Monday, September 29, 2008

One Sixty-Three

After a grand slam by rookie Alexei Ramirez, capitalizing on some poor pitching decisions on the part of the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox have forced a tie-break. Tomorrow the White Sox will take on the Minnesota Twins in game one sixty-three of the regular season. Is a tie breaker considered part of the regular season? Who knows. Should make for interesting, albeit dramatic, baseball.

What's at stake? Everything. The end of the season. Playoff hopes. The taste of success for veterans like Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jim Thome. The American League Central.

Tomorrow's winner, whether it be the slumping (before today) Chicago White Sox or the Minnesota Twins, will be reigning champs of the AL Central and will head right into the American League Division Series against the hot as hell Tampa Bay Rays on that bizarre field in St. Petersburg.

Beginning Wednesday, in addition to whatever transpires tomorrow, we will see the first round of the playoffs ensue with the Brewers at the Phillies (Gallardo against Cole Hamels on the mound), Dodgers at the Cubs (Dempster v. Lowe, eat your heart out), and the Red Sox at the Angels (Lester v. Lackey, talk about a pitcher's duel).

I said yesterday that I may be rooting for the Angels and I must admit I hesitated a bit when I realized the Red Sox are in that first series. But how can I not get excited about a lineup deep with power hitters and the famous K-Rod? It's like saying the Rays aren't anything special this year...

Nothing about the 2008 season is what I expected. The Tigers with the off-season trade to end all trades couldn't get their bullpen together. The Mets with guys all over the leader boards (think Reyes and Santana, National League leaders in hits and ERA respectively) couldn't compete past the fifth inning. And, the Yankees, perennial playoff participants, are having a long winter. I'm beginning to expect the unexpected.

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