The Rockies lose 2 of 3 to the Giants and finish 40-41 at home on the year. Not bad considering their talent level. They'll play out the string in Atlanta and New York this week needing a bit of a run -- four of seven -- to avoid matching the franchise-worst 67-95 mark of '93. Thirteen years of Denver baseball and we're barely a win better than we were as an expansion team. Meanwhile, the Marlins bought a World Series, completely disassembled, and came back and won another World Series. The D-Backs have three division titles and one world championship. At least Tampa Bay is still awful. And if you want to go back a few expansions, the Padres and Astros haven't done too much in their existence thus far. Of course both of those teams will probably be in the playoffs this year, and had all of those Hall of Famers, but do they have solid purple alternate jerseys? No.
The A's couldn't take care of business against Minnesota and Texas so the series they begin with Anaheim tonight is practically meaningless. Instead, the big story of the final week will (again) be Boston and New York. Boy, I'm sick of these pricey, flawed teams. Since the White Sox are going to get whaled on in the first round of the playoffs by whomever, I am rooting for a Cleveland-St. Louis World Series -- two balanced, well-managed teams with a variety of unexpected potential heroes. Travis Hafner and Albert Pujols might be the two most fun guys to watch hit in the majors. And can you imagine Bob Wickman closing one-run games in the playoffs? He sure has the numbers this year but...Bob Wickman? It sure beats another championship appearance by either of the East Coast Glimmer Twins, a surprise run by the punchless Astros, or an encore by the Braves, whose hometown fans are even now studiously not buying playoff tickets.
I don't see the Angels winning it all, but I have to give them their proper 'spect -- they stared the A's down down the stretch and won eight in a row. Good for them. I still have zero faith in Bartolo Colon and to whomever faces off against them in the wild card round, here's a tip: just keep walking #27 and you'll be fine. Unless you're the White Sox, in which case, tread mark city.
I doubt I'll be very much (if any) attention to the hometown club this week. Mike Esposito will get a road start against Horacio Ramirez tonight, then it'll be Aaron Cook and Tim Hudson (nice matchup) on Tuesday, and Jeff Francis and John Smoltz on Wednesday. If I slack off with the Rockies news, I will be back in time for an in-depth playoff preview when the matchups are set. Here's a free sneak preview: the White Sox are toast.