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As another baseball postseason without the Blue Jays approaches, let's take a break from the axe grinding world of our team and think about some of the other squadrons around the league.

Mainly, which team (or teams) on the cusp of the playoffs are you pulling for down the stretch?

The parity in all six divisions this season has been really quite interesting. Each current division leader has at least 80 wins, any wild card team has no fewer than 77, and the team with the worst record leading a division (Texas for now) would still be within five games of the best team (Atlanta). There were many concerns before last season that expanding the postseason to include ten teams would dilute the quality of playoff baseball and that may still be so (I for one do not like the idea of a third place team winning the World Series) but so far it has really invigorated the division races in September.
Such as in the National League Central, where my Reds (I'm sure you're all sick of me gushing about them by now) are in a pinball china-shop fight with the Pirates and Cardinals to take the division and thus avoid a one game wildcard playoff. I'll admit, despite my allegiance to Cincinnati, the Pirates being good again is too fantastic a story to cheer against. The American League West is shaping up as another close race between Texas and Oakland, while the wild card in the junior circuit has the loser of the West fighting against the Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Indians and Royals who are all within striking distance.

So let's hear it. Who are you rooting for? 

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Mike Green - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#278805) #
Pirates, of course, in the NL.  Objectively, I don't think that their chances are that great.

Rays and A's in the AL. 

Chuck - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#278807) #
Rays and A's as well. No one specifically in the NL.
jerjapan - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#278812) #
Awesome question ... but how can you guys cheer for an  AL east team?  I just can't do it.

Pittsburgh is a great underdog story.  Oakland in the AL, KC or Cleveland if they can sneak into the wildcard, although I doubt it.

krose - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#278814) #
Small market teams for me too. Although watching well played, competitive ball games is a pleasure after watching our Jays all season. Enjoying the Yanks and Sox these days. Yikes! Did I really say that out loud?
greenfrog - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#278816) #
Intellectually, I know I should be rooting for the Rays and A's, as they have all the right credentials, and even the Red Sox, whom Cherington has firmly guided back on track.

I have a soft spot for the O's, though. They're a plucky team that has managed to hang around the race. Duquette has made some underrated moves to lift the team into a contender and keep them there. I think Showalter is a good manager, too.
CeeBee - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#278817) #
St. Louis in the NL and Oakland in the AL.... and jeepers I hope the AL East suck in the playoffs
John Northey - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#278820) #
The races are interesting....
Within 3 games (one series sweep) of making playoffs: Baltimore, Yankees, Cleveland
Within 5 games: KC

The NL races are all but done with the exception of who is the wild card vs division leader as no one is closer than 8 games from a playoff slot.  Under the old rules the NL Central would be a death match with 2 teams going to the playoffs out of Pittsburgh/St Louis/Cincinnati. Instead the 3 are fighting to avoid having a one game playoff with one of the others.  The AL under old rules would be a 3 game lead for Texas on the final slot but with a much easier road than Tampa has.

Of course, under the _really_ old rules (one team per league) you'd have Boston up by 3 over Detroit, 4 on Oakland and Atlanta up by 2 on the Dodgers and 4 on Pittsburgh.  Both good pennant races.  The old two division is tough to do as teams have been added since 1993 and teams moved from league to league so who knows what shape the divisions  would be in.  Odds are Boston/Detroit would be a battle (3 game lead for Boston) and Oakland/Texas a death match (1/2 game spread).  The NL would probably be St Louis & Pittsburgh having a real battle while Atlanta fights it out with a 2 game lead on the Dodgers.

So, who do I cheer on?  I've been a fan of Texas, Oakland and Tampa in past post seasons, Cincinnati is the only NL one I have any rooting for in the past.  So probably Oakland #1, Tampa #2 and Cincinnati #3 followed by Texas.  Openly against Boston and Atlanta so they'll probably meet in the WS.

Eephus - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#278824) #
Cincinnati wins another exciting game against the Dodgers this afternoon in the 10th inning, insuring that they gain ground on either the Pirates or the Cardinals who play each other tonight. Billy Hamilton (yikes is he fast) scored the winning run. He now has 4 stolen bases in 4 games without yet recording one major league plate appearance.

All three of those NL Central teams really are succeeding despite significant injuries to their pitching staffs. The Cardinals have gotten only 55 innings this season from Jaime Garcia and 0 from Chris Carpenter and closer Jason Motte. St. Louis just seems to ooze young pitching these days so guys like Joe Kelly (8-3, 2.74, 101.2 IP), Shelby Miller (12-9, 3.19), relievers Trevor Rosenthal (92 ks in 65.1 IP) and Kevin Siegrist (0.56 ERA, 10 H *!* in 32 IP) have gotten an opportunity and really stepped up. The Reds have gotten only 9 starts out of 19 game winner Johnny Cueto but Tony Cingrani (7-3, 2.80) and Mike Leake (12-6, 3.46) have stepped in to fill that void. The Pirates have gotten only 62 innings from Wandy Rodriguez and 29 blech innings from James McDonald, but that's been countered by the additions of Jeff Locke (9-4, 3.22), Francisco Liriano (15-7, 2.98) and rookie Gerrit Cole. (6-7, 3.94)

Needless to say, if the Blue Jays had found an effective young starter or two to step in like these three teams have, this might have been a different season.
Chuck - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#278828) #
He now has 4 stolen bases in 4 games without yet recording one major league plate appearance.

Shades of Herb Washington.

92-93 - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#278832) #
I'll admit I'm rooting for the Yankees to make the playoffs. It's just more interesting having them around.
Mick Doherty - Saturday, September 07 2013 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#278833) #
Well ... no surprise to anyone here, I'm sure, but I have a bit of a leaning toward your Texas Rangers. I don't live there any more, but am still attracted to their brand new pitching-first teach chemistry.

Okay, that's the last I will speak of the Rangers here.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 12:08 AM EDT (#278844) #
Probably the Dodgers, though even that doesn't have the appeal to me that it used to. But everyone else is just ughhh.
christaylor - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#278864) #
I'm rooting for anyone who can beat the Red Sox. They're the worst .600 team I've ever watched... has Cherrington found a new market inefficiency in assembling an almost limitless supply of average to slightly-above average players?
Chuck - Sunday, September 08 2013 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#278865) #
I'm also unconvinced by the Red Sox. A lot of things have gone right... righter than seems fair.

* Victorino has a career year at age 32.
* Napoli is a steal at 5MM (though not the 3/39 he originally signed for).
* Ellsbury has a superb bounceback season.
* David Ortiz defies age for yet another year.
* Bench guys like Nava, Gomes, Carp and Iglesias (now gone) all kick ass.
* Lackey is not just serviceable. He morphs back into Angel Lackey.
* Uehara decides to channel Craig Kimbrel.

Hard to believe that anything has gone wrong for the team, but you've got:
* Dempster's poor season
* Buchholz's injury (after pitching ridiculously well)
* injuries to Hanrahan and Bailey

Maybe I'm wrong about them, I don't know. But they don't seem like a team that can repeat this performance.
Magpie - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#278883) #
Got to be impressed by the Braves posting the best record in their league with two regulars who can't crack the Mendoza Line (Uggla and Upton.) Did anyone notice that briefly-a-Blue Jay David Carpenter (thrown in to the Farrell trade, claimed on waivers by Atlanta) has had a better season than any of Toronto's relievers?
Mike Green - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#278890) #
WAR has Andrelton Simmons as the Braves' MVP, and it uses a fairly conservative estimate of his defensive value.  Having Simmons around probably allowed the Braves to take advantage of Chris Johnson. 

John Northey - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#278891) #
I like how Billy Hamilton is now 4th on the Reds in SB after being used as a pinch runner 4 times.  One more and he could be tied for 2nd on the team.  He'd have to be used almost every game though to reach the leader on the Reds who has 17 (Shin-Soo Chin) but for 'net steals' (SB-CS) he just has to reach 6.  The rest of the Reds are 43-32 in SB-CS.

David Carpenter is having a good year but not better than anyone here.  2.06 ERA 0.8 HR/9 3.2 BB/9 10.2 K/9 is nice though for a guy the Jays dumped and the Red Sox let leave on waivers.  Btw, wouldn't Aviles look nice at 2B right now here with his 93 OPS+ - how sad that that would be a drastic improvement.  I wonder if Aviles and Yan Gomes (142 OPS+ in 248 PA, at catcher for 67 of his 70 games) would've been better to keep than Esmil Rogers.Both played well at positions we have black holes at, but the rotation also has had multiple black holes.  0.7 WAR for Carpenter, 3.2 for Gomes vs Izturis -0.8 and 0.4 for JPA = spread of 3.9 vs -0.4 = 4.3 more wins.  Yeah, never that simple in real life and not enough to change the end results.  Rogers is at 0.9 for WAR but replacements might have been -3 WAR given what we've seen.
jerjapan - Monday, September 09 2013 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#278902) #
Did anyone notice that briefly-a-Blue Jay David Carpenter (thrown in to the Farrell trade, claimed on waivers by Atlanta) has had a better season than any of Toronto's relievers?

Sure did.  And Danny Farquhar looks to be emerging as a high end closer for Seattle.  Even human rain delay Jason Frasor is having a dominant year for Texas. 
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