Friday, February 27, 2009

National League Playoff Race Heats Up, Stars Still in the Mix

SAN ANTONIO (February 27, 2009) - With the regular season almost seventy five percent complete, there are several close playoff races in the National League (NL) this year in Jersey League Baseball. The local San Antonio Stars are slap dab in the middle of two of these races, both the NL South Divisional race and the NL Wildcard race.

In the NL South, the Houston We Have a Problem lead the division with a record of 73-47 (.608) with the Stars 3 games back at 70-50 (.583).

Houston, the reining World Series champions, is led by slugging right fielder Bernie Gongora. Gongora, who currently is the Major League home run leader with 67, has 20 more than American League leader Tony Beimel's 47 home runs.

The Stars, led by starting pitcher George Reagan, still have one 3 game series with the "We Have a Problem" in Houston and both teams have 42 games remaining for the season. If the Stars are going to make up their 3 game deficit on Houston then Reagan, who is 8-0 with a 2.02 Earned Run Average in his last 11 games, will need to continue pitching as he has the last 2 months.

The National League has two Wildcard teams who make the playoffs, along with the four Divisional winners. The loser of the NL South pennant will still be in the middle of the NL Wildcard race. Currently, the Stars would have one of the two Wildcard spots. The Tucson Hohokams have a 1 game lead over the Stars for the first Wildcard spot. San Antonio has a 3 game lead over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, their closest Wildcard competitor, for the second Wildcard spot. The Stars and the Sky Sox are currently playing an important three game series, which is their last meeting of the season. The Stars won the first game of the series and lead it 1-0. The Sky Sox, losers of 9 in a row, need to turn it around if they want to get back into the Wildcard Race.

Also in the running for a Wildcard spot are the Durham Associates (7 games behind the Stars), the Minnesota PeaceFrog (11 games behind the Stars), and the Trenton Patriots (12 games behind the Stars). The Associates have won nine of their last ten games and are moving up in the standings while the PeaceFrog are 5-5 and the Patriots are 4-6 in their last ten games. The Stars have three home games left with Durham, four games left at Minnesota, and 3 home games remaining with Trenton.

The Stars are playing in their first season in San Antonio, having moved from Richmond at the end of last season. They had played the previous six seasons in Richmond, making the playoffs twice while there. The Stars franchise also played their first season as the St. Louis Ramming Blue Cardinals. They are trying to get back to the playoffs after a five year absence, and certainly control their own destiny at this point of the season.

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