Something struck me this morning.

I was taking a look at the American League standings and I realized that the New York Yankees were rained out last night against the Boston Red Sox.

Now that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it got me thinking about how interesting it is that New York is ending their season by playing a very tough schedule that includes Tampa Bay and Boston.

Basically, this means that the Yankees have been playing meaningful games for quite a while.

Next, take a look at the Tigers‘ schedule. Over the last month, they have been dominant. But they have been dominant against sub-par opponents.

While Boston, New York, Tampa and Texas have been battling rivals, playoff-caliber teams and the weather, the Tigers have been beating up on teams that will be watching the postseason from their couches.

Now, I know the argument. The Tigers shouldn’t be penalized for winning against teams that they are scheduled against. And sure, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox were in contention as late as a couple weeks ago, and the Tigers’ dominance almost singlehandedly eliminated both teams.

But this situation is bringing about the age-old question of what makes the best situation for a team to be coming from upon entering the playoffs.

Some say that it is best for a team to be playing tough, meaningful games right up until the playoffs begin. The logic being that they are more “battle tested” than others and are geared up psychologically for the grind of the playoffs.

Others say that it is best for a team to be well-rested and that the playoffs are a different beast altogether and momentum and being battle tested are a myth.

Both schools of thought have examples that shoot them to shreds.

Look at the Minnesota Twins and Oakland A’s. The Twins are almost always battling until the end, most notably two years ago against Detroit and even in 2006 when they topped Detroit to win the American League Central crown on the last weekend.

Both Twins teams fizzled badly in the playoffs.

The A’s, in the early-and-mid parts of the last decade, were similarly dealt with in the playoffs despite being battle tested.

Now look at the Tigers in 2006. They essentially limped into the playoffs after having a huge second-half collapse, yet still made it to the World Series.

On the other hand, last year’s San Fransisco Giants had to scrap their way into the playoffs and carried that scrappyness all the way to the title.

But two years ago, the Yankees ran away with their division and then steamrolled their way to a championship with a fully-rested stable of players.

So you see, there really isn’t a tried and true recipe for postseason success. In the end, it all comes down to who is hot at the right time. The regular season carries no discernible bearing on postseason success other than to allow you the right to participate based on your record.

Personally, I think that the playoffs are a colossal crap-shoot that are impossible to predict.

And that is precisely why baseball’s postseason is one of the most exciting times in all of sports!

Read more MLB news on