It has been my pleasure to do the Friday night finals this season. This Friday marks the last one for the 2015 season. I love baseball specifically and sports in general because you never know what is going to happen. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the second best record in baseball and will come within an eyelash of winning 100 games. All of that brilliance gets them a one way ticket to the wild card. The Cubs have the third best record in the sport at 95-65. That gets them third place in the NL Central.
Meanwhile, four teams in the American League are competing for two playoff spots and none of them will likely win 90 games. Go figure. Bud Selig tried to manufacture drama with the play in playoff game, but nothing is more dramatic than organic drama that just sort of happens. The Twins, Astros, Angels, and Rangers are all still hoping to have their fates decided. Three of the four teams will likely have to wait until Sunday.
If you read only one thing…..
Playing fantasy baseball is tough this time of year. Most leagues are having their championships this week and most teams are sitting their regulars. I play in a league that makes you earn the number one overall pick. I’m currently in a dog fight for the third overall pick. It’s hard when you have no idea of who is going to play or pitch. Rosters have been expanded and most veterans are planning their golfing trips at this point.
Just as we expected….
Mark Buerhle may not be a Hall of Fame pitcher, but he has been consistently good for almost fifteen years. As of this writing, he has 198 innings pitched, so there is a rumor that the Blue Jays may let him pitch two innings on Sunday to reach 200 innings for the 15th consecutive season of his career. Buerhle has never been a high strikeout guy, so he has often been a fantasy afterthought, but he’s won ten or more games fifteen years in a row. Not many pitchers in any age can say that.
Jake Arrieta finished his season with six scoreless innings on Friday night. He closed the ERA gap with Zack Greinke and with a 22-6 record. In his last eight starts, he’s gone 6-0 with 61 innings pitched and a microscopic ERA (0.30). I know every outing counts the same, but when you are that good in August and September it has to count for something.
But we didn’t see this coming….
You don’t get into third place in a division like the AL West without having some serious flaws, but here they are within striking distance of the second wild card spot. They defeated the Rangers in a close game on Friday night without their closer Huston Street. Half of their lineup makes you yawn too, but somehow they got it done. Their starting pitcher came in with a 4.76 ERA and managed to pitch six innings of one run ball. There is playing small in big games and playing big in big games. They played big.
The Rest of the Details
- Wade Davis (converted)
- David Robertson (converted)
- Joe Smith (converted)