Blog Entry

3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

Posted on: September 11, 2011 10:10 pm
In the September without pennant races, something strange is developing.

Pennant races.

Real, live pennant races. The kind of races that get you excited, if your team is doing the chasing, or make you nervous, if your team is trying to hold on.

The kind of races that make you . . .

"Hell yeah, you've got to panic," David Ortiz told reporters Sunday, after his Red Sox were swept by the Rays to shrink their wild-card lead to just 3 1/2 games (with the Rays coming to Boston this week for four games).


They know the feeling in Texas, where the Rangers once led the Angels by seven games, but were just 1 1/2 games up as of Sunday morning (and back to 2 1/2 games as of Sunday night).

They're starting to feel it in Atlanta, where the Braves once led the wild card by nine games, then ended a bad week with just a 4 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals.

And yes, they know it in Boston, where they panicked at 0-6, and at 2-10. Yeah, they're going to panic, now that one more week like the last one would see them looking up at the Rays in the standings.

Eight days ago, the computers at said the Sox were 99.6 percent sure to make the playoffs. Now, after seven losses in eight games (including three straight to the Rays), those same (panicking) computers dropped it to 88.2 percent.

Frank Wren knows the feeling. The Braves general manager said he was watching those computer readings a year ago, watching them drop from 95.8 percent to 60.1 percent.

The Braves did make the playoffs, although their spot wasn't guaranteed until the Giants beat the Padres on the final day of the season, three hours after the Braves played their last scheduled game.

It made for a fantastic final weekend, even if it also made for a lot of nervous moments for Wren and for Braves fans.

For baseball's sake, the best thing that can happen now is that the Red Sox-Rays race goes to the final weekend, that the Rangers-Angels race comes down to the two teams' three-game series in Anaheim the final three days of the season, and maybe even that the Cardinals get close enough for the Braves to shout, "Panic!"

Too much to hope for?

Maybe so, but on Labor Day, even one pennant race seemed too much to hope for.

This was the September without pennant races . . . until it wasn't.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Since June 29, the Angels are 16-0 when they've started Jered Weaver or Dan Haren in a home game. That's nice, but it doesn't exactly help them this week, with neither Weaver nor Haren starting in a three-game series -- on the road -- in Oakland. The Angels begin a 10-game trip to Oakland, Baltimore and Toronto with Angels at A's, Monday night (10:05 ET) at the Coliseum, with Joel Pineiro on the mound. The last time the Angels were in Oakland, they lost three of four, allowing the Rangers to increase their AL West lead from 1 1/2 games to four games.

2. Should the Braves be worried that they have rookies starting all three games of the series that ends with Marlins at Braves, Wednesday afternoon (12:05 ET) at Turner Field? Not necessarily. The Braves have lost eight of their last 11, but all three wins in that stretch were started by rookies, including one by Randall Delgado, who starts Wednesday against the Marlins.

3. The Cardinals don't have any games remaining against the Braves (or against the Brewers, who they trail by six games in the NL Central). The Rangers and Angels don't meet until the final three games of the season, by which point we'll either have tons of drama or none of it. But the Rays are in Boston this week, for four games beginning with Rays at Red Sox, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Fenway Park. Unless Tampa Bay stumbles badly in three games before that in Baltimore (and even then, only if the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays at home), this weekend should be interesting. The Rays have Jeremy Hellickson, James Shields, Jeff Niemann and David Price set to go in the series. The Red Sox haven't even announced their starter for Thursday yet, and still don't know whether Josh Beckett will pitch in the series. One last thing to think about (for now) on Rays-Red Sox: If this race goes to the final six days of the season, the Yankees could have a big impact on it, with three games at home against the Sox followed by three at Tampa Bay. Imagine if the Red Sox need the Yankees to beat the Rays for them! Panic!

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 19, 2012 6:30 am

3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

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Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: September 13, 2011 7:28 pm

3 to Watch: The Let's panic! edition

Don't tell any one but the real key to this "Race" isn't the idea that tampa just closed to 3.5 with 4 to play against the sox. Doesn't matter. 

Boston is resting Youkilis and Beckett and anyone else they feel like resting (some are resting while playing - have you seen these guys allegedly run one out lately?).

Because Boston has 7 of their last 10 with the last place Baltimore Orioles.
 Are you kidding?????

So you truly believe that Francona & The Red Sox organization planned this out? Like hey ok, let's go 2-8 in our last 10, make people think were going to lose..then we will just win 7 straight against the Baltimore Oriols.. Great plan right there!!!

Baltimore is a team that is playing for nothing. They're just getting a look at the future, unless they needs to satisfy Buck Showalter's personal vendetta against the Yankees.
I don't truly believe any team just says, hey were getting paid..the hell with it, let's just lay down and let these guys win to get them in the playoffs, they sure would appreciate that. Teams love to play spoiler, they love to perform well against good teams, why? it makes them look good.Guys are fighting for jobs at this point... trying to perform well to be in the good graces of coaches and GMs not to mention fans, and last but not least to get PAID.Never count out anything, In sports there is no sure thing.

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