Steve Trachsel

  • 1999 NL Wild Card – the slumping Mets sweep the season’s final series against the Pirates to force a playoff with the Reds who won 19 games in September. The Mets prevail 5-0 on the strength of a two-hit shutout by Al Leiter.
  • No comments: