Tuesday, June 9, 2009
2005 San Diego Padres
Usually a pennant race features two top-tier rivals playing a heated September series while perhaps scoreboard-watching another foe. The 2009 AL Central may feature a team contending not with another ballclub, but instead a theoretical benchmark. In 2005, the San Diego Padres won the NL West with a record of 82-80. Without doing the research, I'd wager this is the worst ever record to win a division. Second place Arizona finished at 77-85. Could we see the AL Central champion finish the season with a losing record? Conventional wisdom suggest that at about this point of the season, a team or two will hit a hot streak to win pole position for the pennant race. But what if Detroit has already had the hot streak to put themselves in first? If "normal" is worse than they've played- or they slump for a week or two- the entire division could sink below .500. The division's saving grace may be that the games they play amongst each other guarantee 180 total wins for the division.