I’m looking forward to this last week of the season and what goes down. The NL West and NL Wild Card races might go down to the last weekend the way it looks.
Even with an off-night last night, the Dodgers can still rebound this week. Arizona did a great job putting balls in play and working Brad Penny’s pitch count to 107 in five innings. Miguel Batista did a tremendous job of bouncing back after allowing the first three Dodgers to reach base and score Saturday night. The Dodgers need to get their starters to go deeper into games this week. Lowe has been solid but Maddux, Billingsley and Penny need to step up this week and give them six-plus.
San Diego’s pitching has been doing it all season with the National League’s best team ERA (3.89). However, the offense has been coming on strong. I wasn’t too wild about San Diego’s offense at the beginning of the season espeically in the heart of the lineup. However, Josh Barfield and Mike Cameron have stepped up big lately. Barfield’s home run broke a 1-1 tie Saturday night in the Padres 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday. Barfield has a five-game hitting streak. Adrian Gonzalez has anchored the middle of the lineup quite well. Jake Peavy struck out 11 and scattered six in eight strong innings of work against the Pirates. The Pads rotation of Peavy, Williams, Young, Wells and Clay Hensley, who has posted three straight quality starts, will be tough in the season’s final week.
The Padres go on the road to St Louis and Arizona to end the season. The Dodgers head to Colorado and San Francisco. On the road, San Diego is 40-34 while the Dodgers are 33-42.
I want to watch the Phillies game today. Jamie Moyer has been a solid pickup going 3-2 and going at least six innings in each of his six starts. Still, the Phillies come into Sunday’s game winning seven of their last eight games possessing a momentum not seen in their recent wild card runs in the past. Could unloading Abreu and Lidle been the blessing in disguise? Or David Bell for that matter? They’re 35-19 since Bell was traded to Milwaukee on July 28. Jon Lieber bounced back from a horrible outing against the Cubs with a seven strong innings in a win over Florida Saturday. The Phils finish on the road at Washington, which no doubt will draw a fair share of Phillies fans, and Florida. Philly is 41-34 away from Citizens Bank Park.
Oakland really should clinch today at home against the Angels. Considering the Angels history of catching the A’s, Oakland needs to win today. The A’s go to Seattle then finish with a four-game set in Anaheim. The last thing the A’s need to have that series mean something! I just hope Huston Street doesn’t get overused in the last week. He had a span last week of four straight appearances, including three save situations. Street came off the DL earlier this month. Justin Duchscherer showed he was more than capable of getting the occasional save. I really don’t like Street going 3 days in a row much less 4.
Detroit and Minnesota could be playoff-bound by early this week; however, which team will end up with the AL Central and the AL Wild Card might not be resolved until the weekend. Kenny Rogers’ performance against the White Sox was the reason the Tigers got him in the first place.
It’s funny, I could care less about the NFL right now with the last week of baseball and the upcoming playoffs. What stinks is I won’t be watching the last 2 days of the baseball regular season as I have a wedding in Kansas to attend next weekend. Ouch!