The Baseball Desert

Sunday, September 21, 2003

All change?

Once again, the lead in the NL Wild Card race changed hands yesterday. The Marlins had an extra-inning victory (against the mighty Atlanta Braves, no less), whilst the Phillies lost to Cincinnati, which means that Florida leap-frogged back over Philadelphia to take a 1/2 game lead in the race. These two clubs just can't seem to deal the killer blow which would put them clear ahead of everyone else - it promises to be a fun week of baseball in the National League (unless you're a die-hard fan of either of the above clubs, of course...).

Meanwhile, changes are possibly afoot over in the American League - all of a sudden, the A's seem to have gone to sleep, whilst the Mariners have suddenly realised that the season doesn't end on August 31 but on September 30, and that it's a good idea to play hard right up to that date. Ichiro went 4-for-6 yesterday, as the Mariners put together 17 hits against the A's. The win not only puts them three games back of the A's in the division, but it also brings them to within 1 1/2 games of Boston in the Wild Card race. Boston also inexplicably fell apart in Cleveland last night - they were cruising 4-1 against the Indians until the seventh inning, and then proceeded to give up 12 runs over the 7th and 8th inning without a hint of a reply. The Red Sox are going to have to be careful if they want to preserve that Wild Card spot that has seemed to have had their name written on it all season. The Yankees'win against the Devil Rays means that they are assured of a playoff place (at least the Wild Card spot), but it's fairly likely they'll win the AL East outright, so Boston now has to concentrate on the Wild Card. The combination of AL West and Wild Card means that there are three teams in contention (Oakland, Seattle and Boston), and only two spots available - somebody is going to end up not going to the ball...