Friday, September 28, 2007

Nationals impact the playoff race

What can you say about this Nationals team? They are the scrappiest team I've seen in a long time...maybe the most scrappy since another Jim Bowden team...the Cincinnati Reds. I'm talking about a specific Reds team, too. The 1999 version of the Reds lost a one-game playoff to become the wild card team in the National League that season. That team won 96 games with pitchers Denny Neagle and Danny Graves leading the charge. And let's not forget the offensive juggernauts on that team...Sean Casey and Aaron Boone. Remember this was the season before Cincy signed Griffey.

Oh yeah, there's one player on the current Natties roster who also happened to be a Cincinnati Red back in 1999: Da Meat Hook, Dmitri Young.

I think Ryan Church might be a keeper.

But back to the Natties. They're basically the reason the NL East is tighter than your little sister's you know what because over the past few weeks they've taken 5 of 6 from the Mets and lost 4 of 6 to the Phillies. Living in NYC this summer, not in my wildest dreams did I envision this Mets team collapsing like it is right now. Everyone is quick to blame the bullpen and Willie Randolph's mismanagement of said bullpen as the reason for the Mets demise. But I point to two specific everyday players in the Mets lineup that really should be identified as the culprits.

1) Jose Reyes has been really, really average in the second half. He's gone from 19 homers and 81 RBIs in 2006 to 12 and 57 this season. He's still hitting .285, but the way the Mets lineup is set up, they need him to hit in the .310-.315 range to be an offensive juggernaut. Still, if the Mets make the playoffs, Reyes could carry them all the way to the World Series because they guy can manufacture runs himself with the way he runs the bases.

2) Carlos Delgado has had the worst year of his career, possibly signaling the beginning of the end for him. His average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, homeruns, and RBIs are all way down. He's having the worst statistical year of his career, actually.

I don't think he Del Gad it anymore.

And let's not forget about the Phils and Rockies. If either of those teams get into the playoffs, they'll be a force to be reckoned with. When you come in with that much momentum, there's no telling what type of magic can be conjured up. This last weekend of the season should be a memorable one in terms of tense, playoff atmosphere baseball.

Not to mention that there very well could be a four-way tie for the NL East, NL West, and Wildcard spots. Think about it, if the Padres, Mets, and Phils take 2 out of 3 this weekend, they would all have the same record. If the Rockies sweep or the Diamondbacks take just 2 of 3, there would be another team with the an identical record. That's just craziness, and I don't even want to think about the tiebreaker possibilities.

This is a look into the future of Queens if the Mets don't make the playoffs

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