- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

TAKE YOUR PICK ” WHO WILL WIN THE NL WILD CARD?

San Diego (63-54)

The Padres are powered by ace Jake Peavy (13-5, 2.23) and an opportunistic offense. Outfielder Brian Giles is among the hottest players in the majors after belting four homers against the Reds over the weekend.

Philadelphia (62-55)

Reigning MVP Ryan Howard (33 HR, 97 RBI) has rebounded from a slow start, and the return of second baseman Chase Utley (.336) from the disabled list this week should provide a major offensive boost.

Atlanta (62-56)

The Braves feature six regulars hitting over .300, newly acquired slugger Mark Teixiera and the solid 1-2 starting pitching punch of John Smoltz (10-6) and Tim Hudson (13-5).

Our take

If the Braves solve their bullpen problems, we’ll take their starting duo of Smoltz and Hudson over the Phillies” pairing of Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer. Regardless, this is a two-team NL East race. Though San Diego has the lead, the Padres’ MLB-worst batting average (.244) is a harbinger of eventual doom.

TWT FIVE: BEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL MASCOTS

1. Ralphie: Watching Colorado’s massive buffalo thunder across the field is an awesome sight.

2. Traveler and Tommy Trojan: USC’s white steed and rider epitomize class and power.

3. Notre Dame Leprechaun: Annoying? Yes. Iconic? Undeniably.

4. Chief Osceola: We love Florida State’s Seminole rider and flaming spear.

5. Tiger the War Eagle: Auburn’s bird of prey swoops into Jordan-Hare before games.

HE SAID WHAT?

“I went over his round and over my round, and I outplayed him from tee to green.” — Woody Austin, comparing his 70 to Tiger Woods” 63 in the second round of last week’s 89th PGA Championship

TONIGHT’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

The Phillies take on the Nationals for the first time since John Lannan’s infamous pitching debut. 7:05 p.m., MASN2

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