And That Happened

Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: The Bombers clinch, win 100, guarantee home field, etc. Inevitable, but the exuberance looked a little less rote yesterday than I seem to remember it in years past. I think those who have been there a while have a new appreciation for making the post season after what happened last year. The guys like Sabathia and Teixeira probably feel like a lot of weight has been taken off their shoulders. At least for a week or so. This is strange to me: “The Yankees have the choice of whether they want to play in the division series that has a day off between Games 1 & 2.” Time out. Why do they get to choose? I mean, why don’t I get to choose, why doesn’t he get to choose? Better question: why isn’t that sort of thing just set up ahead of time? I actually thought it was.

Rockies 4, Cardinals 3: If the Braves miss the playoffs by one game I’m going to blame Matt Holliday’s hangover. Oh, I’m sorry, his “flulike symptoms” which just happened to show up the morning after the Cardinals doused themselves in booze for clinching the division. Their second most important hitter misses the day and Ryan Ludwick and Mark DeRosa combine to go 0-6 with five strikeouts. You telling me Matt Holliday couldn’t have managed one extra flare beyond what Ludwick and DeRosa did? Just one? A gork, a ground ball with eyes, a dying quail . . . just one more dying quail and the Cardinals could have won this game and the Braves would be one back in the loss column. Damnation.

Braves 6, Nationals 3: I wrote my team off so many times this year — and for good reason — that I feel like getting all giddy now would be like taking back a cheating girlfriend or something. But there they are, looking all fine and everything. I just know that if I lower my guard they’ll hurt me again, but I can’t keep my eyes off of them. Dude, seriously: don’t let me walk over there. I don’t care how much I drink tonight, do NOT let me walk over there and talk to them. And take my cell phone too. I just don’t trust myself . . . . . . . OK, give me my cell phone back. C’mon, I promise I’ll be cool.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 4: Ugly ending for Los Angeles, blowing a three run lead in the ninth to some dudes who stole the Pirates’ uniforms. Worth noting that L.A. was boned by Matt Holliday’s hangover too, as a Rockies loss would have given them the division title. They’ll get it though. More worrisome for L.A. was that Clayton Kershaw, though arguably effective, was kinda wild in his first game back since separating his shoulder. He’ll get one more start before the playoffs, and I’m sure the Dodgers would like to see him a bit sharper.

Phillies 6, Brewers 5: Dave Bush put the Brewers in a 6-1 hole, the offense came back, but it wasn’t enough and the Phillies magic number is down to three.

White Sox 8, Tigers 4: Detroit stumbles into the showdown with Minnesota with both Edwin Jackson and Fernando Rodney getting roughed up.

Royals 4, Twins 1: Minnesota doesn’t take advantage of Detroit’s stumble, but you have to figure that they had this one — a Zack Greinke start — penciled in as a loss anyway. Just another day at the office for Greinke (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8K). Less expected was Yuniesky Betancourt’s day (3-3, HR, 3 RBI).

Giants 5, Cubs 1: Matt Cain was dominant, shutting out the Cubs over eight innings. Eugenio Velez on the Giants’ playoff hopes: “We have to win all of our games and they have to lose all of their games. That’s how we have to look at it.” Eugenio, the chances of that happening are, like, a million to one. Velez: So you’re telling me there’s a chance… Yeah!

Rays 7, Rangers 6: If you’ve got a 5-0 lead with two outs in the eighth, you had best hold on to it. More Eugeino Velez thinking: the Rangers are still technically in the wild card race, much like I’m technically qualified to be President of the United States and technically capable of settling down and having a couple of kids with Salma Hayek.

Angels 7, Athletics 4: With this win and the Rangers’ loss, Anaheim merely need one of its next four games — all of which come against Texas — to seal the deal.

Mets 4, Marlins 0: File “Pat Misch throws a shutout” in the “stuff I didn’t expect to see before the season ended” drawer. Jeff Francoeur hit a homer and made a home run saving catch in support of Misch. Francoeur: “He’s going to buy me dinner and beers.” Jeffy, you really think it’s a good idea to keep track of when other people save your bacon? If people did that for you, you’d have spent enough on dinner and beer by this point to hold substantial stakes in Anheuser-Busch and several restaurant companies by now.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 4: Adrian Gonzalez hits his 28th road home run this year vs. 12 at home. Man, if this guy played anywhere else but Petco Park . . .

Indians 9, Orioles 0: “It’s been a rough 10 games for us,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said after the game. The 145 before that weren’t a friggin’ picnic either, to be honest.

Blue Jays 5, Mariners 4: Seattle squanders 3-0 and 4-2 leads as the Blue Jays finish the season on a fairly strong note.

Astros 3, Reds 2: Wandy Rodriguez (6 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 9K) is about the only good thing that has happened to Houston this year.

Just one note: you shouldn’t be surprised that the recaps for some of these games featuring non-contenders are going to be a bit cursory this last week of the season. I mean, sure, it’s possible that I’ll find myself on my deathbed one day saying “boy, I wish I had spent more time thinking about late September Astros-Reds games,” but I just sort of doubt it. If you’re a partisan of one of these dead teams walking and you really feel like I missed something important, by all means, let us know in the comments. I’ll edit the recaps to include really good stuff I learn after the fact.

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  1. Chipmaker said...

    The “#1 seed gets to pick the Division Series schedule” was introduced in 2007. MLB does not make clear why, but apparently this choice is always given to the AL team (it was Boston in 2007, the Angels in 2008). It doesn’t alternate to the NL every other year, which strikes me as a bit strange (hey, maybe it should go to whichever league wins spring training!)

    Granted, the ‘07 Sox and ‘08 Angels (and ‘09 Yanx) have the best overall record, but the notion that an NL team might get to make The Choice some year is not even discussed. One might suspect that the AL always gets it so that the Yankees (big ratings! more filthy lucre!) can be involved—but that would be soooo cynical.

  2. Kevin S. said...

    It might sound cynical, but the reason the AL always gets it is tied to the ASG.  Retarded, I know.  They should tie it to the aggregate results of interleague play.  That would be a true indicator of which league was better in a given year.

    What’s that you say?  It wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference?  Well then.

  3. J. McCann said...

    It looks like the Braves are going to fall just short due to starting the year with a CF who was not ready for AA, and giving too many PA to Frenchy before they could finally dump him on the Mets.

    One thing you can follow with the bad teams is the all important draft order.  I am rooting for the Mets to lose all they can and maybe KC to go on a mini winning streak.

  4. Kelly said...

    “With a magic number of 1, the division is all wrapped up.” – Um, Jeff?  The 1969 Cubs are on line 2 for you.

    I’m just excited to have a four game series in the last week of the season that actually matters.

    And if all the writers can just come out and say, “Hey, sorry about our dumbassery, now that he has SIXTEEN wins, obviously, Greinke has the Cy Young,” so that he could skip his scheduled start on Friday in the Metrodome….I’m just thinking that would be nice. grin

  5. RoyceTheBaseballHack said...

    You know, they haven’t had to power wash the sidewalks around Rangers Ballpark after a game for the last week, or so. The damn things are so tear-soaked after all of us leave…

  6. Eric Cioe said...

    Craig, perhaps you ought to give a little more attention to the only two teams that are still jostling for a playoff spot.  The updates on the Tigers and Twins lately have been a bit light.

  7. Will said...

    I don’t know what you’re whining about. The Braves have a much more attractive schedule this week than the Rockies.
    3 at home against Florida for Atlanta, 3 at home against Milwaukee for Colorado. That’s probably an advantage for the Rockies, but not a big one.
    Then the last series:
    4 at home against Washington for Atlanta, 3 on the road at Los Angeles for Colorado. That’s a huge damn advantage for the Braves.
    The Nats wouldn’t strike fear into the hearts of most AA teams, while the Dodgers have beaten Colorado like a drum this season. I think LA has won 12 of 15 this year.

  8. APBA Guy said...

    I ‘ll relate the A’s information by way of predicting the Angels’ performance in the postseason:

    In 3 games, the A’s scored 22 runs on 39 hits while yielding 17 runs on 25 hits. The A’s started Gio Gonzalez, Edgar Gonzalez and Dana Eveland vs Lackey, Joe Saunders and Jared Weaver.

    Just like last year the Angels are tuning up for the post-season by taking it easy. Something tells me the Red Sox will have an easy time against them this year.

  9. Jeff J. Snider said...

    As a Dodger fan, I was actually kind of rooting for the Rockies, for two reasons:

    1)  It’s not like the Rockies are going to win all the rest of their games and the Dodgers are going to lose all of theirs.  With a magic number of 1, the division is all wrapped up.  So the only thing left to play for is home field advantage, in which case it’s more advantageous to the Dodgers for the Cardinals to lose than for the Rockies to lose.

    2)  If the Braves win the wildcard, then the Dodgers probably play the Braves in the first round.  No offense to any Braves fans, but I’m spending a lot of money on a division series game at Dodger Stadium, and while the Dodgers’ chances of winning the series are better against the Braves, I’d much rather see the Card or Phils.

  10. Todd said...

    Craig, you’ll be happy to know that, in the 9th, with the Cards down by a run:

    a). The 1st base ump *badly* blew a call that took a key out away from the Cards. With Lugo on first and no one out, Schumaker hit one in the hole that Tulo fielded, and made a really nice play on; nonetheless, replays showed that he was OBVIOUSLY safe. He’s touching the bag, the ball is a good 3 feet away from Helton’s glove.

    b). So Lugo ends up on second, Pujols is up next, 1 out, 1st base open (thanks to the ump), so of course he’s walked, bringing up Ludwick. Lugo managed to steal 3rd (which is kind of ridiculous in that situation), so now the Cards just need a sac fly, right? Here’s basically my thought process at that point: “Fly ball to right, Ludwick delivers! Hardly a well hit ball, but a dying quail out to right, and maybe the 2B, Barmes, isn’t even going to make the catch… oh, spectacular play! Still, Lugo will easily score with Barmes sprawling on the ground… except apparently Pujols took off running from 1st?!!! WTF?!!!! DOUBLE PLAY?!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!! WHAT THE F*******************?!!!!!” Something like that, anyway.

    Doesn’t that make you feel better?

  11. BillG said...

    From a fan that isn’t a fan of non-playoff team (hopefully an exception to a double negative thing):  Your writing is great though something that seems to separate writers (other than those writers knowing somone or being Bill James, etc.)  is being unconventional.  Perhaps a few hysterics combined with a bit of research and your wit might help with these “dead teams walking” recaps.  I’m going to post this as if I’m acting like you haven’t already thought of this or because I pay no attention to the scores that preface your post. I just look forward to the writing…even if it’s the Reds and Buc’s.  I don’t know how far it is you plan to take your writing career but perhaps a completely off the wall interpretation based on a box score of one of these games might be helpful.  At worst, it would provide more content for your followers as the season closes.  Sorry Craig but I must do this: GO PHIL’s!

  12. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    “Better question: why isn’t that sort of thing just set up ahead of time?”

    As a Braves fan, you should know why: Because pre-arranged HFA results in mediocre teams winning the World Series.

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