Thursday, September 30, 2004

Down to the wire

Season's down to its last weekend, with one spot open for each league. In the NL, the Astros appear to be in the driver's seat. They're up a game, and they go against the pathetic Rockies at Minute Maid Park. The hard-luck Cubs play Atlanta at Wrigley, while the Giants play at Dodgers Stadium, possibly aiming for the division with a sweep.

Hard to decide who to root for here. The Giants are probably my 2nd favorite NL team, after the D.C. Expos, and I'd love to see Bonds on the postseason stage. But the Giants appear to be the weakest team of the bunch, and Bonds is liable to be walked every time up anyway. Why GM Brian Sabean continues to resis springing for some protection behind Bonds is something I'll never get. The Cubs always make a great story, and they've got an awesome pitching staff for a postseason run. With Prior getting it together (16Ks today), and Zambrano tough, they'd be a tough matchup for anybody. Only trouble is their serious offensive woes. With the Astros, there's the enduring greatness of the Rocket. And Bagwell deserves to make it just once. The 'Stros have a strong lineup and two top frontline starters, but they're probably the third best "story." In the end, I'll probably root for the G-men.

If the Cubbies make it, that Cubs-Cards NLCS matchup will be awesome. If not, I expect the Cards to roll through the NL competition. I can't see the Braves (sorry, Scott) or the Dodgers prevailing.

In the AL, it's the A's v. Angels, 3 game series for all the marbles. Both teams have been mediocre lately, and I've no strong preference either way. What I really prefer is the Sox play the A's and Yankees play Minnesota (Santana twice in a 5 game series will be tough), but a good alternative will be Sox v. Twins and Yanks v. Angels. The Halos are always tough on the Pinstripes, so I'll be rooting for the Angels. With their Big 3 pitchers struggling, the A's don't have the offense to make a big impact in the postseason.