Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Prince Fielder pads his stats with a homer and a couple of RBI. It’s easy to forget in all of the Cub-drama that Chicago is actually a few games ahead of Milwaukee in the standings.
Astros 3, Cardinals 0: And look! The Cubs are technically still alive! If St. Louis just loses its last nine while the Cubs win their remaining. . . er, well, let’s just never mind, shall we? According to the game story, St. Louis “had 25 cases of champagne waiting in the clubhouse, but the bottles will remain corked for at least another day.” Twenty-five cases? They got, what, 38 guys on the roster right now? Add in eight or ten coaches and trainers and such. This is a road game, so figure that front office staff is light: the GM, an assistant or two, random traveling secretary types. Being generous, we’ll call it a complement of 60 people with the team, and then some random media guys who don’t care if partying up with the team hurts their credibility. Tops — absolute tops — you have 75 people that could even hope to be shooting champagne over one another, though many of these people would never touch a bottle in such a situation because, really, it’s the players’ thing. Twenty-five cases of champagne makes for 300 bottles. I love drinkin’ as much as the next guy, but ain’t that overdoing it a bit? And that’s before the beer cans you always see guys throwing into the celebratory shower. Oh, one more thing: The Cubs play tomorrow and the Cardinals don’t, which means that they can clinch on their day off if Chicago loses to San Francisco. What the hell happens to those 300 bottles if they clinch while on a day off? Do soup kitchens take booze?
Giants 5, Diamondbacks 2: Bruce Bochy: “We’re still breathing. There’s still hope.” Four games back.
Braves 5, Mets 2: The ghost ship that is the New York Mets continues to drift aimlessly around the National League, its crew having all but abandoned it, a lamentable calm having descended over its decks. The Braves, like the Giants, sit four back of Colorado.
Tigers 11, Indians 3: Four RBI and two homers for Carlos Guillen keep the Tigers two and a half up on Minnesota.
Twins 8, White Sox 6: The lights went out in U.S. Cellular Field. What’s worse, they hung my brother before I could say that the tracks he saw while on his way to Andy’s house and back that night were mine.
Red Sox 9, Royals 2: Josh Beckett gave up 12 hits, but they weren’t as big as the ones Luke Hochevar gave up.
Marlins 7, Phillies 6: Brad Lidge in the playoffs is gonna be something special to behold. Last year’s Mr. Automatic blows yet another save, this one a one-run lead in the ninth. He was apparently getting the calls too, because Fredi Gonzalez was ejected with two out in the ninth for arguing balls and strikes. Lidge wouldn’t record another one, however, and his legend continues to grow.
Rays 5, Mariners 4: B.J. Upton had three RBI and made a spiffy catch to rob Bill Hall of extra bases to end the game. Game story: “Seattle 1B Russell Branyan (back) took 35 swings off a tee.” Despite this, his downswing is too steep, his swing path is too outside-in, and his clubface is open. Mariners’ hitting coach Alan Cockrell is watching him closely, but he’s still cutting across the ball and pull-slicing it.
Reds 12, Pirates 2: Homer Bailey is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA over the past month. It will be fun to see how many fantasy players key on this strong finish to the season, declaring Bailey a sleeper, without realizing that three of those wins came against Pittsburgh. And now, Deep Thoughts, with your host, John Russell: “Obviously, when you don’t score runs, it doesn’t look like you’re playing very good. That’s one of the things that always looks bad — you don’t score and the other team’s scoring a lot, then they look a whole lot better than you do.”
Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3: Thirty years ago this fall, the Orioles played the Pirates in the World Series. May as well have been a billion years ago.
Nationals 5, Dodgers 4: Andre Ethier dropped a fly ball in the ninth, allowing the Nats to win the game. If they had won this one, they would have clinched the west because . . .
Padres 6, Rockies 3: The Rockies lost in San Diego, who were powered by Will Venebale’s four RBI.
Yankees 3, Angels 2: The Angels struck out 15 times in this one. Ian Kennedy loaded the bases and then slithered out of the jam in his first work in over a year. The Yankees took two of three from their potential ALCS foe.
Rangers 9, Athletics 8: Of all of the stuff that could be mentioned about this game, this bit — the last thing in the little notes section of the game story — is the most interesting: “The Rangers stole four bases and moved past the Angels into second in the AL with 143 steals.” I’ve said it many times this year, but this is not your older brother’s Rangers team.