If Figgins/Jeter/Borowski come through for me....

You aren't going to believe this. I know its true because I hardly believe it.

You may recall the story of "Martok", my buddy who ran our last hockey pool and all that. Well, its he I have been in a playoff dash with (unsuccessful so far for me, check here and here).

But today, the game is different. WE have the advantage! It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets.

Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

While I'm still down, note the insane close-ness in so many of the categories. Remember also my experience from last week, where I won with a tie due to my superior ERA (the tie-breaking category).

Now the Hunt for Red October quote is perhaps horribly misplaced. I had the advantage last week: 2 Sunday starters to his 1, and my attention to playing/benching the right players. This week I again have two starters, and while he has his sole starter currently on the bench as well, its Mike Mussina and benching him won't matter with his win lead unless Mussina does so well to deflate his ERA. He also has until 6pm to decide, as Mussina plays the 2nd half of the double header in Boston (two split double headers in two days? ouch!). I also had the advantage of a secure lock in the categories I was leading, and only had to win the ties. Here I have to win the ties and hold my narrow lead in WHIP and runs. Not going to be easy, especially when he has the offensive power of Jason Bay, Miguel Cabrera, and Vernon Wells at his disposal. Brad Lidge, Huston Street and Billy Wagner are available to give him more saves than my Nathan/Fuentes/Borowski combo. Surprisingly, Fuentes didn't pitch in the 16-inning duel yesterday, but even so the tired bullpen staff means it is unlikely he will be in a save situation.

The real question at this point should be: do I play my two starters? The WHIP/ERA lead means that I can be hurt by a bad outing by one/both of my starting pitchers: Davis and Contreras. I can't touch him in strikeouts or wins, so even if both pitchers get 10K and a win apiece, I'm still mostly out for the count. And if they both bomb, I'm losing the few titles I have victory over. My only hope is for the K/BB to go up, and Davis/Contreras have paltry 1.51/2.53 ratios between them. Contreras is 3.57 in that department this past month, however.

Er, wait, Davis has already started! I guess that settles it: I need Contreras's recent K/BB production to beat down Davis: especially when Davis' last outing was something of a disappointment. He's facing Washington today, so that's the good news: though they've won 3 of their last 5, they are at the bottom of the NL East barrel, and Kearns/Vidro/Soriano are the only threats to Davis's numbers.

So I'm back into nightmare territory. With the RBI/HR/R contest so close (31-32,6-6,30-28) I can't afford to sit, say, Jermaine Dye to have Podsednik in there to break the 3-3 tie in stolen bases. (I can afford to include Chone Figgins, who hit for the cycle yesterday). Johjima has just been moved into the No. 3 spot in the Mariners batting order, which is good for me with Ichiro on my team: more RBI chances for Johjima and more run chances for Suzuki.

I need to beat him by one in homers (highly unlikely unless Jason Bay is out sick today). I need an extra stolen base (Bay's out sick, right?). I am in desperate need of more RBIs (isn't Cabrera suffering some elbow problem?) and an extra save (Oakland and the Mets can't win all the time, can they?). All this while holding my run lead (Cabrera has a knee problem too, right?), my ERA not ballooning out of control (Davis really is an elite pitcher, isn't he?), and my K/BB climbing more than his (Wagner is probably due to allow 5 walks in a row).

Wish me luck! Again, if my ERA can hold steady all I need is a tie!