Walk Off and the Rest of Baseball

With the loss in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, it secured the Mets’ 20th season in franchise history of 90 losses or more.  That’s 20 times in 56 seasons.  Contrast that with the number of times the Mets have won 90 or more.  That would be 10, the last being 2015 when the Mets won the National League pennant, two years ago yesterday.

The only thing left for the Mets to fight for this year is a draft pick for next season.  Of course that would require us to root for the Mets to lose.  As much as that might make some sense, who wasn’t thrilled as a Mets fan to see them actually pull off a walk-off win last night?

It was especially gratifying for Travis Taijeron, a twenty-eight year old minor leaguer who finally got his shot in the bigs.  His drive over the head of Braves’ left fielder Jace Peterson scored Juan Lagares from second for the Mets’ 68th win of the season.  For a rare occasion this season, Mets fans had something to cheer about.

Around the leagues…

With the introduction of the second wild card, more games have significance than ever before during the last week of the season.  Here’s a breakdown of tonight’s games and what their significance is.

Braves vs. Mets – Meaningless game, draft pick for both clubs on the line

Orioles vs. Pirates – Meaningless game, draft pick for both clubs on the line

Rays vs. Yankees – The Yanks have secured home field in the AL wildcard game with last night’s win over the Rays.  Also the Yankees still have a slim shot at the division but it would require Boston to falter down the stretch.  Don’t look now but the Yanks deficit has gone from 5 games to 3 in two days.  Boston has lost two in a row to Toronto.  They finish up with four against Houston while the Yanks close the regular season against Toronto.  Draft pick for Rays

Nationals vs. Phillies – Meaningless game in that last night’s loss by the Nats to the Phils combined with LA’s win guarantee the Nats to be the second seed in the National League.  DC will likely meet the Cubs in the first round but the Cubs have not clinched yet.  Draft pick for Phillies

Twins vs. Indians – The Twins need one more win to secure a meeting with the Yankees next Tuesday in the Bronx in the AL Wildcard game.  The Indians want home field advantage and have a one game lead over Houston who has gotten hot again.

Blue Jays vs. Red Sox – With a magic number of 3, Sox want another division crown but they have struggled against the Blues Jays this week.  They have four with Houston starting Thursday, ending the season at Fenway.  Draft pick for Jays

Reds vs. Brewers – The Brewers are hanging by a thread for the NL Central division title.  One loss or a Cubs win then it’s the second wild card or nothing.  The Brew-Crew trail the WC by 1.5 games.  Draft pick for Reds.

Astros vs. Rangers – Home field advantage for Astros, draft pick for Rangers

Angels vs. White Sox – Meaningless game, draft pick for both

Cubs vs. Cardinals – Cubs need a win to clinch their second division title in a row.  Cardinals are 2.5 out of wildcard, already eliminated from the division.

Tigers vs. Royals – Meaningless game, draft pick for both

Marlins vs. Rockies – Rox are trying to cling to the second wildcard lead. They have a magic number of 4. Draft pick for the Fish.

Giants vs. Diamondbacks – Meaningless game, Dbacks have clinched number one wildcard already.  The Dbacks will host NL wildcard game next Wednesday in Phoenix.  Draft pick for Giants.

Mariners at Athletics – Meaningless game, draft pick for both

Padres at Dodgers – Meaningless game, home field advantage has been clinched by LA with last night’s win.  Draft pick for Pads.

So with a half week left of the regular season, half of the games still have some relevance for the post season.  Years ago, prior to wildcard play, divisions were often settled by now making the rest of the regular season irrelevant.  The two wildcards add a lot of drama to the end of the season. Home field advantage also makes for interest as well.  And thankfully the powers that be came to their senses and finally ditched that stupid All Star game rule for World Series home field advantage.  Starting this season, the best overall team will get home field advantage in the Series.  So in a sense, even though the Indians and the Dodgers are not competing on the field yet, they are fighting it out for MLB’s best record.  If the top two teams in each league falter, the World Series home field advantage falls to the best teams left in play.  This is smart because it makes all teams play hard right through game 162.  Finally baseball got this right.

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