Saturday, January 9, 2010

Philadelphia, Jackson streaking toward playoff berths?

The two hottest teams in the league have launched themselves from the periphery of the playoff race to the middle.

Philadelphia Phantoms

Last week, Philadelphia was a 68-76 team only being kept alive by a .500 Fargo team (72-72). Since then, the Phantoms have won 8 straight games to move to .500 and to first place, as Fargo is in the midst of a debilitating 9 game losing streak. The key was a 3 game sweep of the Dirtbags at home, in which they held the Fargo offense to 6 runs. Now that they have no more games together, Fargo is going to have to turn it back around quickly and hope that Philadelphia falters. If that doesn't happen, the Philadelphia franchise would win its first division title and make only its 2nd playoff appearance.

Jackson Vipers

Like Philadelphia, Jackson has waited until now to play its best ball of the season. Unlike Philly, they have no shot at a division title, as Monterrey has clinched that honor. However, Jackson has won 11 of their last 13 to climb within reach of a wild-card berth. They currently sit 3 back of Boise for the last wild-card spot, and they're one game behind Boston- they've already passed Oklahoma City in the division and the wild-card race. This could be a product of the schedule- they've won 9 of those 11 against teams well below .500 (New York, Buffalo, Milwaukee). But beware the Vipers, as the remaining schedule would seem to favor them (closing with Scranton, Charlotte, and OKC, all under .500).