Pennant Watch: Thursday, September 28
New York Pulls Ahead
The Yankees' victory over Baltimore, coupled with Detroit's loss to Toronto, has put the Bronx Bombers a game up in the race for home field. The good news for Detroit is that Minnesota also lost (to the lowly Royals), preserving the Tigers' one game lead in the AL Central.
Cardinals Get Off The Schneid
Thanks to Albert Pujols' 3-run homer in the 8th, the Cards broke their seven-game losing streak, and briefly opened up a 2 game lead in the NL Central.
The Astros and Phillies both went the distance, and then some.
Houston pulled into a tie with Pittsburgh in the top of the 9th, then scored in the 15th to win, and remain a game and a half back of the Cardinals.
Philadelphia blew a 9th inning lead in Washington, but managed to get out of a bases loaded jam, giving them second life in extra innings. The teams traded runs in the 10th, then Philly scored 2 in the 14th. They gave up one in the bottom of that inning to the Nats, but managed to hold on and win. Philly's win keeps them a game back of the Dodgers for the wild card lead.
Game of the Day
I have to pick two today, since the Houston/Pittsburgh and Philadelphia/Washington matchups have a lot in common.
Both teams are coming off emotional, extra-inning games. They also need to keep winning to have a shot at cracking the playoff round. Today's game not only presents the opportunity for a letdown, but their bullpens have to be exhausted, especially after 5 (or 6) extra innings of work last night, and so must be several of their position players.
Houston doesn't get much rest, as they have a noon-hour start in Pittsburgh. On the plus side, they send their ace, Roy Oswalt, to the hill. If anyone is capable of a shut-down performance to keep the team on the winning track, and give the pen some much needed rest, it's him.
Philadelphia sends Jon Lieber to the hill to face rookie Michael O'Connor. Neither has good (or even average) numbers this year, so the bullpens could be in for another long night. They desperately need a win, though, since the Dodgers send Brad Penny to the hill to face Byung-Hung Kim in a very favorable matchup for the boys in blue.
Also Worth Watching
Brad Radke, coming off a shoulder injury, starts for Minnesota. If he's healthy enough to contribute, the Twins' chances of success in the playoffs are looking a lot better.