The Major League Baseball regular season has come to an end. On the day where teams finished their 162-game marathons, intrigue ran pretty high. In the National League, a fan's dream scenario was a real possibility. All it would have taken today was a victory by the Atlanta Braves over the Philadelphia Phillies, and then the San Diego Padres to beat the San Francisco Giants, and we would have had the first three-way tie with playoff implications in MLB history. This would have led to a ridiculously exciting two-day, two-game, sudden-death playoff to see who would win the NL West and Wild Card spots.
Even if you were a fan of the Giants or Braves, who may have preferred to take the simple route into the playoffs, I doubt even you could have not be interested in how exciting the three-way tie would have been.
Things got off on the right start. The Braves survived a late comeback by the Phillies to pick up the win. But the Giants pitching shut-down the Padres, and ending the three-way tie dreams. The Giants took the NL West, and the Braves won the Wild Card.
Disappointment aside, it looks like we're in for an exciting month of October (or should I say, Doctober?). The National League boasts the loaded pitching rotations of the Phillies and Giants, while the Cincinnati Reds bring an exciting offense and flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. Plus, the Bobby Cox-farewell tour extends into the post-season, as the Braves look to end their skipper's career with a championship.
The American League features the Tampa Bay Rays, fresh off winning the American League East for the second time in three years, looking to continue to pull off their underdog run. The Yankees face more questions about their pitching than they do about how much they should pay Derek Jeter in the off-season, which, whether you love or hate the Yankees, makes for great entertainment. It's hard to cheer against the Minnesota Twins (who gave an incredibly classy tribute to Cito Gaston, who managed the Jays against the Twins in the last game of his career, this afternoon), and the Texas Rangers might just be the team most people are overlooking. They have a strong offense, and an underrated pitching rotation. Even after Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis are coming off very good seasons, and may form the toughest rotation in the American League playoff hunt.
As for predictions? I'm saying that the Phillies and Rangers make it to the World Series, with the Phillies coming out on top in seven games.
World Series Game 7 pitched by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee? It could happen.
Enjoy the playoffs!