The Baseball Desert

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

On their way Backe

Houston posted its tenth straight victory yesterday, thanks to an 8-strikeout performance by outfielder-turned-pitcher Brandon Backe, who helped his own cause by hitting his first major-league home run.

Things are really hotting up in the National League, just as they did last year, and it's easy to see why they call it the Wild Card - right now there are five teams with a serious shot at making the playoffs. At a glance, the race looks very close (Florida is the fifth-place club and is only 3 games behind the Cubs), but it's a little more complex than it looks. Chicago is 1/2 game ahead of San Francisco, but they had games postponed over the weekend due to the hurricane in Florida and so have played five games less than the Giants. San Francisco, Houston and San Diego have - give or take a couple of games - played the same number of games, so the real threat is Florida, which has played seven games less than the Giants. They're on a 7-game winning streak right now and could do some real damage if they continue in the same vein.

The one thing that is not in their favour is that there are only three weeks of the regular season left, so making up those games will involve playing doubleheaders and making up the games on scheduled days off. It won't be easy, but it's not impossible, either.