Yesterday, I mentioned that we could have a bunch of tiebreaker games on Thursday before the playoffs began. After last night…that's not looking so likely.
-The A's beat the Rangers 4-3 to clinch a playoff spot and eliminate both the Rays and Angels (both of whom won on Monday). The A's are now just a game back of the Rangers in the AL West, and they have a legitimate shot to win the division.
-The Tigers clinched the AL Central by beating the Royals 6-3. Of course, the White Sox beat the Indians 11-0….too little, too late Chicago.
-The Orioles lost 5-3 to the Rays, and the Yankees clobbered the Red Sox 10-2. That turn of events put the Yankees a game up in the AL East, and tied the Orioles with the A's for the second wild card spot…meaning that the wild card game would be in Oakland if the season ended today with those two teams tied.
-The Nationals backed into the NL East title after the Braves lost 2-1 in Pittsburgh. The Nationals lost 2-0 to the Phillies, and apparently nobody told them that having momentum going into the playoffs is a good thing.
-Finally, the Dodgers stayed alive in the NL wild card race, if only for one more day. They earned a 3-2 walkoff win over the Giants and the Cardinals beat the Reds 4-2, meaning that the Dodgers only hope of earning the wild card spot is by winning out and beating the Cardinals in a tiebreaker on Thursday…if St Louis doesn't win today or tomorrow, that is.
Game of the Night: Blue Jays 6, Twins 5 (ten innings). Of course, the one AL game with no playoff implications had the best finish. The Twins led 4-1 after five, with that lead being cut to 4-3 after a two-run double by Jeff Mathis. Jamey Carroll singled in Ben Revere to make it 5-3 Twins, but an Adam Lind RBI double cut the lead to 5-4. In the ninth against Minnesota closer Glen Perkins, Yan Gomes hit a solo homer to tie the game at five. That led to the tenth inning with Brian Duensing on the mound, and he allowed a walkoff single to rookie Anthony Gose, giving the Blue Jays a 6-5 win and holding off a 90 loss season for one more night.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Hector Santiago did his damdnest to keep the White Sox alive in the playoff hunt, throwing seven one-hit shutout innings against the Indians, walking one and striking out ten. Alex Cobb did his part for the Rays, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out seven in their win over Baltimore. Lucas Harrell turned in a good performance for the Astros in their 3-0 win over the Cubs, sending Chicago to loss 100. He threw six two-hit shutout innings, walked one, and struck out seven. Kyle Kendrick ended his season on a high note by beating the Nationals, throwing seven shutout frames and allowing four hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Finally, CC Sabathia did what he does against a subpar Boston lineup, allowing two runs on four hits over eight innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Mike Trout made another MVP push in Seattle as the Angels won 8-4, going 4/5 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a triple. For the Yankees, Robinson Cano went 3/5 with two runs, three RBI, two doubles, and a homer. The other top AL MVP candidate, Miguel Cabrera, went 4/5 with a solo homer. Dayan Viciedo finished a disappointing season with the White Sox by going 2/5 with a walk, five RBI, and a grand slam.
Other Games: The Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 7-5 in 13, ensuring they won't finish with 100 losses. The Marlins beat the Mets 3-2 and Giancarlo Stanton homered to continue his legend around baseball. The Brewers beat the Padres 5-3 to clinch their second straight above .500 season
Today's Games: Not much matters anymore with two games left…the Nationals and Reds are still battling for the NL's top record. Washington will start Gio Gonzalez against the Phillies in a bullpen game for them, while the Reds start Mat Latos against Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals, looking to clinch the NL's second wild card. The Dodgers look to take things down to the season's final day against the Giants, with Chris Capuano taking on Barry Zito. Over in the AL, you're looking at three games to determine division winners and seeding. The Yankees take on the Red Sox, with David Phelps being matched up with Jon Lester. The Orioles will battle the Rays, sending Miguel Gonzalez to take on James Shields. Finally, the AL West…Rangers vs A's, Matt Harrison vs Travis Blackley. If the A's win, they're tied for the AL West lead going into the final game of the year. If they lose, the Rangers are champions yet again.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.