Going, Going, Gone: Craig Biggio Winds Down, the Playoff Chase Speeds Up

The Astros won last night, beating Cincinnati 4-3. That was the third straight win for the Astros and the sixth win in their last eight games. Leave it to the Astros to wait until the last week of the season to figure out how to win. I guess Cecil Cooper’s really serious about keeping this job for next season.

Dave Borkowski – yep, he’s still on the team – got the win, and though he gave up a run in the ninth, everyone’s favorite, Brad Lidge, held on for save number 18. The Astros scored two runs in their half of the ninth to take the lead.

Oh, speaking of still being on the team, Cecil Cooper found out that Mike Lamb was still on the team and started him last night. This may be our last week to ever see Craig Biggio in the Astros uniform, but it’s also probably going to be the last week to see Mike Lamb in one.

Oh, and here’s an interesting little stat from yesterday’s game. According to Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies, this game was the only one played in the National League yesterday that had no significance to the NL playoff chase.

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Makes you proud to be an Astro fan, huh?

But screw the Astros. Here’s an update on the pennant races.

The Mets are on the verge of history, about to become the only team in major league history to blow a seven-game lead with 17 games left in the season. Last night, the Mets lost to the Cardinals. On top of that loss, the Phillies defeated the Braves 6-4. The loss eliminated the Braves from the playoffs. But the win moved the Phillies into a tie with the Mets for first in the NL East.

But wait, the fun’s not done. The Red Sox lost night, while the Yankees won, moving the Yankees to within two games of first place in the AL East with three games left. The Yankees are in the playoffs, no matter what, but if they win the division they’ll probably have home field throughout the playoffs.

In the NL Central, the Cubs, staying true to their history, lost yesterday. A win would’ve almost certainly put the NL Central out of reach of the Brewers, but the Cubs just couldn’t do it. However, the Brewers, with the Cubbies losing, also lost. So, the magic number for the Cubs is now two. And if the Padres continue to beat up on the Brewers, then the Cubs won’t have to win another game in the regular season to advance.

The Brewers lost to the Padres, so the Padres continue to lead the NL Wild Card race by one over the Mets, Phillies, and Rockies. The Padres meanwhile continue to trail the D-Backs by one game in the NL West, with the Rockies two games out. The real fun this weekend will probably be in Denver. The D-Backs, with a two-game lead on the Rockies will be finishing the season in Denver with a three-game series against the Rockies. And the Rockies just happen to be the hottest team in baseball. Last night’s victory over the Dodgers was the 11th in a row for Colorado, and the 18th win out of 25 games this month. A sweep by the Rockies probably knocks Arizona out of the playoffs, but it still won’t guarantee the Rockies a shot in the playoffs. That’s going to depend on how the Padres do in Milwaukee and how the Mets and Phillies do to finish their seasons.

It’s getting better and better, and with only three games left, there’s still no clue as to who’s going to advance to the NL playoffs. And if you want some real fun, check this out: it’s possible the Mets, Phillies, Rockies, Padres, and D-Backs could all end with the same record which would result in a complicated set of scenarios that could keep the actual NL playoffs from getting a start until possibly next Friday.

I wonder how FOX will feel about a November World Series?

Oh, by the way, in case you haven’t heard, Craig Biggio is retiring, so this weekend will be your last chance to see him at MMP. Until Drayton drags him out for a few events next season in order to boost attendance. – John Royal

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