Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pennant Watch: Sunday, September 30th

Only One Spot Remains
The NL Central remains up for grabs. St. Louis leads by a game and a half, and can clinch with a win over Milwaukee today. They send ace Chris Carpenter to the hill, so they should be in good shape. If they lose, however, and Houston wins, then the Cards have to play the Giants tomorrow in a make-up game. If they lose that, they will drop into a tie with Houston, and play the Astros in a tie-breaker on Tuesday.

Later today, Houston sends 28-year old rookie Chris Sampson to the hill to face future hall of famer John Smoltz. Breathe easy, Cardinals fans.

End of the Road for Philadelphia
Both the Dodgers and the Padres won yesterday, clinching playoff spots. That means that the Phillies are once again going to be left out in the cold.

The Fight For Positioning
Four teams are playing today with playoff positioning on the line. Detroit and Minnesota remain tied for the AL Central lead. Detroit holds the tie-breaker, so if both teams win (or lose), they will get the nod, putting Minnesota in the wild card spot. The division winner will host Oakland, and the wild card will go on the road to New York in the ALDS. It's a shame that Detroit could still lose today, and claim the division crown if the Twinkies also go down in defeat. I'm of the opinion that if you get swept at home by the Kansas City Royals, you don't deserve the division title, or possibly even a playoff spot.

The same situation applies in the NL West. San Diego holds the tie-breaker over LA, so a Padres win will clinch the division crown. The winner will host the NL Central champ (likely St. Louis), while the wild card team goes on the road to face the Mets. Interestingly, both teams face their opposing team's ace - the Dodgers get Jason Schmidt of the Giants, while the Padres get Brandon Webb of the D-Backs.

Game of the Day
Milwaukee at St. Louis. Chris Carpenter can earn his keep, and boost his Cy Young prospects with a strong performance and a win this afternoon.


At 12:52 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Also fun to watch: the battle for AL batting champion that will be decided today.

In the bottom of the fourth in the Jays/Yankees game it's Mauer (.346), Jeter (.345), and Cano (.344).

At 5:49 PM, Blogger theDrizzler said...

Check out the last 'out' in Arizona today. The Dodgers are gonna be PISSED OFF. Here's the set-up:

Arizona down by a run. 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth, man on first. Ball grounded to 2B, throw to first is errant, so the throw to second to get the force is in time, but the SS isn't on the bag and the runner comes in under the tag. Umpire calls safe. Right call. But then the other Umps step in and call the runner out, much pandamonium, Umps convene, they still rule the runner out on the force. Game over, Padres are the NLW Champs.

Now it could be argued that the probability that Arizona would tie it up and win is fairly small, but two solo shots in the ninth led to a two out rally and Hoffman was getting hit all over the place. Either way, the D's don't get a chance with runners on 1B and 2B with two outs as it should have been. the Umps fucked this one up big time. Dodgers fans are likely rioting as we speak. Good thing this game was in Arizona or a very wide casket would have to be built for the fat-ass behind home plate.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Huh? The second call (runner is out) is the right call, because there's a runner safe at first, and therefore a force at second.

Score one for the fat-ass behind home plate.

At 8:10 PM, Blogger theDrizzler said...

The SS never touched the bag. When you don't touch the base or the runner on a force play he's safe. Again. Fat Ump wrong.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

So who is playing who, and when does it start? I have to admit, I haven't paid a lick of attention this week.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

I didn't see the play, so I didn't know that the fielder failed to touch the base. The wire reports show no hint of controversy, though, making it sound like the throw to second was in time (and therefore implying that the shortstop was on the bag -- or maybe it was a "neighbourhood play," as the announcers like to say):

Pinch-runner Chris Young was on first base when Alberto Callaspo hit a two-out grounder to second baseman Josh Barfield, whose throw pulled Gonzalez off first base.

But Gonzalez alertly threw to second in time to get Young, who slipped as he let the grounder get past him. Second base umpire Larry Poncino originally signaled safe when shortstop Khalil Greene failed to tag Young, then changed the call on a forceout when Bochy protested.

"It was strange," said Gonzalez, who tied a career high with four hits. "When Callaspo hit it, I saw Young jump and try and get away from the ball. I saw him fall, didn't think anything of it at the time, but when Barfield's throw was a little off line I knew I still had a shot at second."

At 11:01 PM, Blogger theDrizzler said...

Andy, Check the CBS standings page, they have a graphic you might be able to use.

Avi, It was a crazy call. I was watching at work and the announcers were dumfounded. Several replays showed the blunder, though surfing the sports channels I have yet to see coverage from sportsnet or tsn but the Score glossed over it ealier as well though it was early and they may not have assembled their highlight package for the game.

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Fuck. The Twins and A's play each other?

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Yep. Your worst nightmare. And my wildest fantasy.

The worship of the major media market means we're getting screwed on the scheduling. Oakland and Detroit play the afternoon game on Tuesday and Wednesday (1 pm ET from Minnesota), and again on Friday (4 pm ET from Oakland).

The Yankees-Tigers series hogs prime time every night (8 pm ET).

And of the first 5 NL games scheduled, 4 are in the afternoon, with only Thursday's Mets game in primetime.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Shudder. It looks like ESPN is carrying most of the games. Just what I need: more Joe Morgan.


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