Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Modest Proposal 

Another exceedingly rare afternoon post … So the Phillies are just a game and a half out now. Suddenly the powers that be are taking notice of the red pinstripes. Even with this weekend’s series against the Mets, the NL East is out of reach (they’d have to sweep the Mets and get a heck of a lot of luck the rest of the way), but the Phillies are hanging tough in the wildcard race still. With Cole Hamels coming back soon, the Phillies are only getting stronger.

Tonight is the battle of the soft-tossing, 40+ lefty twins, Jamie Moyer and Tom Glavine. I find myself resisting the urge to write too many lauditory posts about Moyer. If I blogged the Mets I’d probably do the same with Glavine. I love walking Moyer work with that fastball that doesn’t qualify even remotely as “fast”, the easy motion to the plate, and watching teams pop the ball up or tap weak grounders back to the mound. I love the confidence and leadership that Moyer has brought to the Phillies and the impact his soft, slow pitches have on games.

I like seeing Jamie Moyer go against the Mets this evening because he might disrupt their timing for the rest of the series. Moyer and Hamels make a much more enjoyable ying-and-yang combination to spring on the opposition. Kyle Lohse goes against Pedro Martinez on Saturday. I am eager to see if the Phillies can get to Pedro, who has looked solid but not overpowering thus far this season. He’s gone just five innings in both of his first two starts, so I am unsure if the Mets will let him pitch or treat him with caution on Saturday. I think, with a big national audience, that the Mets will unleash Pedro and see what he can do against the Phillies.

I worry about the Sunday match-up which sends Adam Eaton to the mound. This is the game where the Mets have the clear edge.

According to Baseball Prospectus’ Playoff Odds report, here are the odds of the following teams making the playoffs:

Mets: 99.8%
Diamondbacks: 90.9%
Cubs: 57.9%
Padres: 51.3%
Brewers: 40.7%
Dodgers: 24.8%
Phillies: 18.9%
Rockies: 11.9%
Braves: 1.9%
Cardinals: 1.5%

The Reds have a sub-1% chance and the Pirates, Astros, Giants, Marlins and Nationals are 100% of the luck according to BP. It is mildly unfair that these weak NL Central teams actually have a chance at making the playoffs when a deserving team like the Phillies or Dodgers or Padres might not make it. The Cubs, for example, are on a pace to win 84 or 85 games, while the Padres are on pace to win 87 games and the Phillies 86 games. C’est la vie.

Over in the A.L., the field is basically set, according to BP:

Red Sox: 99.9%
Angels: 99.8%
Indians: 97.5%
Yankees: 89.5%
Tigers: 12.2%

The Mariners, Blue Jays and Twins all have sub-1% chances (specifically, the Twins have a 0.00017% chance of making the playoffs). By the way, the Tigers are on pace to win 88 games, raising the possibility that the A.L. will feature a team with 90 or more wins that does not make the playoffs, vs. the N.L. with a team that barely has a .500 record. That’s kinda sad.

Here is a modest proposal for the MLB: remember 1994 when the Texas Rangers led the A.L. West at the time of the strike with a less-than-robust 52-62 record? The Rangers were on-pace to win 74 games that season and probably wouldn’t have finished the season with a winning record (they would have had to have gone 30-18 just to finish at 82-80). Baseball ought to have a .500 or better requirement to make the playoffs. If one of the teams wins a division with a sub-.500 record, then there ought to be a second wildcard. That is more fair than taking the chance that a team will win the World Series and suck in the regular season. Otherwise, than geography counts for more than the quality of your play in the regular season.

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