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Divisions going fast!  Get them while they’re hot!Share

28 September 2010

The NL West race and the NL Wild Card races are the most exciting this  year.  The Braves are now out of the NL East running, but they are still trying to secure the Wild Card spot.  In the West, the last minute run for the Rockies has fizzled out, leaving only the Padres and Giants left, who are in a dead heat for that division.

In the National League East, the Phillies clinched their fourth straight NL East title.  They are likely the favorites going into the playoffs.  Not only do they have three great starting pitchers, but they have a week to get their rotation set up for the opening round.  The Cincinnati Reds are likely to clinch any day as well.  As of late Monday night, the Reds only needed to win one more game this year.

In the AL West, the Rangers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 1999.  They clinched the AL West over the weekend.  Minnesota has already clinched the AL Central and is trying to get healthy while still competing for the best overall record. 
In the AL East, the Yankees are struggling, but are all but guaranteed a spot this year.  One more win or one more Red Sox loss will mathematically eliminate the Red Sox and secure the Yankees’ playoff berth.  The Rays are currently on top of the division and have clinched at least a wild card.

Send comments to: Mike@notasportsguy.com

The Basics

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Terminology:

Magic number: the combined number of wins (by the top team) and losses (by the bottom team) until the bottom team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season.  This number is seen in parenthesis in the standing next to the second or third place teams.

Win (for a pitcher):  A pitcher must complete five innings of pitching and his team must be leading when he exits for him to get a win.  A pitcher with 15 wins in a season is doing well; 20 wins is the recognized plateau of excellence.

ERA:  Earned Run Average.  A statistic which measures how many runs a pitcher averages surrendering to opposing teams based on pitching nine innings.  For instance, a pitcher with an ERA of 2.00 would on average give up 2 runs over the course of 9 innings.  ERA’s are always measured to the hundredths.  An ERA of under 3.00 is considered good.  An ERA under 2.00 is excellent and only a handful of pitchers are able to sustain an ERA under 2.00 for an entire season.

Pinch Hit:  when a player that did not start the game comes in to bat for a player that did start the game. 

Batting Average:   How often a player gets a hit.  Batting average is calculated by dividing the number of hits by total chances to hit.   If a player walks or is hit by a pitch, such actions are not counted as a chance to hit in calculating the batting average.  A .300 batting average (getting a hit 30% of the time) is considered to be above average for a MLB player.

Mendoza Line:  A euphemism for a .200 batting average.  The term came from a reference to Mario Mendoza, a light hitting infielder in the 1970s that usually batted around .200.  A player that is hitting around the Mendoza Line is lucky to still have a job in the Major Leagues.

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