Back on June 13, I told you about the vulnerability of teams playing in their immediate game after visiting the Colorado Rockies.
As the season ends this week, I’m happy to report that system turned out to be profitable. Fading a team in its first game after a series at Coors Field produced a 17-10 mark.
Well, just when you thought you’d have to wait until next season to play this system, we have the National League Wild Card playoff.
Enter the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers opened their three-game series at Cincinnati on Tuesday riding win streaks of four straight and 8 of 10. They trailed the N.L. Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals by 3.5 games but led the N.L. wild-card race by half-game over the Washington Nationals.
Barring a major collapse, the Brewers will likely be in next week’s playoff against the Nationals, who held a 3.5-game lead over the fading Chicago Cubs.
And here’s where the problem comes in. Milwaukee closes its campaign in Denver, with a three-game set against the Rockies this weekend. And while the Brewers are in Cincinnati and Denver to close the campaign, the Nationals are at home against Philadelphia and Cleveland.
Can you imagine if the Brewers have to leave Denver, and travel to D.C. for a Tuesday playoff? Even if they return home to host the Wild Card game, they’re still going to face a hard-hitting Washington team that has been home all week, resting and recovering from games in their own homes.
The Nationals have been hitting the ball well this month, ranking eighth in September with their .257 batting average (as of Tuesday), while scoring a league ninth-best 106 runs.
If the Nats have to travel to Milwaukee, keep in mind they’ve been one of the highest scoring road teams this season, with 420 runs. They’ve also hit .256 while ordering room service in 2019.
Best case scenario for the Brewers is they close out the regular season in dominating fashion and the Cardinals tank in Arizona and at home against the Cubs. It’s unlikely, but a possibility.
Nonetheless, if the Brewers meet the Nationals in next Tuesday’s Wild Card game, I highly suggest you take a look at Washington given the season-ending schedule, and the intangible that come with it.
Another 2-0 sweep in baseball last week, let’s look at two more games:
Athletics at Mariners: I believe the Athletics are the most dangerous potential Wild Card entry. Heading into Tuesday night’s game in Anaheim, the A’s had the sixth-best record in baseball and ranked No. 1 this month with 130 runs scored. They’ve had winning records every month since May and rode a 47-23 win streak into their lid-lifter with the Angels.
They’ll open their series against division-rival Seattle and its longtime ace Felix Hernandez with a momentous win. Yes, Hernandez is making his final start after 15 seasons in Seattle before hitting free agency, but the veteran righty hasn’t won since his first start of the year. He is 1-7 with a 6.51 ERA and is 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA in six outings since returning from the injured list. ATHLETICS
Marlins at Mets: The Mets entered the week with a long shot chance of sneaking into the Wild Card race. By Thursday, those hopes may have disappeared.
Regardless of their status, they are not about to let down against the abysmal Marlins, who have the third-worst record in the league. Mets starter Zack Wheeler is in after allowing just one earned run through seven innings in a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds last Saturday. He’ll look to avenge that setback and couldn’t ask for a better opponent to do so, as he’s had plenty of success during his career against the Fish, going 7-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 13 starts. METS
Last week: 2-0