A Real Wildcard


With the MLB regular season complete, it’s time to make some predictions and reflect on what might have or should have been.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs are disproving the notion that a second wildcard would merely dilute the playoff picture. With 98 and 97 wins respectively, it would have been a crime if either of these teams didn’t qualify. And for the Cubs, how about finishing in 3rd place with 97 wins??

The Cubs will lean on ace Jake Arrieta who has been the best pitcher in baseball since the All-Star break as they travel to Pittsburgh. The Pirates will send Gerrit Cole to the hill and he has had an outstanding season of his own. The Cubs haven’t been in the playoffs since 2008 when they were swept for the second straight year. They haven’t won World Series in 107 years or the last time the Detroit Lions won road game against a good team, but I digress.

Meanwhile in the A.L., Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel takes his 20-8 record and 2.48 ERA into Yankees Stadium to take on the Alex Rodriguez-led Yankees and ace pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Unfortunately for the Astros, their loss on the final day of the season to Arizona cost them a home game and Keuchel is 15-0 at home, but 5-8 on the road. He pitched 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees this season.

I predict the Astros beat the Yankees 4-3 and the Cubs beat the Pirates 3-2.

By the way, where would the Yankees be this year without ARod?

As for the Red Sox, all the failure has centered around the underachieving Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Yes they were a big part of the problem, but the pitching staff from top to bottom was an abject failure and not resigning Jon Lester and Andrew Miller in favor of Koji Uehara and Rick Porcello will haunt them for a long time.

Speaking of Porcello, he was traded by Dave Dombrowski once and if he can get the right return, I believe Dombrowski will do it again.

David Price is the ideal free agent target, but Dombrowski didnt exactly get the most out of Price the last time.

Kudos to the Sox for getting swept in the final weekend as they moved up three spots in the draft passing division rivals Tampa Bay and Baltimore among them. There is no trophy for third.

The Washington Nationals fired their coaching staff today and it wasn’t a moment too soon. How do you finish seven games out of your division and 14 games out of a wildcard when Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman anchor your pitching staff?

Seven major league teams finished 20 or more games under .500.

So Miami finally pulled the trigger and axed Joe Philbin after going 24-28 in four seasons with 0 playoff appearances. Rex Ryan could have at least done that.

Speaking of Ryan, what an absolutely ugly effort by the Bills getting blown out at home by the Giants! Looks like QB isn’t the Bills problem and a once again injured LeSean McCoy and underachieving Sammy Watkins are the problems. Wonder if the Giants knew all the play calls for Buffalo? The win against Indy Week 1 is looking less and less impressive each week for the mighty Bills. But at least they have discipline.

If you are Matt Schaub are you starting to get a complex? In 2013, your Texans went 2-14, in 2014 your Raiders went 3-13 and so far in 2015 your Ravens are barely 1-3. Can you say bad luck charm? But he does compete with Cutler for droopiest face.

Bill Belichick has already begun the spin in preparation for the Cowboys. The first thing he could think of was to compliment the Cowboys kicking game. Then he went on to talk about their defense which has proceeded to allow 65 points the last two weeks capped off by their explosive weapons who are named Joseph Randle, Terence Williams and Cole Beasley. Yes Greg Hardy is returning (assuming he doesn’t assault someone in the pregame) but Jerry Jones will regret the day he didn’t take the side of Robert Kraft in Deflategate. New England 50-17.

Speaking of Jones, in a recent interview, he claimed he made his Superbowl appearances count in reference to the Patriots losing some of their Superbowl appearances. Yes Jerry, since 1992 Dallas is 3-0 in the big game while New England is 4-3 in the big game. So you have four less appearances and one less victory. Since 1996, the Cowboys are 3-8 with 0 championship game or Superbowl appearances while the Patriots playoff record is 24-11 and well you know the rest.

Lastly, it appears that the top QB comparison between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning is no longer because Manning can barely throw a 10 yard pass anymore and because Brady’s playoff stats are mind-bogglingly superior to Manning. Now everyone wants to compare Aaron Rodgers with Brady and say Rodgers is better so I thought I would enlighten our readers with some important information.

Going into this season, Rodgers has played seven full seasons and has a 73-38-1 regular season record with a 6-5 playoff record and one Superbowl victory. In Brady’s first seven seasons, he had an 86-26 regular season record, a 14-3 playoff record, an undefeated season, four Superbowl appearances, three Superbowl championships. Case dismissed.

The NHL starts tomorrow night and the NBA is around the corner. Looking forward to the incessant LeBron James talk on ESPN. Until next time…