By Nick Pellegrino
On Sunday, the San Diego Padres clinched the franchise’s first playoff berth since claiming NL Western Division crowns in 2005 and ’06. That’s a long, long time.
Despite an off day on Monday, the ballclub’s celebration seemed to last into a second day as the Pads came out flat and accumulated a mere two hits in a 4-2 setback to the Los Angeles Angles.
The loss got me thinking: when a team clinches a postseason berth, how many lose their next contest? This theory might get exasperated with an expanded field of right teams per league.
As of Wednesday morning, only two National Legaue berths have been mathematically secured, leaving six spots open. Sure, Atlanta and Chicago should waltz in, but clubs like Miami, St. Louis and Cincinnati collectively hold a one-game or less lead over Philadelphia, San Francisco and Milwaukee — what a pennant race!
The idea is: when one of these clubs clinches, no matter who the pitchers are or where the game is played, we’re going to lookto play against these sides (probably in a favorite’s role) and try to gain a Plus-money victory.
In the American League, it may be an even better wager. Cleveland, Toronto and Houston all hold at least a 3-game lead over the nearest competition, so the pressure to keep winning will be less. — thus, more likely to coast after clinching.
No one is stating this idea is a sure thing, but it’s something to consider before steeping to the window