5 points in 1 day? No problem.

I thought it might be interesting, for posterity’s sake, to document exactly where things stand on the final day of the season. It’s almost anyone’s title to take…

STANDINGS AS OF SUNDAY MORNING OCT. 4
Mike Siano, MLB.com: 92 points
Lawr Michaels, CREATiVESPORTS: 92 points
Ron Shandler, BaseballHQ.com: 87 points

Let’s review each category…

HOME RUNS
Seven HRs separate Mike from me and me from Lawr, and Mike and Lawr are about 10 away from the next team in the standings. Unless someone has a monster power day, this category is set. [NO MOVEMENT]

RBIs
Mike has a 32 RBI lead over Lawr, who is ahead of Jeff Erickson by another 25. I am one RBI behind Steve Moyer. [SHANDLER +1]

RUNS
Lawr has a 58 run lead over me and I am 9 ahead of Jeff. Mike would need 12 runs to catch Jason Grey. [NO MOVEMENT]

STOLEN BASES
Mike has a 1 SB lead over Steve; Lawr is tied with Jeff. I have a 1 SB lead over Jason Colette and two over Matthew Berry. [SIANO -1, MICHAELS +.5/-.5, SHANDLER -2]

BATTING AVERAGE
Nobody is moving anywhere here. [NO MOVEMENT]

ERA
Mike has a .01 lead over Sam Walker, but Mike’s starters are all done and Sam has John Danks going today. Lawr is not moving. I have a .05 lead over Jeff which should be safe unless my four starters blow up today (in which case my season would be over). [SIANO -1]

WHIP
Mike is safe. Lawr has a slight 1-2 point downside and has Scott Feldman and Joe Saunders pitching today. I have a slight 1-point upside. [MICHAELS -1, SHANDLER +1]

STRIKEOUTS and WINS
Here is where it gets interesting. Mike has a 2-K lead over Dean Peterson and is only 1-W behind Jason, but does not have any starts left. Lawr is 15 Ks behind me and tied with Dean in wins; a “W” from Feldman or Saunders nets him half a point.

I am 5 strikeouts away from gaining a point and 28 Ks away from gaining 3 pts. 4 wins gives me three more points. And this is what I have going today:

Justin Verlander is pitching for his team’s playoff spot. He has hurled two gems against the White Sox this year, both complete game victories, allowing only 1 run in each.

Felix Hernandez is pitching to help his Cy Young cause. He is 3-1 against the Rangers this year with a 2.31 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

Clay Buchholz needs to rebound from Tuesday’s poor outing to help his chances for a rotation spot next year. Before Tuesday, he had allowed only two runs in his prior four starts. This is the first time he is facing Cleveland, a team that has lost 4 in a row.

Wade Davis is likely playing to ensure a 2010 rotation spot as well, and has perhaps the toughest task against the Yankees. He’s never faced them, but the Bombers have lost three in a row and are coasting into the post-season.

The opposition could rest many regulars on the final day, except likely the White Sox. All four pitchers are at home.

Two weeks ago, this quartet got me 3 wins and 30 strikeouts. Last week, 3 wins and 20 strikeouts. Even if they just replicate the latter performance, I am back in the thick of this.

To recap:

TEAM TODAY UPSIDE DOWNSIDE
Mike 92.0 93.5 90.0
Lawr 92.0 93.0 90.5
Me 87.0 ~92.0 85.0

There’s little question about how I am going to be spending the day….

the patsy cline-willie nelson connection

that connection would be the song “crazy,” which i happen to be practicing on bass for a gig this coming friday.

and the song, written by nelson, sung so soulfully by cline, pretty much describes the season.

going into today, mike and i were tied at 92. right now, we are tied at 92.5, with ron refusing to capitulate at 87.

a stolen base here or there could send either mike or me down the chute right now, as could a good or a bad inning.

there are some ERA points mike can gain, and steal and win point he can lose. there is a WHIP point i can lose, and a steal and win point i can lose as well.

so, we are tied. and i looked at the tout rules regarding a tie.

in the event that there is a tie, the win goes to the team with the most winning categories.

mike leads in rbi, ERA, and whiffs.

i lead in ba, runs, and wins.

even that is even.

like i said, crazy. at least we have the tigers and the twins to model.

crazy…

5 points in 2 days? No problem.

This is what I need to have happen today and tomorrow…

1. Detroit and Minesota need to maintain their respective momentum. That is the only way to ensure that Justin Verlander will pitch tomorrow.

2. Five RBIs. Currently one behind Steve Moyer, I figure 5 will be enough to sneak by and gain a point.

3. Need to maintain my slim leads in stolen bases and ERA (no problem).

4. That will leave my All-Star mound quartet to work their mastery on Sunday. Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Wade Davis and Clay Buchholz. Three wins and 30 strikeouts will mean potentially 4-5 points.

This is exactly why we call it fantasy baseball.

Good luck to my fellow nail-biters, and thank goodness Lawr is going to keep his clothes on.

not much i can add, mike…

going into the last weekend, jake peavy has just done what i needed him to do, putting me within half a point.

i guess, though, it is in the hands of those infamous baseball gods.

it has been a great season and more than exciting final month.

best of luck mike and ron. duking it out to the end with you both has been as woody allen might note, “as much fun as i have had with my clothes on.”

justin masterson, you are killing me…

note that i wrote this last night, and thought it was posted, but something happened…in many directions. computer. american league. time.

tim wakefield and carlos torres were cooperating, but carl pavano would not.

i did not need much from him. six innings. five whiffs. 1.25 whip.

i did not get it.

although, at the point when he gave up three rbi and a hit to mags, i was, for a flicker, in first. because he did get the strikeouts and that got me a point.

but, part of my last week strategy was sitting justin masterson because he simply could not be trusted to protect in whip and era. at least pavano could help in whip and he has pitched well against the tigers.

so, masterson strikes out 11 and gives up almost nothing over seven while pavano is getting raked.

now, i did have to sit masterson. but, the two weeks i did, this season, he pitched great.

if i can pull the string and get it right with chad gaudin, how can i be so off with masterson?

i guess it is the zen. that balance thing.

but, one other thing i know is, whether it kills me or not, i had to sit masterson, and never second guess a move like that as a caclulated attempt to win.

but, that does not mean it is not killing me justin…

I Feel Like……

Admiral Ramius in Hunt for Red October. There is a scene where Admiral Painter tells Jack Ryan :”Your Russian’s going to make it to America, Mr. Ryan. He’s going to die within sight of it.”

Is Sunday Night Here Yet?
Is Sunday Night Here Yet?

I have a 1.5 point lead with five full days of baseball to go. Ron made up some serious points last night and even though he may be pessimistic, I think with just the right breaks he may be able to leap frog both Lawr and me. It is mind blowing to think I could be in the lead all week going into Sunday and still lose, but that’s what an incredible season this has been. Lawr said it best, nobody is going to choke, two of us are going to have very good seasons but have “nothing” to show for it. Whoever comes in 2nd or even 3rd will know exactly what the 93′ Giants felt like. That year they won 103 games and didn’t make the playoffs, the Braves won 104. In contrast to Ron rooting for the Twins, for fantasy purposes I have become an enormous Tigers fan. Needing them to throw Pavano (Lawr) a beating then not needing Verlander (Ron) this weekend if they wrap it up and want to line him up for game 1 vs. Yankees. With all that said I still need my guys to perform. After a nuclear weekend (no pun intended) my bats had a quiet day yesterday due to a rainout and the Angels sending out the JV. If Doc, Erv and E-Jack can keep it strong and the bats do a notable job this just may be crazy enough to work. Then again I could be in 3rd tomorrow morning……Siano

On life support…

Four starters, three wins, 20 strikeouts. Most days, I would have been thrilled to pick up enough points to move within 3.5 of first place. But it’s not likely going to be enough.

The problem was the one starter who didn’t get a win. Three batters into Clay Buchholz’s start, I was reaching for the oxygen. Thanks to his 7 ER gopheritis attack, I could not pick up a needed point in ERA.

So what’s left to hope for? This same quartet of pitchers (Verlander, Felix, Wade Davis and Buchholz) are all scheduled to go out on the season’s final day. Verlander will only pitch if the Tigers need the game to get into the post-season, so I’ll be rooting for the Twins the rest of the week. Any of the remaining trio might also sit since none will be in meaningful games. So winning this thing on my own is going to be tough.

As for help from others, Mike could lose a half point in wins, but would need massive meltdowns in his remaining three starts — Halladay, Jackson and Santana — to lose ground anywhere else. I do trail him by only 4 HRs, but my bats have recently gone silent. Lawr could still lose a point in stolen bases, and maybe WHIP. I can’t see how today’s standings are going to change much by Sunday night.

In 25 years of playing this game, I have seen a few miracles. I have seen a team come back from a 30 point deficit in September. I have seen a team pick up 10 points in the final week alone. I have seen a team run the board, wire to wire, only to lose it in the final weekend. But I just don’t see it happening for me in these final five days.

But I’ll still be rooting for the Twins, because, if there is even the tiniest molecule of a chance, I am going to need Verlander to pitch on Sunday.