Thursday, September 15, 2005

Operation: 87! 11 To Go

We've all got our various targets, but this is the one to focus on for the short term. 87 wins is the floating target. If we can hit 87, we've got a decent chance to play beyond October 2, even if it only extends our regular season by one game.

We're at 76 with 15 games left. 11-4 is what we need.

Sounds tough? You're right.

Impossible? Nah.

Key fact: Our next nine games are all against teams with losing records. Six of those are at home.

If we can somehow go 7-2 in these next 9 -- which probably isn't completely unreasonable, we'll enter our final six games in great position to do some damage. We'll be facing the Marlins, and then the Phillies.

But that's getting ahead of ourselves.

We've gotta resort to the Brad Wilkerson Bag o' Cliches. We need to take this one game at a time. But so do the other teams.

______

Houston: 78 wins. (9-7 for 87 wins)
Games remaining:
3 w/ Milwaukee
4 @ Pittsburgh
3 @ Chicago
2 @ St. Louis
4 w/ Chicago

Pittsburgh is obviously the weakest link, and they've been dismal at home and dismal period of late; we really need Pittsburgh to split. If they do, that forces Houston to win 7 out of 12 from an improved and hot Milwaukee team, red-hot St. Louis and the Cubs -- even though you'll never know you're going to get from them.

Bright side? Two of their big three go against the Pirates, "wasting" their outings.
___

Florida: 78 wins. (9-6 for 87 wins)
Games remaining:
3 w/ Philadelphia
3 @ Mets
3 @ Atlanta
3 w/ Nationals
3 w/ Atlanta

Those games against Philly are huge. Of note, AJ Burnett hasn't quite been pitching like himself lately.

The key is going to be for Andruw Jones to keep playing like the MVP he probably is. Atlanta will have clinched by the end, but teams that can knock the other team out have a way of putting a boot to the throat. Atlanta's GM was a Marine. Hopefully that attitude will translate.

Yes, the Mets ARE the Mets, but Florida will get Benson, Seo, and Trachsel. There's no reason the Mets can't go in and lose by just one or two. ;)
___

Philadelphia: 78 wins (9-6 for 87 wins)
Games remaining:
3 @ Florida
3 @ Atlanta
3 @ Cincinnati
3 w/ Mets
3 @ Washington

This is probably the toughest schedule. Don't snort at Cincinnati. They've played 18 series since the All-Star break and are 10-6 in them. Also, they're above .500 at home (and Philly's below).

If Philly plays .500 on the road, that means they need to sweep the Mets just to reach 87.

___

Wow! The more I look at this, the more I think it's doable.

Tom Boswell writes about this today. Interestingly, he, Frank, and Charlie Manuel all think that 86 is the magic number.

If it is, all the better.

Remember, if we finish tied with Philadelphia or Florida, there's a one-game playoff at RFK on Monday night. If we tie with Houston, then we go to Texas.

If we're tied with a few teams? Well, we'll deal with that one game at a time too!

Shifting expectations caught me again. Let's Go Nats!

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