As the Philadelphia Phillies inch closer to finishing off their third straight National League East title, playoff thoughts are not far behind.
If I am not mistaken, heading into Wednesday's game with the Nationals, the Phillies magic number is 13 games. After the Phils finish the Nationals series, they travel to Atlanta and Florida. Talk about taking care of business.
Think about last year's playoff rotation: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer.
This year: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton/J.A. Happ and Pedro Martinez.
Last year, the rotation included the soon-to-be named World Series MVP, a starter/closer/starter, a good mid-season pick up and the one of the all-time winning left-handed pitcher.
This year: A World Series MVP, reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, a possible Rookie of the Year, and a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Pride aside, statistically, the Phillies do not match up with some of the best starting pitching teams in the National League: San Francisco, St. Louis and Atlanta.
Realistically, only the top three pitchers will matter, at least in the first round, and San Francisco has the best with three 10-win pitchers: Tim Lincecum (14-5), Matt Cain (13-5) and Barry Zito (10-12).
St. Louis's Adam Wainwright may be the best choice for the Cy Young Award at 18-8 and with a 2.59 ERA. Joel Pineiro is 14-10 and Chris Carpenter is 16-4.
Atlanta, led by Javier Vazquez, 13-9; Jair Jurjens, 11-10; and Derek Lowe, 14-9, probably won't make the playoffs.
Jamie Moyer is the Phillies winningest pitcher at 12-9, but might not make the postseason roster. Cole Hamels (9-9) and Cliff Lee (7-2) are the Phils top two playoff pitchers, but Pedro Martinez (5-0) may take over the third spot from Joe Blanton (9-7) or J.A. Happ (10-4).
It all depends on Martinez's next couple starts, following his eight-inning 1-0 shutout of the New York Mets on Sunday night.
So even though the Phils don't match up statistically, they are peaking at the right time.
Add Albert Pujois and Matt Holliday to a pitching-loaded St. Louis, and you might just see the World Series move to the Midwest.
In golf, the saying is drive for show and putt for dough.
Pitching is the putting in baseball.
St. Louis has the edge, but if Martinez can pitch like it's 1999, the Phillies have a good shot.