An interesting question:
Would you rather have the Red Sox schedule, clinching a playoff spot with a week to go, the division with 2 more games to go, and the best record with one more game to go, giving you a chance to rest those who need rest and play those who need more playing time, but without having a long period of low-pressure games to let you get stale.
Would you rather enter the playoffs like the Rockies, on the day after the regular season was supposed to end, in your 163rd game of the year, after having to scratch and claw through a see-saw 13 inning emotionally draining game after an emotionally draining weekend, but with all the momentum in the world, having won 14 out of 15 games to end the season?
The Rockies will be spent, but they won’t have much time to go into a letdown mode. They have only 1 day off, and that’s a travel day. They’ll be playing their first playoff game just about 38 hours after their season ended. Compare that to the Yankees and Indians who get 3 full days off.
So would the Rockies rather have time to recover, or would that cause them to break their momentum? I think at this point, they’re probably better off being in that very first playoff game after being in the very last regular season game. Less time to think about actually being in the playoffs. They have no time for sitting back in awe and forgetting how they were playing. They have to stay in "game" mode. When you’re playing like they are, you just want to get out on the field as fast as you can, and it’s not tiring.
So I think it’s good for the Rockies to be starting so soon.
I also think it’s good for the Red Sox the way they entered the playoffs, with the right balance of rest without getting rusty. They EXPECTED they’d get into the playoffs all through the season. There’s no momentum wave to ride. They just have to have things seem as normal as possible, and stay on an even keel, so they can perform at their best. So the way they have some rest, but not too much, is just perfect for them.
Different teams, different needs, both met.
The Rockies won’t know what hit them until their day off on Friday, back in Denver, before their first home playoff game Saturday. By then they’ll be 2 games into their series, and they’ll need to focus on the task at hand, but it might be difficult.