Photo taken by myself while attending the Aug. 27 game between the Phillies and Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Players in the picture are: Ryan Howard, batter; Johan Santana, pitcher; Jimmy Rollins, base runner; and Jose Reyes, shortstop. Side note, this was a home run.
The current standings in the National League East are as follows:
1. New York Mets, - GB
2. Philadelphia Phillies, 2 GB
By the end of this week, the standings could be anywhere from the Mets lead at seven games, to a Phillies lead at three games.
What's more likely? Neither.
Neither ball club has the ability to put together a five game win streak, while have the other lose five in a row. Their bull pens are either too tired (Phillies) or just plain terrible (Mets) to win five in a row, and both teams are too good to lose five in a row.
So what will happen? Well here's my take.
The Mets have two games and a day off before their series with the Phillies at Shea this weekend. Those games are against the impressive Milwaukee Brewers.
The Mets did come back from a 2-0 deficit to win yesterday, but it won't happen two more times. The Mets may be able to pull out another win in Milwaukee, but they won't be able to pull out two more.
And that is going to be huge for the Phillies, because...
The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals today, 7-4, and also have two more games and an off day before their series at Shea with the Mets. But the chance for the Phillies to win their next two games against the Nats is a lot higher than the Mets' chance to win two against the Brew Crew.
And quite frankly I think the Phillies will win both of their games against the Nats while the Mets win just one of their two games with Milwaukee.
That would mean a one game lead for the Mets going into the off day and the series at Shea against the Phillies. A one game lead means if the Phillies can win two out of three they will be tied, which would be huge for the Phillies but not too bad for the Mets.
But if the Mets win two out of three it is still just a two game lead which isn't too bad for the Phillies but still huge for the Mets.
All in all, after this week I believe the National League East will be in a dead tie. The Mets will win one of their games against the Brewers, the Phillies will win both of their against the Nationals, and the Phillies will win two out of three at Shea against the Mets.
So what would a tie mean for the race heading down the final three weeks of the season? It would mean a lot. Because neither team plays each other again, and both teams have a fairly easy schedule (Phillies have Brewers, Mets have Cubs, basically all tough games they have).
If all of what I said happens and we are tied after Sunday, boy oh boy what a stretch run it will be.
Who's my pick to win it, you ask?
Well I'll go with my gut, and pick the Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League East by one game.
Why? Well half of it is the fact that I'm a little bit of a homer, the other half is the fact that I think the Phillies offense will be able to turn it on, and the bullpen will wake up from their little slump and start winning some games. And add in the Mets bullpen, and there you go.
And go Phillies!