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Welcome to "Number One Says" on this final weekend of the MLB season.
Number One says:
This was the scene this past Monday after the Miami Marlins' 7-3 victory over the New York Mets: the players' baseball caps on the mound as a tribute to Jose Fernandez. On Sunday, baseball fans were shocked by the tragic announcement that Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident; I literally woke up to the shocking news, and am still trying to process this. Fernandez, who passed at 24, was the Marlins' top ace; pitching a shutdown game in what would be his final start on September 20, which was also the day that his girlfriend told him that she was pregnant with their first child.
In a tribute to Fernandez, every player on the Marlins wore his #16 jersey. The emotions poured in the first inning when Dee Gordon homered for the first time all season, and shed tears as he pointed to the heavens above while crossing the plate. The Marlins' victory kept their faint playoff hopes alive, but they were eliminated the next day when they lost and the Giants won.
All six divisions are now wrapped up. The AL East was the last to be clinched, when the Blue Jays' loss to the Orioles gave the Red Sox the division title. Of course, the Yankees (who never blow leads) spoiled the party with a walk-off 5-3 win, with all five runs scored in the bottom of the ninth. The Orioles' victory eliminated the defending champion Royals from playoff contention, marking the fourth straight season that a defending World Series Champion will miss the playoffs.
Tomorrow, the fourth and final part of my posts about the MLB playoff format will be posted, detailing the current Double Wild Card Era.
After three weeks, there are five unbeatens remaining. In the AFC, the Broncos, Patriots, and Ravens are all 3-0, with New England blasting the Texans last Thursday. Only the Eagles and Vikings are unbeaten in the NFC, with the latter dominating Cam Newton and the Panthers on the road, knocking the defending NFC Champions to 1-2. On the flipside, four teams are 0-3--one of them being the Saints, who were trounced at home this past Monday by the Falcons. The other three winless teams are the Browns, Bears, and Jaguars--the usual suspects.
Week 4 Predictions
Miami @ Cincinnati (Thu.)
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (in London)
Carolina @ Atlanta
Oakland @ Baltimore
Detroit @ Chicago
Tennessee @ Houston
Buffalo @ New England
Seattle @ N.Y. Jets
Cleveland @ Washington
Denver @ Tampa Bay
Los Angeles @ Arizona
New Orleans @ San Diego
Dallas @ San Francisco
Kansas City @ Pittsburgh
N.Y. Giants @ Minnesota
The first byes of the season go to the Packers and Eagles this week.
Third straight 10-6 week; 30-18 overall.
Number One's Upset of the Week: The Vikings' aforementioned road win over the Panthers gets the nod for Week 3. I mentioned that Cam Newton was dominated. He threw three INTs and was sacked eight times, so actually, "dominated" is an understatement.
Meanwhile, in Canada, the Argos continue to freefall, losing 29-12 to the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday. Later that evening, the Edmonton Eskimos won a close game against the BC Lions, moving the defending champions in to a crossover playoff position. On Saturday, the Calgary Stampeders survived a close battle against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, winning 36-34 to end the Bombers' seven game winning streak, and increase their own winning streak to 10 games. Speaking of streaks, the Saskatchewan Roughriders won back-to-back games for the first time this season, defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 20-18.
Week 15 begins tomorrow in Winnipeg, as the Bombers look to start a new streak against the Eskimos. On Saturday, the first day of October, the Lions will host the first place Redblacks, while looking to move one win closer to the playoffs, but before that, the Stampeders head on the road to face the Tiger-Cats. As for the Argos, we'll be in Montréal playing against the Alouettes.
The #1 Burning Question of the Week: After three weeks, which team is in the most trouble?