Dr. Heimlich, paging Dr. Heimlich. I’m not sure if this is unique to baseball, but baseball fans are obsessed with failure. I suppose when someone can do something 30 percent of the time and be considered a success that’s a part of the equation. The Texas Rangers might have just sealed the AL West divisional championship on Friday night as the Astros went whimpering into the night. The Astros are now 7-15 in the month of September and are a perfect 0-8 in one run games in September. It has been a collapse of epic proportions.
On July 31st, the Texas Rangers acquired Cole Hamels in what was deemed a move designed to make them more competitive in 2016. After all, they were two games under .500 coming into August play. Teams under .500 don’t make moves at the deadline to get better. They usually start selling. They are 34-17 since August 1st and now have a commanding lead in the division. You can choose to view the glass as Astros collapse or Rangers surge. Take your pick.
If you read only one thing…..
Two other races got sewn up on Friday night as well. The Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays and coupled with a Yankees loss expanded their lead in the AL East to four games. No, the Yankees are not mathematically eliminated, but given the lead with a week left, I think it’s time to call off the dogs. The Mets have already all but won the AL East, but the two game swing on Friday night has cinched that one as well.
Meanwhile, the Pirates and Cubs are playing for home field advantage in the one game playoff. The Pirates expanded their lead to 4.5 games over the Cubs. The irony is that both the Cubs and Pirates have better records than any team in the American League. Yet, one of them will be going home following the one game playoff. It looks like that game will be a PNC Park. If they can arrange their rotations in time, we will see Jake Arrieta against Gerrit Cole. It just doesn’t seem fair.
Just as we expected….
David Ortiz never stops hitting. Sure, he has periods where he seems to struggle, but look up in October and there he is with 30+ home runs and 100+ RBIs. He’s done it again and he’s surpassed the magical 500 home run mark. The question now is whether he will return for another season in hopes of adding yet another 30 home run and 100 RBI campaign. He looks like he could hit forever.
In what could be a precursor for things to come, Carlos Rodon pitched another strong outing and brought his record to 9-6. He lowered his ERA to 3.75 on the season. I’m sure some people made some hay adding him to their roster late in the season. Now, he’ll be one of the guys fantasy players will look to to take another step forward next season.
But we didn’t see this coming….
Who exactly is Stephen Piscotty? He is another in a long line of unheralded St. Louis Cardinal farmhands to come in and help the club stay afloat. Even with tonight’s setback, the Cardinals are etching that much closer to 100 wins on the season. Such a record is remarkable considering they’ve lost Adam Wainright for the season and lost Matt Holliday and Matt Adams for most of the season. Next man up is the battle cry in St. Louis.
Remember when everyone was worried about the Marlins outfield? Well, Giancarlo Stanton is still out, but Christian Yelich has elevated his average over .290 and might have stolen another 20 bases had he been healthy the whole season. His partner in crime, Marcell Ozuna, hasn’t been quite as good, but he’s quietly lifted his average over .250. Rumor has it that he will be trade bait after the season. I imagine a few teams will come around to kick the tires on that.
The Rest of the Details
- Francisco Rodriguez (converted)
- John Axford (converted)
- A.J. Ramos (converted)
- Neftali Feliz (converted)
- David Robertson (converted)
- Mark Melancon (converted)
- A.J. Ramos (converted)
With a number of the general manager posts resolving themselves, the baseball world turns its attention to the Los Angeles Angels. They are a unique situation as they are still fighting for the last wild card spot. They are also unusual in that their manager (Mike Scioscia) holds unusual power in the organization. He has been there forever and rumor has it that he forced Jerry Dipoto out. They have interviewed internal candidates Hal Morris and Scott Servais. The key will be finding a guy that can work with Scioscia.