Saturday, March 29, 2008

With one series to go...

Only 3 games left in the regular season, and what a season it has been! Those of us who have followed the league have suspected that some of the races would come down to the last series of the season; we just didn't know that this many of them would. Here's where we are...


Division Leaders

Monterrey Sultans (103-56): Clinched AL South Last 3: @ Durham
Louisville Legends (103-56): Clinched AL East Last 3: @ Baltimore
Milwaukee Manic Maulers(102-57): Clinched AL North Last 3: @ Cleveland
Las Vegas Gamblers (102-57): Clinched AL West Last 3: vs. Vancouver

Skinny: The race here isn't for division titles; it's for seeding. Going into the last series one game separates the 1st seed from the 4th seed. So in other words, 1 game separates home field through the AL playoffs and a 1st round bye from a (likely) 1st round series against a quality Nashville squad. Judging from the schedule, Milwaukee would seem to have the toughest task (Cleveland is 89-70, the front-runner for the last wild card spot, and on a 5-game winning streak), while Louisville draws what would seem to be a favorable matchup in Baltimore. By the way, a Legends sweep would give them an 18-game winning streak to finish the season. Magic numbers aren't too helpful here and it's quite possible that the tiebreaker system comes into effect at some point.

Wild Card

Nashville Sounds (92-67) Clinched playoff spot, magic number for #5 seed is 1. Last 3: vs. Texas
Cleveland Skidmarks (89-70) Magic number for playoff spot is 2 Last 3: @ Milwaukee
New York New York (87-72) Last 3: @ Huntington

Skinny: Nashville appears to be headed for the #5 spot. Cleveland has the inside track for the last spot, but they have to play a Milwaukee team that still has motivation to play their starters; taking 2 out of 3 might be a tall order. In that event, the focus switches to the NY-Huntington series. It looked like both teams were going to still be in it, but Huntington faltered a little down the stretch and are now out. However, they've won 85 games so they should not be overlooked. They might want to play spoiler to their division rivals. NY is going to have to take care of Huntington and get some help.


Division Leaders

Trenton (99-60): Clinched NL East, clinched #1 seed Last 3: vs. Atlanta
Montreal (95-64): Clinched NL North, clinched #2 seed Last 3: @Chicago
Houston Oilers (91-68): Clinched playoff spot, magic number for NL South title is 1. Last 3: @ New Orleans
Salem Sacrifices (90-69): Clinched NL South Last 3: @Arizona

Skinny: Things are a little more settled here in the NL. Trenton and Montreal have absolutely nothing to play for at this point, and their series are against teams that are out of contention. Houston's magic number for the division may be 1, but they're going to have to apply the knockout blow themselves, as they play the team chasing them. As for Salem, they play a tough Arizona team that may have been through too much this year to play spoiler. Could be the start of a great rivalry, however.

Wild Card

Cincinnati Dragons (88-71) Magic number for playoff spot is 2 Last 3: vs. Fargo
New Orleans Voodoo (88-71) Magic number for playoff spot is 2 Last 3: vs. Houston
Fargo Dirtbags (86-73) Last 3: @Cincinnati
Norfolk Destroyers (86-73) Last 3: vs. Philadelphia
Arizona Diamondbacks (85-74) Last 3: vs. Salem

Skinny: Here's where it gets messy. Cincinnati against Fargo is likely an elimnation series, as it's unlikely (although theoretically possible) that both will make the playoffs. New Orleans is in an odd position, as they could land anywhere from division champions to out of the playoffs. They have to win at least 1 of those games to feel good about their wild-card chances. Norfolk has put themselves in a bit of a hole after losing 11 of their last 15; they may need to sweep the Blue Jays to get in and even that might not be enough. On paper they have the talent to pull the sweep, but can they turn it around? Arizona is basically on life support- they absolutely must sweep Salem to have any chance whatsoever. Even if they can somehow pull that off, they still need help and would have to win a tiebreaker for the 6th seed- they cannot win the 5th spot.

No comments: