It seems crazy that today is game 162 of the season across the league – even more crazy that a few races have yet to wrap up. And while today’s Texas Rangers/Oakland A’s game is the media darling of the afternoon (as it should be), one race that isn’t getting as much publicity is the battle for the National League’s number one seed, a race that directly impacts the Giants.
The Nationals and Reds enter today tied for the NL’s best record for the third consecutive day, meaning the only way Cincinnati could capture the top seed is with a victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and a Nationals loss to Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies. Stranger things have certainly happened, so by no stretch of the imagination is the Giants’ NLDS foe decided, but with the odd NLDS 2-3 format being implemented this season (and only, this season), the travel schedule already favors the men in orange and black no matter who they play.
Given the Giants are settled in as the NL’s third seed, they’ll open their NLDS this Saturday – a day earlier than the top seeded series, meaning the Reds (who are in St. Louis) or the Nationals (home, in DC) will spend Thursday afternoon flying across country despite having the better record, spending the first two games of the series in a hotel room. There’s obviously something wrong with that picture – but it is what it is, despite it not being the most fair situation.