Monday, August 07, 2006

NL Wild Card Race

Sitting at the pool today, mildly bored, I began to look a little more closely than I normally do at the MLB standings in the sports section of the paper. And what stood out to me was how wide open the NL Wild Card race is. While in the AL the wild card will seemingly be a four team race with the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins and White Sox duking it out, the NL has atleast eight teams that can legitimately say they have a shot at this thing. The Reds lead the Dodgers and DBacks by only one game, and I hope we all realize how shaky the Reds are at this point. They are lacking big time in the pitching department, especially the starting rotation. The up-and-coming Rockies trail the Reds by just 2.5 games. And the most intriguing team in this race are the Philadelphia Phillies. In the midst of all the talk about them trading Cory Lidle and Bobby Abreu while getting nothing of value in return, the Phillies have re-entered themselves into the wild card picture, trailing Cincy by 3.5 games. IMagine if they had kept their front end of the rotation starter and the OPS. monster Abreu. And everyone is writing off the Astros right now and with a little under two months to go in the season, they trail by only 4 games. Same with the Giants...just 4 games. If the Braves get real hot they are only 5.5 games back after Sunday. Hell, the Nats are only 8 games out. A good three weeks could cut that down to 3 or 4 games if the cards played out right. But, in the end, my pick in this crowded race would be the Dodgers. They just won their ninth straight game on Sunday, and the improvements they made through the trading deadline are really going to pay dividends this season. Wilson Betemit and Julio Lugo are good, solid players, and Maddux adds another solid arm to that staff. And now Nomar is back healthy, along with Jeff Kent to solidify the lineup. This race is going to be about the team that plays spectacular the rest of the season, because none of these teams are that good in the watered-down

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