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The NL Wild Card Race!
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The N.L Wild Card has certainly lived up to its name this season. After going 31-51, the Marlins are now only 2 games out. The Phillies, who traded away Abreu and Lidle, and have been without Randy Wolf for most of the year, are only one game out. The Reds, who only a year ago lost 89 games, are leading the damn thing. So, come October 1st, who will be in 1st?
Well thatís what Iím here for. Since Iím always correct with my predictions, Iíll tell you whoís going to win today so you donít have to wait until October.
As of today, the Reds are in first, so Iíll start off with them. The Reds are kind of weird. They really donít have an ace of the staff. Harang is 13-9 with an ERA in the high 3ís, and batters are hitting .270 off of him. †Bronson Arroyo has won just one game in the past two months. Their lineup other than Griffey and Dunn isnít so great. So why are they in first? Well, they have Mr. Utility himself, Ryan Freel. Freel, who could probably start game 7 of the World Series if he wanted, has played great defense to go along with his tidy .376 OBP. He has also stolen bases at a 75% clip. They also have veteran Rich Aurilia coming off the bench with a lofty .847 OPS and has hit 18 HR in only 93 games. Their closer, Everyday Eddie (now on the DL), has come in and saved 8 out of 10 and posted a 1.29 ERA. However, would you trust Eddie in a big spot?
The Phillies have the most explosive offense in the league, and maybe the best right side of the infield in all of baseball. Both Rollins and Utley have scored 100+ and Howard is leading the league in HR and RBI. Burrell (.256/.375/.507) isnít exactly a slouch either. However, their pitching is very suspect. Myers has an ERA above 7 this month, the second month he has done so. Since coming off the DL, Randy Wolf does have 3 consecutive wins, but he also has an ERA above 5.Tom Gordon has been outstanding this year, but ask any Yankee fan if theyíd want him closing postseason games and Iím sure theyíd all say no.
At the beginning of the year people were wondering whether the Marlins would lose 100 games. Now people might be wondering whether theyíre going to the postseason or not. If I told you that Josh Johnson would lead the majors in ERA and Dan Uggla would hit 20 HR back in April, youíd have pointed and laughed. However, itís true. The Marlins have won 9 in a row, and as I type this, theyíre beating the Cards. However, I donít think theyíre going to make it. Theyíre very young and no one knows how they are going to perform under pressure.
(This just in: the Marlins have just made it 10 in a row)
I have to include them. Their pitching is too good not to. Clemens continues to pitch like a 20 year old, Oswalt is Oswalt, and despite getting off to a slow start, Pettitte is 6-4 with an ERA of 3.03 in his last 10 decisions. Isnít Clemens just amazing, though? He is averaging 6 IP per game at the ripe old age of 44 and has an ERA is 2.50. His 4/1 K/BB ratio is nothing to sneeze at either. Oswalt has been good this year as well. He is on pace to throw 200 innings for the third straight year, and has an ERA of 3.23
To go along with their great
pitching, their up the middle defense is superb.
Unfortunately, their offense is horrid. While Berkman and Ensberg are posting good GPAs of .332 and .298, the rest of the team is terrible. Next on the list are Biggio and Taveras with GPAs of .247 and .239.† Among NL teams, the Astros rank dead last in TB and SLG, and are second to last in OPS.
Iím going with the Reds. Theyíre probably the deepest team out of all of the contenders. They donít have outstanding pitching or a great offense, but Freel and the rest of his utility squad gives them that extra little push and depth.
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony Aubry lives in Queens, New York, and can be reached at email@example.com.