Two Games Today Could Determine How Millions Spend Monday; NL Central and West Not Settled Yet

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Hi all. As of Friday I thought there was no way two play-in games on Monday could be necessary. Now, 48 hours later two division flags still aren’t decided, and while all teams in consideration will make the postseason the flag still means enough that a game 163 could be played in either division tomorrow under the right (or wrong) set of circumstances. As I said to my Facebook group last night, game 163 is great for paid and unpaid pundits but not so good for the pitchers involved.
Here’s how we got where we are now. The Cardinals beat the Cubs yesterday 2–1 while the Brewers won their game over Detroit 6–5. Had the Cubs won, their division would be settled with yet another flag flying over Wrigley Field. That’s not what happened. The Cardinals’ amazing find, Miles Mikolas went 8 with Carlos Martinez locking down the save. After a terrific 2018 where he became an All-Star, the native of Jupiter, Florida is a long way from the guy the Padres and Rangers gave up on who ended up playing in Japan. Meantime, in Milwaukee the Brewers got 2 long ones from Christian Yelich, his 35th and 36th of the year powering them to victory. Today, if both teams have the same outcome, (say if they both win or both lose) we’re no further forward than we are now and a game tomorrow will be needed in Chicago.
Out west, the Rockies who have charged to victory after victory finally stumbled, losing 12–2 to the Nationals. The Dodgers won their game, 10-6 in San Francisco leaving the 5-time defending NL West champion Dodgers in a dead heat with their foes from across the Great Divide. As in the Central, should both teams have the same outcome today, (say both Dodgers and Rox win or both lose) the home-run hitters from Coors Canaveral will head to Chavez Ravine to face the Dodgers tomorrow afternoon. The Rockies have never won an NL West and lost in last year’s wild card game to the D-Backs.
Some years ago, MLB came up with an idea that seems like a good one just now. All games today will start at the same time–3 PM Eastern. In that way, no players involved should have to wait through many interminable hours to find out their next step. Before the new rule, the Cubs might play at 1 PM Eastern, perhaps while the Brewers might be in a later game out west. Such unsightly delays won’t happen under the stricture the league came up with starting in 2015. Like a lot of rules it seems pointless-until it isn’t. The unlikely truth is, MLB got the idea from English Premier League soccer of all places. The EPL calls its final Sunday before postseason “Survival Sunday.” While MLB didn’t go that far, they copied EPL’s gambit of starting all games at the same hour, 3 PM Eastern.
One thing makes no sense to me. The Nationals aren’t starting Max Scherzer against the Rockies. It would make sense for the Nats to start the best available pitcher to make it more challenging for the Rockies to win, especially with their first ever division championship at stake. No reason, now matter how flimsy has been put forth to explain Scherzer giving the ball to a lesser pitcher. Nothing personal against Eridk Fedde but most pitchers have less ability than Scherzer. Meantime, the Dodgers are starting Rich Hill against the Giants’ Andrew Suarez. This would have been Walker Buehler’s turn but the Dodgers are giving him a day off-with permission I might add. We can guess who they would go with tomorrow if a game 163 were needed, the lefty I have so often called the best pitcher on the planet. They want Buehler on Tuesday if it comes to that.

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