Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Major League Baseball’s Wild Card Wednesday

Posted on September 28, 2011 by Anderson Melvin

Jacoby Ellsbury and the Boston Red Sox have hit a lot of walls during their attempt to secure a 2011 playoff spot.

Popular alternative-rock band, Green Day, had a platinum hit single titled “Wake Me Up When September Ends” off of their American Idiot album in 2005. While the song may have debuted in June of 2005, it has become popular now more than ever. At least in the cities of Boston and Atlanta.

Sheer misery, agony, and torture wouldn’t even begin to describe the pain that the fans of these two historically reputable teams have had to endure over the past twenty-seven days. The month has been a, for lack of a better word, curse to the Red Sox and Braves, something Boston is far too familiar with and something Atlanta wants no part of. September has handed the Braves and Red Sox a combined 36 losses and taken near double-digit leads in both wild-card races away from each team.

On the other side of the equation, there’s the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals. With a lot of the talk coming from how poorly the Red Sox have played, much credit is due to Tampa Bay, who has gone 16-8 since being down 9 games to Boston on September 2. The Rays have baseball fanatics around the country wondering how they’ve managed to battle their way back into a tie with Boston for the wild-card. The answer is simple. They believe they can win it.

“There’s a real strong believability about what we’re trying to accomplish right now but when you get to this point, you really want to finish things off,” said manager Joe Maddon.

Rays players, fans, and coaches are all going to need to keep that belief up for one maybe even two more days if they want to make it to the postseason.

Though the Cardinals have dropped a few losses in the past week to some of the worst teams in the National League, they’ve still managed to grab a share of the wild-card lead with the slumping Braves. That coming after the Cardinals huge 13-6 come from behind win against the Astros on Tuesday.

“You can’t ask for more,” said manager Tony La Russa after the game. “Except to win the game.”

This is what baseball is all about. With just one game remaining in the season, both wild-card spots are up for grabs. Should the two teams in either league tie, there would be an extra “playoff” game played Thursday to determine the winners. With St. Louis having the better head-to-head record against Atlanta they would host the Braves. The same can be said for Tampa Bay who would host Boston.

Wednesdays Probables:
BOS @ BAL- Lester (15-9, 3.49 ERA) vs. Simon (4-9, 4.85 ERA)
NYY @ TB- TBD vs. Price (12-13, 3.35 ERA)

PHI @ ATL- Blanton (1-2, 5.03 ERA) vs. Hudson (16-10, 3.23 ERA)
STL @ HOU- Carpenter (10-9, 3.59 ERA) vs. Myers (7-13, 4.31ERA)

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