Monday, October 01, 2012
And That HappenedPosted by Craig Calcaterra
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3; Yankees 9, Blue Jays 6: 159 games and NOTHING has been decided in the AL East. And, say what you want about the new playoff setup, but the fact that it matters so much who wins the division makes this a fantastic final three days. The Yankees close things out with the Red Sox at home. The Orioles go on the road to face Tampa Bay.
Tigers 2, Twins 1; Rays 6, White Sox 2: That's the sound of the AL Central title being all but sewn up. Anibal Sanchez with another solid start. If Max Scherzer is good to go in the playoffs, the Tigers' rotation -- despite all of the kicking and stumbling they've done all year -- should make them a team no one wants to face. As for the White Sox: bad time to run into a buzz saw Rays team.
Reds 4, Pirates 3: And with that the Pirates ensure their 20th straight losing season. The just stepped off the ledge and hit terminal velocity once the second half got going.
Cardinals 10, Nationals 4: Carlos Beltran went three for five with a couple homers and five driven in as St. Louis moves a step closer to icing the final playoff spot in the NL. Washington is all clinched for a playoff spot, but it's probably worth noting that the Nationals still haven't clinched the NL East.
Braves 6, Mets 2: All the Braves do when Kris Medlen pitches is win. That's 23 straight of his starts in which Atlanta has prevailed, which is a major league record. It'll all be so much noise, however, if he doesn't win his next start: the one-game Wild Card playoff.
Dodgers 7, Rockies 1: L.A. retains dim hope, two back with three to play. Josh Beckett pitched six innings of one run ball. Matt Kemp and Luis Cruz each hit two-run homers.
Astros 7, Brewers 0: And with that the Brew Crew is officially eliminated. It was a nice late run but the hole they dug for themselves earlier in the season was too great. Watch out for next year, though: this team reminds me an awful lot of that 2010 Diamondbacks team that had the crap-awful bullpen and then the next year, when it wasn't crap-awful, made the playoffs. Not that Milwaukee has to make up 30 games or whatever the hell it was the D-backs did to turn things around.
Phillies 4, Marlins 1: Cole Hamels wins his 17th. The Phillies need one win in their final series to finish at .500. So that's something to shoot for as they play the Nats this week. Well, that and the improbable sweep of the Nats while the Braves sweep the Pirates, resulting in a tied NL East and bonus tie-breaker baseball, which would be pretty fantastic.
Angels 5, Rangers 4; Rangers 8, Angels 7: The Angels rallied past the Rangers in the first game when Joe Nathan couldn't hold a one-run lead in the ninth. In the nightcap Texas got 'em back, with Mike Napoli homering twice and driving in six. The Rangers clinch at least a Wild Card, but will have the West with one win over the A's in the season's final three.
Athletics 5, Mariners 2: Yoenis Cespedes hit an RBI triple and an eighth inning, game-tying homer. Then Josh Reddick hit a two-run shot to put the A's up for good. The A's solidify their Wild Card position. The AL West is not yet out of reach, but they gotta win out.
Indians 15, Royals 3: It's the second Sunday in a row the Tribe scored 15. This time, however, they did not outscore the Browns. The Browns scored 16 this week. Four driven in for Asdrubal Cabrera.
Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 2: I've stared at this box score for close to five minutes and can't for the life of me think of anything interesting to say about it. Sorry, folks. That's game 159 between a couple of also-rans for you.
Giants 7, Padres 5: A Xavier Nady homer tied it in the ninth and a Hunter Pence homer gave the game to the Giants in comeback fashion. Tim Lincecum continues to be exceedingly meh, giving up five runs -- four earned -- in six innings. He ends the season with a 5.18 ERA which, if someone would have bet you about it before the season began, you'd never have bit.
Craig writes the HardballTalk blog for NBC Sports.com