Four teams. Four games. Two playoff spots.
I'm not sure that anything can break the trance of a nation collectively following its fantasy football stat tracker and the progress of its parlay, but if there's a chance to gain the attention of the non-seamheads on a September Sunday, the final day of the MLB season ranks as the best contender.
Yup. Buckle up, folks.
In the National League, we have the Mets and Brewers tied for the NL Wild Card spot with both teams having shown their fans the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum in a 24-hour period. Out in New York, the Mets face the Marlins at 1 p.m. ET with every Mets fan hoping that Oliver Perez was paying attention to Johan Santana on Saturday afternoon. If not, the last day of Shea Stadium won't be a happy one.
The Brewers, meanwhile, face the Cubs an hour later in Milwaukee and can bank on the good news that CC Sabathia won't have to face Carlos Zambrano, who's being scratched so he can start Game 2 of the NLDS on Thursday. Angel Guzman will get the start instead. Personally, I think both teams win and we get the prize of a play-in game at Shea on Monday night.
Then there's the hot potato race in the American League, where there are four possible win-loss outcomes, but only one — a Twins win and a White Sox loss — that will end the season today. Any of the other three combinations will cause the Tigers-White Sox game to be made up on Monday and depending on that outcome, a play-in game on Tuesday afternoon. If you're still interested in this race after realizing that either team would be in fourth place in the AL East (Hi, Hank!), Twinkie Town has a handy guide to all the possible scenarios here.
As for the matchups, the White Sox get another gift, seeing Cliff Lee yanked from Cleveland's lineup and replaced with AAA-reclamation project Bryan Bullington, he of the eight career appearances. The Sox, though, have to go with Mark Buehrle, who's going on three days' rest. Up in Minnesota, Scott Baker tries to save the day for the Twins while Brandon Duckworth can complete a sweep for the Royals.
We'll be following along with the races here on the Stew all day, so keep checking back for updates.
You know, between crying over the fact that not only is Plaxico Burress screwing up this week by having a bye, but next week, too, by getting his angry self suspended.
Enjoy it, folks.