No matter how much the IronPigs have struggled since the All-Star break, no matter how good Pawtucket has been, no matter how fast the number of games remaining at the top of B&B's Pigs Path to the Postseason has declined, and no matter how many key players have been called up to Philadelphia, I've still (perhaps naïvely) assumed that the Pigs would make the playoffs.
But tonight as I sit in Coca-Cola Park for the final time in 2012 (postseason or not), I'll be watching a team that, barring a miracle, will be starting their final weekend of baseball.
It wasn't naïve to believe last week that the Pigs could make the playoffs. They were still hanging around by a game or two and even up by half a game at one point. Yet as this week started you couldn't help but feel that things weren't going to turn out like last season. You knew one of these nights was going to do the Pigs in. That night came last night.
The Pigs' 5-0 loss to Scranton (who clinched the division) combined with Pawtucket's doubleheader sweep of Gwinnett puts them three games behind with only four left to play. There have been bigger comebacks in sports history, but if the Pigs were to make the playoffs at this point, it would certainly be a weekend to remember.
|Good times: Ryne Sandberg, Delicious, and Sal Rende after clinching the 2011 Wild Card|
(Photo by Michael LoRe of The Express-Times if I remember correctly)
Now the good news for the Pigs is that we don't have to be a game up on Pawtucket at the end of Monday. We just have to be tied. It's tricky to understand, but here's how things could work:
According to the IL's playoff procedures, the first tie-breaker used is the head-to-head series. The Pigs and PawSox each went 8-8 against one another this season. So throw that out.
The second tie-breaker that would be used is each team's record vs. the IL North. Updating the record from last night's game notes, the Pigs are 41-36 against the division. After a long search, I found the PawSox game notes which say they are 42-34 against the North. So bad news, right?
For the Pigs to tie the PawSox they would have to win 3 of 4 while the Sox lost 3 of 4 this weekend. They're playing Scranton, we're playing Syracuse and Buffalo - all three are IL North teams. So if those two scenarios played out, the Pigs would be 44-37 (.543) against the division and Pawtucket would be 43-37 (.537). The official tiebreaker goes by winning percentage. Pigs win the wild card and play Scranton starting next Thursday.
But that's easier to type than it is to do.
Enjoy CCP this weekend and listen to Matt Provence one final time because it could be 7 long months until you see and hear them again.