Friday, September 26, 2008
Games, Games, Games
Vlad's Blast Makes Angels Winners For The 99th Time: Angels 6, Mariners 4I didn't pay much attention to this one as yesterday was pretty crazy; I was in meetings all morning, and stopped by the LAPL to pick up a print Helen got me as a birthday present (you can see a smaller version here in all its Scioscian glory), and by the time I got out, the Dodgers had won the division already.
I did tune in late, just in time to see Vlad's game-winning two-run homer, his second blast of the game; I confess, though, I found the drama in dome far more compelling watching. Looking at the box score, I take some amazement away that the Angels got their 99th win, Scot Shields got his fourth save (yeah, I was kinda amazed when he was put in to finish things up), and Dustin Moseley didn't lose. The Angels might have to call on Moseley next year, scary as that prospect is; I suppose it beats a year of Jon Garland at free agent prices, but only just.
But speaking of surprises, Jose Arredondo coughed up his seventh blown save of the year, but notched his tenth win thanks to the randomness of baseball scoring.
Post-Clinch Letdown: Padres 7, Dodgers 5The Padres — their front office, at least — were celebrating, though most of the assembled throng at Dodger Stadium wouldn't have known it. Thanks to a clause in the deal that sent Greg Maddux to the Dodgers, Ned Colletti now owes San Diego two prospects, and a better-quality one at that.
Maddux, in case you weren't looking, is 1-4 in six starts with a 5.71 ERA, good for a 78 ERA+; he's scarcely helped Los Angeles, and in fact appears to be all but done. Eric Stults, who got the start in this one and didn't last five innings and took the loss, too, has been all but forgotten by a Dodgers team so desperate for a fifth starter that they felt obliged to ship out more prospects for a washed-up Name rather than use the one they actually had in-house, but such is life with Ned. There is the sense now that the Dodgers need Manny, and if they don't re-sign him (and probably Casey Blake), they're in for a disappointing 2009.
Yet at the same time, it's hard, looking at the competitive landscape, to say that the Manny-fied Dodgers aren't the equal of the faltering Mets, the sputtering Phillies, or the wannabe Brewers, each of whom has serious problems; the Mets' Achilles' heel is their bullpen, the Phils', their streaky offense, and the Brewers is their rotation and bullpen (not to mention their now-fired manager). The Dodgers, at least, have the pitching to compete with any of these clubs (nobody uses fifth starters in the postseason), and if Andre Ethier keeps his hot streak going, a Hall-of-fame bat followed by at least a very good one. The rest of the lineup has its problems — and no, I don't think Rafael Furcal will be in game shape by the postseason, but he could surprise me — but considering the junk that's out there, the Dodgers have a reasonable shot at at least a first-round series win.
Other Pennant Chases
- NL East: The Mets edged the Cubs 7-6 on a Carlos Beltran walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth. The win brought the Mets to a game back of the Phillies, with three to play. Both teams finish their seasons at home, with the Mets facing the Marlins and the Phillies taking on the Nationals.
- NL Wild Card: Ryan Braun's walkoff grand slam propelled Milwaukee to a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh to keep the Brew Crew tied with the Mets for the Wild Card lead. Milwaukee wraps up the season with three against the Cubs in Wrigley, meaningless games for the Tiny Bears but very meaningful for the Brewers.
- AL East, Wild Card: Boston pounded Cleveland 6-1, while Tampa Bay fell to Detroit 7-5. The Rays have a magic number of one to clinch the division over Boston.
Boston finishes the season with three at home against the Yankees, while the Rays will continue their season-ending four-game set tonight at Detroit.
- AL Central: I already mentioned yesterday's thrilling Twins 6-5 walkoff victory over the White Sox in extras. The rest of the way: the Twinks play the Royals for three at home, while the White Sox play Cleveland at home, also for three.