The Race is on…

Race for the N.L. East Division Title…

Looking at how the Phillies have been playing of late, I thought this division was going to be the closest run contest, but having seen how the Rockies and Dodgers are playing, the N.L. West could produce the biggest upset in September.

The teams in the N.L. East will all play a major role in the way this division unfolds during September, everybody plays everybody, so I am going to do a brief review of each team and the role they could play.

The Washington Nationals (47-90) in my opinion will have the biggest impact on the outcome of this division race. There current strategy seems to be reviewing players and setting up the team to go into the off season, so they can best decide who to trade and who to keep, plus they are looking at what areas they will need to fill during the off-season so as to not end up with the worst record in baseball in the 2010 season.

The Nats play everyone in the division which means they will be a spoiler and a helper, who they will help and who’s hope’s they will spoil is yet to be seen. They could even have a hand in the N.L. West with (2) 3 games still scheduled against the Dodgers. They host 3 games against the Phillies starting today (Tuesday, Sept 8th) and with the way the Phillies have been playing of late anything could happen.

The New York Mets (62-75) currently are in an ‘argumentum ad misericordiam’ state. They cannot decide if self-pity or pity from the fans right, considering the new stadium, the pre-season hype then the injuries, the ball park not very player friendly and of course the cross town Yankees doing so well, they are desperately seeking a ‘It’s NOT our fault’ acceptance from the not so fair weather fans.

Although they do play everyone in the division, the role of the Mets is more likely to be a deciding factor in where and how the Marlins and Braves finish.

The Atlanta Braves (70-67) are fighting to hold onto a winning record and at the same time desperately trying to stay in the wild card race. They are only 8 games back in the division race, but with Florida and the Phillies ahead of them, they would have to sweep both team during games this month and they only have 3 against the division leading Phillies. the wild card has it’s own challenges, currently 7 1/2 games out they have to hope the 3 teams ahead of them completely collapse.

They will probably be more inclined to spoil the chances of the Marlins while maintaining a winning record this year.

The Florida Marlins (72-65) are the FISH with a WISH. It’s tough to decide which is the hardest task for them, the wild card or division, both are very hard mountains to climb. Currently standing 6 games back in the division and 5 1/2 games back in the wild card it’s a 50/50 chance to make either one. They do have 6 games left against the Phillies and they did sweep the Phillies at CBP and the Phillies have been struggling of late, so there has to be hope in the hearts of the Marlins fans.

The Philadelphia Phillies (77-58) have a hard schedule ahead, with just 2 days off, but 2 double headers to play. They will play 6 games outside of the division, tough games against central division teams, but more importantly the in division games are critical. With Florida and Atlanta hoping for a shot the Phillies will have to bring the best of the season together to finish out on top.

A team in turmoil at the moment, with the starting pitching being the only element of the team delivering a winning performance, the offence needs to step up and the bull pen needs to refocus. the offense it’s all about the players, Raul Ibanez seems to be on a slow climb from his slump, the rest of them have to become more consistent, the bull pen is solid except for 2 or 3 players, who Charlie seems to favor.

It’s all about choices and this man has some to make…

Make the right choices and the Phillies can be in the post season shooting for a repeat, the wrong choices and the season ends October 4th.


22 Comments on “The Race is on…”

  1. ibleedpinstripes says:

    Interesting analysis. I know I’m curious to see how the NL East as well as the NL Wild Card turn out. After all, I’d like to get a good idea of who the Yanks could possibly be playing in the World Series! 😉

    – Lisa

  2. Jane Heller says:

    Great post. It’s interesting to take a look at which teams play each other down the stretch and try to predict who will play the role of spoiler. I can’t see any team spoiling the Phillies’ chances right now, so the real action will be out west. I still think the Dodgers will get it done.

  3. xcicix says:

    Great analysis on the division. It’s nice to see that even the losing teams are important in September! It’s not easy to see who’ll win the division at this point, and I think someone in the NL West will win the wild card.

  4. devilabrit says:

    Lisa- I like your confidence of the Yankees reaching the World Series… but as we all know anything can happen.

    Jane- I hope your right about the Phillies, but I think the west is going to be the last week decider.

    ibdb- I think your right the west will provide us with the wild card winner.


  5. TribeTed says:

    The phils are just filthy.

    But with Lee not being well… Lee – he is botching the whole chance up.

    Hamels might have to regain the number 1 spot with Lee moving to 2.

    And wow – Blanton is amazing at the 3rd spot.

    Dominates people is what he does.

    Can he just quit he is making fun of people with his offspeed stuff!!

    GOod luck yo.

    –Ted “TTW/T” —

  6. raysrenegade says:

    Everyone seems to have forgotten the Washington Nationals are still playing baseball and not mailing it in yet.
    I was thinking the same thing a few nights ago, with the slugfest going on in the NL WEst, that could be a blessing for the Phillies.
    Let those teams beat themselves into the ground, then come playoff time, the Phillies will be fresh while the NL West squads will be banged up a bit.
    Great thoughts and ideas in this blog today.
    Makes you think about the possible NL races.

    Rays Renegade

  7. heartruss says:

    This time last year the Dodgers were ahead of the Rockies by only 1/2 game and got it done.
    Great post by the way!!

  8. 23gonzalez says:

    Nice post. Thanks for commenting on my blog. The Phillies will be alright. I hope for your sake the Phillies can get their closer situation resolved.

  9. redstatebluestate says:

    Whoowee was that close one tonight! You’re lucky Madson had some in the tank. Lidge was ATROCIOUS. Charlie made the choice…at least in THIS game… but now what?!?

  10. devilabrit says:

    Ted- Lee will come around, as we hope Hamels has now…

    raysR- the Nats are definitely a team with a mission, a mission to destroy others hopes, this is good for september ball

    cat- I was thinking more of a couple of years ago when the Rockies went something silly like 13 for 14 in the final run and won the wild card

    ag23- the closer role has been an issue all year in Philly, I hope it gets sorted too, or a post season maybe short lived.

    Jeff- what can I say but AAARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

  11. carolmwl says:

    You’re right. Even losing teams will influence the divisional outcome.

    The Nationals are, as everyone knows, in the basement. ‘Way in the basement. But the thing is, the Phillies have often had to struggle against them, as the Nats have some good hitters. So….this series is not a pushover series, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Philadelphia SHOULD win, should sweep them – but with Zimmerman and Dunn, etc, one can never be quite sure.

    Carol How ‘Bout Those Phils?

  12. southernbelle says:

    Peter: “The Fish with a Wish.” Lol. My Aunt is rooting for them. She lives in Florida and goes to an occasional Marlins game, but she really doesn’t understand baseball. I agree that the Nationals are going to have an impact on the race. Sometimes the last place teams are the spoilers. Whatever. The Phils are a tough club…I hope they don’t meet with my Yanks in the WS….whatever. If we play you at Yankee Stadium, we might have MORE walkoffs!!!

  13. devilabrit says:

    Carol- Should a, would a, could a, all in Houston but we didn’t so yeah, this Nats series is definitely a big one to sweep…

    Virginia- More walkoffs at Yankee stadium… didn’t we win 2 out of 3 this year at Yankee stadium..:-)


  14. phillies_phollowers says:

    Charlie really needs to get over his loyalties and WIN some games! Almost had a heart attack last night when he brought Lidge in…no fun driving home from DC after that sort of thing happens. Thank goodness Madson bailed him out!


  15. devilabrit says:

    Jenn- Driving from DC isn’t so good at the best of times, so that must of been a living nightmare last night for you… glad you got back safe and you bought a win back with you…:-)


  16. crzblue2 says:

    That is 3 games the Nats are scheduled against the Dodgers (not 2) then a 4 game series with the Pirates, then 2 with the Padres. That will be the final regular road trip. The Dodgers have 4 days off in September starting tomorrow.
    Excellent post Peter.

  17. devilabrit says:

    Emma- Thanks for the correction, sometimes my fingers move quicker than my brain, hard to imagine.. then I read what I think I should have written….4 days off thats a lot of days without baseball in september, I’d be lost…:-)


  18. matttan7 says:

    The only threat to the Phillies clinching the division are the Florida Marlins. I’d say the Mets and Nationals are out of the race. The Braves still might have some chances. This should be fun.

    Matthew Tang

  19. crazy19canuck says:

    Ugh…just WIN, ok? Don’t let the Fish catch up!!

  20. diamondgirl55 says:

    The Phillies are amazing, you guys will do great! Awesome analysis, I had fun reading it! :] Wow what a bummer the Mets turned out to be this year. I’m a semi-Mets fan and it’s been heart-breaking. I almost died when David Wright got beaned in the head! My boyfriend however, could care less about Wright and is constantly rooting for the Phillies :] That’s his #2 team (he’s a Tigers fan). But I love the Phillies too!!!!!! hehe! xoxo

  21. JQuist says:

    *I’m not worried about the Phils at all… You guys just need to prepare yourself for the Cardinals when the playoffs come, because that’s the biggest obstacle in your way, (in my eyes…)

  22. redstatebluestate says:

    I’m pretty sure you’re saying more than ARRRGH these days… some F-bombs followed by broken furniture and appliances would be my guess.

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