We're officially entering the stretch run now, entering the first of three rematch matchups. It's time to settle some scores! But first, let's look at what happened last week:
Recap of key matchups
WHATS A SABRE defeated Zach Sanders 575-473
Last week was a big week for WHATS A SABRE. With the win, they pulled into a two-game lead in the southern division. At this point in the season, that means that they are guaranteed to at least tie for the division lead as long as they win just one of the three remaining series. While the SABREs technically led the week's series in both hitting and pitching, this series in my mind comes down to one player: Mike Stanton. The top Marlins prospect had an unbelievable week last week, going 14/24 with 5 doubles, 4 home runs, and 3 walks. That equals 120 points, folks. That's insane.
The Grues defeated I always get to 3rd 610-390
A strong offensive attack led by Joe Mauer and five two-start pitchers combined for a strong week by my team. Really, this was just one of those weeks when all the stars aligned for my guys, whereas I always get to 3rd's squad just couldn't seem to get much together. The consequences are interesting. My team is suddenly in the mix for second place in the Northern division despite sitting in the cellar for most of the season. I always get to 3rd, on the other hand, falls back from WHATS A SABRE and will need a very strong final showing to win the division--though they still are ranked for a wild card slot as things stand today.
New York Jazzers: 614 points
Lots of strong performances carried the Jazzers this past week: five players scored 49 points or better, led by Ryan Ludwick who went 9 for 23 with a pair of doubles and three home runs for his new Padres team. On the pitching side of things, beyond a pair of two-start starters, both Wandy Rodriguez and Jonathon Niese had superb starts last week, both going 7 innings and netting 50 and 49 points, respectively.
The Marxists defeated the Rockin' Rockers 444-436
The short story here is that the Marxists led with offense, while the Rockers had the better pitching. Unfortunately for the Rockers, the pitching just wasn't enough.
Focus on this weeks' action
Rather than focus on specific series, let's go division by division.
Zach Sanders has a guaranteed playoff slot, and with a win this week can guarantee at least a tie for the division lead (by record). He faces the Infield Flies, who despite their losing record are right there with the other top teams (aside from Janish) in total points--they are no pushovers. Meanwhile, the second- and third-place teams, Tied for First and the Grues, are battling it this week, and both teams have more points on the season than Sanders. If Sanders loses this week, and either of these teams wins, what had looked like a clear victory could hang in a precarious balance. And guess who Sanders has to play the last two weeks of the season? That's right: The Grues and Tied for First.
WHATS A SABRE's win last week was huge, but he hasn't locked up the division or the playoffs just yet. EyeOnTheMendozaLine is still a strong team, and I always get to 3rd may still bounce back; both teams are just two games back. Of their immediate competition this week, the Mendozas should have it the worst as they face off against the European Swords (10-9 in the North). That said, I always get to 3rd is currently trailing the Bake McBrideGrooms by nearly 80 points!
Despite trailing DoubleDose by a tad over 100 points on the season, Jeff Zimmerman (11-8) has a two-game lead in the East. This is probably a division where you will not see a wild card: 11-8 is the minimum record for a wild card slot right now, and even so not all 11-8 teams are current playoff seeds. Zimmerman needs to win two of the last three weeks to guarantee himself a playoff spot. But as things stand as I write this, he is losing while DoubleDose is winning.
Blocking Janish has clinched this division. They've been the class of the league thus far, without question, posting 800 more points than the next best team and holding the best record in the league at 15-4. Predictably, they are winning. Both the Marxists and CincyKids still have a shot at wild card slot--though CincyKids is currently losing to Sexfist, which just won't do at all.