Like a kid playing his older brother or father in basketball, the Phillies allowed the Braves to get a taste of victory… for almost five months… before playing for realsies. This kept the Braves within slight reach of the division title as they built up a double-digit Wild Card lead.
Then September happened.
This stat is courtesy of Atlanta radio host John Kincade: Since 2009, the Braves are 3-14 against the Phillies in the final two series of the season. Three. And 14.
The Braves now find themselves tied in the Wild Card standings with Tony La Russa and his Cardinals.
The playoff scenarios play out thusly (if-then statements ftw):
If the Braves lose and the Cardinals win, then the Phillies would play the Cardinals.
If the Braves win and the Cardinals lose, the Braves will make the playoffs. Since they’re in the same division as the Phillies and can’t play them in the divisional series, the Phillies would play either Diamondbacks or the Brewers, with the Braves playing the other team. So how is the matchup determined, you ask? The Phillies would play the team with the worse record. Currently, the Brewers have 95 wins and the Diamondbacks have 94 wins. If the Brewers win today and or the Diamondbacks lose, the Phillies would play the Diamondbacks. But if the Diamondbacks win and the Brewers lose, there would be a tiebreaker to see which team gets the higher seed and avoids the Phillies. Since the Diamondbacks are 4-3 against the Brewers, they would hold the tiebreaker and become the higher seed, meaning the Phillies would play the Brewers.
If the Braves and Cardinals both win or lose, the two teams will play in a one-game playoff on Thursday, with the above scenarios applying to the winner.
Get all that?
Judging by most discussion, the team you would like to play is the Brewers. That means, today, we should root for a Brewers loss, Diamondbacks win, Cardinals loss, and, sadly, Braves win (or Braves loss, forcing them to play and beat the Cardinals tomorrow).
My head hurts. So does Chipper’s: [Phillies.com]
"It's like we're living out a bad dream," third baseman Chipper Jones said. "You really never expect this to happen to you, but there are a lot of things that are contributing to it."
If the Braves wouldn’t have choked away a 10-game Wild Card lead, none of this would matter and today would be a nice relaxing day for fans… and schedule makers.
As it stands now, only two times have been announced for the playoffs: The Yankees will play (not surprisngly in prime time) at 8:37 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Friday, with the other game coming at 5:07. No NL start times have been announced yet, but I’m guessing that since all four series will play on Saturday, the Phillies would get the late afternoon start time (roughly 4 or 5). Just a guess, though.
Charlie Manuel is tied with Gene Mauch for most wins in Phillies history, but he doesn’t like second place: [Phillies.com]
"Personal satisfaction?" Manuel said of tying Mauch. "I don't know. I'll get more out of it probably when I beat him. Second place is never good."
Yeah, Charlie, but you're tied for first.
"That's like being second," he said. "I want sole possession."
JewishExponent.com wrote an article about Michael Schwimmmmmer, who won't be on the playoff roster:
Still, even more distinctive than his backpack is his wild hair, of which he said: "I take pride in my Jewfro. "
Schwimer considers icons like Koufax and Hank Greenberg to be trailblazers for Jewish baseball players. "I'm a huge fan of what they brought to the table baseball-wise and what they stood for," he said. "I really, really look up to those people."
During his brief stint here, he even found himself a magnet for local Jewish fans.
"Every day, there are kids saying, 'Hey, I'm Jewish, too,' and that makes me really happy. When people come up to me to tell me that, it really means a lot. This kid wishes he could be where I am, so it's humbling and it's really great."
Jimmy Rollins wants a five-year deal.
Jayson Werth shaved lines into his sideburns (via @mikebiff):
Finally, Shane Victorino is – confirmed – on Twitter:
Aloha, Shane. Aloha, playoffs. Alohaha, Braves.
Thanks to (@markmcgeever1) for the Chipper link