edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 1st, 2018, 11:49 am #661

NL Wild Card: Dodgers More than Lurking
Sept 16-19  Los Angeles at Arizona
Like a crafty old marathoner, the Dodgers have been hanging around behind the leaders, just close enough to maintain contact but not close enough to draw much attention.  A 17-12 August got them into position, but they've been just .500 in September.  Question is this: do they have the legs to close on the Wild Card pack? Lefty reliever Steve Howe returns but Tashi Seito remains out. Arizona healthy other than fringe player Conor Jackson.

Game 1: Dodgers 2-1
RBI singles by Garvey (.284) and Guerrero (.263) stake a wild Koufax (W 15-7, 3.57) to an early lead. He walks 6 and allows 4 hits in just 5 innings, but Arizona can manage just a single run (L. Gonzalez sac fly) and the Dodger bullpen of Alejandro Pena, Kenley Jansen and Eric Gagne (S31, 1.37) does the rest. Willie Davis 2 hits puts him at .308. Can he steal a batting crown from Gwynn (.316) or Aaron (.312)?

Game 2: Diamondbacks 11-3
Mark Reynolds (2 homers, one a grand slam, double, 6 RBIs .193/28/75) single-handedly responsible for a rare Kershaw (L14-9, 3.58) stinker.  Seven runs in the first 3 frames and nable to get an out in the third, the Dodger star is gone early. Brian Anderson (W 2-2, 4.78) gets a classic September look-see start and makes the most of it, pitching into the 8th.  

Game 3: Dodgers 9-3
LA  roughs up Batista (L 3-9, 5.92) in the 5th and gets a Quality Start from Greinke (W 12-6, 4.26).  Ethier (.304/15/69), who's been a righty-killer all year, homers off Batista and JJ Putz allows 2 more bombs, one to Davis (.306/11/58), the other to the banged up but game Guerrero (.266/18/69).
Tracy (.230/6/24) had one for the D-Backs.

Game 4: Dodgers 9-4
Davis delivers 4 RBIs on a pair of triples (10), putting him back to .308, and Roseboro (.200/5/32) hits a 2 run HR as the blue team roughs up Ian Kennedy (L 6-17, 4.78). Kennedy's 17th loss ties Rick Rhoden (Pittsburgh) for the most in the majors. Hershiser (W 14-8, 2.82) has no such problems, scattering 9 hits and a solo Luis Gonzalez (.276/27/93) homer over 7 innings.  Howe returns after 3 1/2 weeks and tosses an inning, allowing a run. 

Dodgers (81-72) take advantage of 2-5 stretch by both San Diego and Houston and a Cinci hiccup in Kansas City to pull within a game of the Reds and just a half-game of the Padres and Astros for the second WC berth.  On paper, the 83-66 Mets seem to be in control of the first WC, but have an extra series pending and still have a rough road ahead with San Fran, Philly, Cinci and Houston remaining. It's really a crap shoot at this point. 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 2nd, 2018, 11:36 am #662

NL Wild Card:  Mets' Gauntlet Begins with Hosting West's Best
Sept 17-19 San Francisco at New York (N)
Mets have the Wild Card lead, but face a murderous final 13 games that begin now.  After hosting the 88-62 Giants they face division rival Philadephia, and then two teams (Cinci and Houston) that are battling for a postseason berth. They'll have to survive it without Dwight Gooden (13-11, 3.62, out until the playoffs), and sparkplug shortstop Jose Reyes (.287) will miss this series. Giants are at full strength, although ace Juan Marichal just missed a start and will test a balky knee. 

Game 1: Giants 6-5 (11 innings)
Giants score single runs in innings 8 thru 11, first taking a lead, then needing to catch up, then taking the lead twice in extras.  Their 4th lead in the see-saw game was a charm.  Bumgarner and Matlack battled early, with Bum tosses along with Strawberry in the 6th after an HBP.  Giants rack up 3 homers: Cepeda (.249/17/66), Kent (.233/16/70) and finally going ahead to stay on McCovey's (.277/25/97) solo in the 11th off benitez (L 2-3, 4.68).  Wright (.279/17/76) homered for the Mets. Nen (W 2-1, 1.71) blew the save in the 10th but stayed on to win. 

Game 2: Giants 7-6
Another come from behind, as buster Posey's (4 hits, .220) double plates 3 with a double in the 6th to saddle Randy Myers with the L (5-5,4.95).
Perry and Leiter each gave up 4 runs in 5.2 IP, with Strickland (W 1-0, 0.00) proving his September callup was worthwhile. Todd Hundley (.219/2/11) had a pinch 3 run HR off Perry. 

Game 3: Mets 7-1
Marichal (L 15-8, 2.83) can't shake the rust off, walking 5 and allowing a pair of 3 run homers. Strawberry (.252/30/94) and Piazza (.254/16/73) did the damage.  Piazza's first round tripper since July 28.   Koosman (W 12-8, 3.69) turns in a strong 8 innings, allowing just a first inning run. 

Mets rough road to the finish doesn't begin well.  On to Philadephia. 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 8th, 2018, 11:28 am #663

NL East:  Braves Have Clinched
Sept 17 (doubleheader)-18  
Atlanta (96-53) has the best record in either league and are the only team to have clinched a division.  They've gone to a 6 man (adding Avery to the mix) rotation, hoping to keep everyone fresh.  Washington also has expanded the rotation, but it's all about fall auditions. Atlanta's David Justice is nursing a balky hamstring while Washington is without OFs Andre Dawson (toe) and Ellis Valentine (back), both of whom have been highly productive. Stephen Strasburg is also out. 

Game 1 (first of 2): Nationals 8-5
Maddux (L 16-8, 2.54) had to leave the Aug 30 game early, didn't start again until Sept 10, and tossed a shutout.  Today he regressed a bit, lasting just 4.2 innings and allowing 6 runs (5 ER) on 8 hits and walking 2.  He may appreciate the extra rest days.  Bryce Harper (.246/8/33) busts it open, making it 8-3 with a 2 run HR off Bedrosian. Ron Fairly (.257/8/33) 2 doubles, a single and a walk. He sports a .341 OBP, which is top 25 in the NL.
Javier Vazquez (W 10-8, 4.09) gets help from 5 guys after going 5.2.  

Game 2: Braves 7-0
Warren Spahn (W 12-11, 2.99), the ageless master at 41, cruises through eight and gives way to Gene Garber, who had not worked in a few days. 
Zimmerman (L 4-4, 2.83) allows 3 runs in 6 IP.  Furcal (.246) scores 3 runs without recording a hit. He's been a disappointment at the plate and the Braves are rumored to be considering Chipper Jones (stuck behind Mathews at 3B and serving as the regular DH) as a SS option for the playoffs.  Jeff Blauser, hitting .407 in limited duty, is also in the mix. 

Game 3: Braves 7-1
Smoltz (W 18-6, 3.09) ties teammate Glavine for the NL lead in wins with a nifty 8 innings of 5 hit ball.  Justice (3H, 3 RBIs, .243/13/52) and Aaron (.310/21/85) hit homers to power the offense.  Steve Rogers (L 9-12, 3.97) 6 innings, 4 runs.  

Moises Alou tears a groin in practice the following day as the Nats' outfield health woes continue. UTIL Bob "Beetle" Bailey and 1B Adam LaRoche have been added to the active roster.  Dawson is due to rejoin the team this week in the Miami series. 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 9th, 2018, 11:18 am #664

September 16-18  Miami at Philadelphia
Phils mathematically alive, but need long streak.
Phillies are just a game over .500. Mike Schmidt leads both leagues in HR and RBI. Tug McGraw is out. 
Miami is the NL's worst team, so this is a good place for Philly to start if they hope to run the table and earn a surprise playoff berth. 

Game 1: Phillies 9-5
Fourth inning homers by Chase Utley (.216/13/74) and Richie Allen (.268/20/65) sink Anibal Sanchez (L 1-5, 7.80). Jim Bunning (W 7-14, 4.45) pitches a strong 7 before the wheels fall off in the 8th.  Sheffield (.251/16/52) homered for Miami. Schmidt had the day off.

Game 2: Phillies 9-4
Schmidt's day off apparently was helpful, as the slugger bashed THREE bombs and a double, driving in 5 and scoring 4 times. He sits at .234/41/116.  Ryan Howard (.216/21/69) and Scott Rolen (.201/8/30) also went yard for the Phils as Carlton (6 IP, 4R, 3 ER, 7K, 0W, W 9-10, 4.28) gets an easy win.  Three inning save for Ron Reed, his first. Mike Lowell (.235/7/42) homered for Miami.

Game 3: Marlins 7-3
No sweep for the Phillies, whose playoff chances are pretty much gone.  Kevin Brown (W 10-14, 3.40) tosses a complete game without recording a strikeout and the Marlins finally have a 10 game winner. The 6-9 spots in the Miami order all drive in runs while 2-5 do not. Cole Hamels (L 14-12, 3.91) goes five. 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 10th, 2018, 6:19 pm #665

Huge AL Series
Sept 16-18 California at Oakland
Perched together atop the West at 83-66 and holding the top WC spot, this series has obvious importance.  There's also subtle importance to several other teams.  Baltimore, Milwaukee and Cleveland would no doubt love to see a sweep, regardless of winner, to help their chances in the WC.  Oakland has won 5 in a row. They get Joe Rudi and starting 2B Dick Green back before the end of the series and will be full strength when they do.  Angels are healthy. 

Game 1: A's 4-3
Make that six.  A pair of Canseco (.242/20/61) 2 run bombs account for all the offense necessary for Ken Holtzman (W 12-7,3.85), and friends Rollie Fingers (1 out to close the 8th) and Dennis Eckersley (S39, 0.68). Mike Trout (.277/21/81) manages a 2 run HR off Holtzman late but the A's bullpen carries the day. 

Game 2: Angels 13-3
California's hitters are on fire, scoring 85 runs in their last 11 games to fuel a 7-4 stretch.  A pair of timely homers turn today's tilt into a laugher. First Bobby Grich (.287/13/52) launches a 5th inning grand slam off Tim Hudson (L 15-11, 3.82) to break a 1-1 tie, and then in the 6th Buck Rodgers (.240/1/4) connects for 3 more runs off Grant Balfour.  Not to seem outdone, Grich goes back to back with his second of the game. Grich has been outstanding all year, with a .376 OBP, great defense and just enough pop in his leadoff role. Chuck Finley (W 16-8, 3.05) cruised thru six, allowing just one before giving way to Donnelly and Scot Shields, both in need of some work. 

Game 3: Angels 6-2
Halos not having much trouble solving the AL's top pitching staff.  They scratch out 3 early against Catfish Hunter (L 15-11,3.21) and add another in the 5th in support of Frank Tanana (W 13-10, 3.67), who's had a teriffic couple of months.  Tanana allows just 3 hits and fans 10, with the only blemishes a pair of solo HRs by Dick Green (.269/6/37) and Mark McGwire (.236/24/78). 

California takes a 1 game lead in the West. The two clubs meet again for 4 games in Anaheim next week in the season's penultimate series. Oakland also has Minnesota and Seattle, while Califorinia faces Seattle and Texas.  Slight schedule edge to the Angels. 

Both teams seem assured of at least a WC berth. Baltimore holds the second WC spot but the third contender (Milwaukee or Cleveland) is 4.5 behind California.  Baltimore's not quite as secure, with just 2 games on the pair of Central contenders.  
Quote
Like
Share

dzanr
Registered User
dzanr
Registered User
Joined: January 18th, 2007, 11:32 pm

July 10th, 2018, 6:28 pm #666

edliebfried wrote: California takes a 1 game lead in the West. The two clubs meet again for 4 games in Anaheim next week in the season's penultimate series. Oakland also has Minnesota and Seattle, while Califorinia faces Seattle and Texas.  Slight schedule edge to the Angels. 
Go Halos! 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 11th, 2018, 12:02 pm #667

AL Wild Card: Cleveland (78-71) at Milwaukee (78-71)
Both teams sit 2 games behind Baltimore (80-69) as the three battle for the second and final WC slot.  Whoever loses out in the West, California or Oakland, (see previous report) seems to have the insider track, so these teams both need a surge.  Cleveland took 2 of three against the Brewers at home last week. They're without one of their top bats in Manny Ramirez, having a disappointing year but still very dangerous. Brewers get Teddy Higuera (7-7, 4.03) back after a month, but Bill Wegman (8-6, 3.90) is still out.  They lack pitching depth, so these injuries have really hurt. 

Game 1: Indians 6-1
Higuera (4 IP, 3R, L 7-8, 4.10) hasn't won since June 8, when he was 7-1, 2.83 and had just 2 quality starts in 9 tries prior to going on the DL.  His return is underwhelming as Cleveland scored single runs in the 1st, 2nd and 4th. Chuck Crim, hurt by some poor D, then allows 3 more in the 5th and it's pretty much game over. Higuera magic is gone, and so perhaps is Brewer magic.  Bartolo Colon (W 11-10, 4.12) throws a solid six, and Sam McDowell makes a successful relief debut as the Tribe seems to shift toward other rotation options. McDowell's wildness just didn't play well at this level. 

Game 2: Indians 5-2
After both teams go scoreless thru three, Bosio (L 8-11, 4.97) struggles thru the middle innings allowing single runs in the 4th, 5th and 6th. Joe Carter (.200/9/25) and Carlos Baerga (.277/18/72) contribute solo homers, with Baerga adding another (with a runner on) off Sanders in the 8th. 
Baerga might well be the Indian MVP this year. Steve Hargan (W 6-9, 3.33) makes another effective start, pitching into the 8th, and Doug Jones picks up his ML leading 44th save. 3 hits for Kenny Lofton (.232), who also stole his 40th base. Brewers lose a key piece in SS Robin Yount (.253/14/61), who may or may not return by the end of the regular season.  Don Money will presumably start at short. Jeromy Burnitz (.258/6/21) had a homer off Jones in the 9th.

Game 3: Brewers 8-3
Brew Crew survives 3 errors, two by Money, coming from behind twice to win a sloppily played affair and salvage at least a glimmer of postseason hope. Prince Fielder's (.212.21/70) 2 run shot off Charles Nagy (L 7-12, 3.45) puts Milwaukee ahead to stay, taking Colborn (5 IP, 3R, 2ER) and giving Mike Fetters (W 2-1, 4.78) a relief win. Harvey's Wallbangers then bust it open, plating 4 in the 8th off 2 Indian relievers. Axford and Plesac are perfect over the last 3 frames. 

Indians move to within 1.5 games of Baltimore. The Birds have 6 with the mighty Red Sox, but with the Sox in control of the top playoff seed, they may get lucky and miss Martinez in the final series. 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 13th, 2018, 12:19 pm #668

AL Wild Card Thrown into Turmoil
Sept 17-19  Boston at Baltimore
Boston has only the formality of clinching left, and have owned the Birds, winning their last 8 meetings.  
Baltimore has command of the second WC spot, but face their nemesis 6 times before season's end. 
Orioles healthy, Sox without #3 starter Josh Beckett, and Boggs will miss a couple of games as well. 

Game 1: Red Sox 5-2
Reggie Smith (.285/14/76) goes 3 for 3 and knocks in 3 and David Ortiz adds a single and pair of doubles (41) and drives in his 100th run, and it adds up to a W for Jon Lester (6-6, 4.09).  The lefthander goes 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs. Milt Pappas (L 7-8, 4.73) is the victim. 

Game 2: Red Sox 2-1
Clemens (W 17-9, 3.31) survives 9 hits, 2 errors and 4 walks in his 8 innings, and Papelbon (S40, 2.95) comes up big. The Boston closer comes in with 2 on, gives up a hit to load the bases, and then Frank Robinson on a 1-2-3 double play and Powell on a harmless fly ball. Varitek's (.234/7/47) 2 run homer off Cuellar (L 10-9, 3.91) provides all the Sox offense.

Game 3: Red Sox 6-1 (and a huge scare)
Sox rough up Palmer (L 10-12, 3.92) as Garciaparra (.296/12/65) and Yastrzemski (.276/18/78) hit dingers.  The Oriole star fails to get an out in the 4th.  Meanwhile Sox' fans see their worst nightmare coming true as Mr Everything superstar pitcher Pedro Martinez fans leadoff man Singleton and then leaves the game with an apparent calf injury.  While it turns out not to be serious, Martinez will miss a start and may or may not get a tune-up appearance before the regular season ends. Sox bullpen rises to the challenge, with Stanley (2.2 scoreless, W 4-0, 4.52), Lowe (4 IP facing the minimum) and Radatz (2 IP, 1 unearned, 4Ks) coming up big. 

Sox Clinch and lead the season series between the two East leaders 13-3. 

Orioles now have big work to do.  They're tied with Cleveland with 10 to play, and both Kansas City and Milwaukee are just a game back. With the West runnerup likely to secure the first WC, the other spot is truly up for grabs. This would be a monumental collapse for Baltimore, who looked like the AL's best team early in the year. 
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 15th, 2018, 12:16 pm #669

Lobsters and Carp: Bottom Feeders
Sept 16-19 Texas at Tampa Bay
Fall auditions mean little-used September call-ups get a chance.  Position players like Dean Palmer, Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz, Ruben Sierra, Dioner Navarro, Akinori Iwamura, Jason Bartlett are seeing extra at-bats and Rick Helling gets his second start of the season in this series. 
Rocco Baldelli is still out (since July 4), as is C John Flaherty for the Rays. 

Game 1: Rangers 6-3 (11 inn.)
Bosman and Cobb battle to 3-3  before both are lifted in the 7th.  Both pens do well until Tampa closer Boxberger (L 2-10, 3.95) falls victim to a pair of errors, one his own and the other Evan Longoria's, allowing 3 unearned in the 11th.  Wetteland (W 2-3, 3.43) pitches the last 2 frames for Texas. Big game for Palmeiro (.244/27/75), reaching base 5 times on 3 hits and 2 walks. He also had the GWRBI. Carl Crawford's 3 hits bring his average to .307, but he's a bit short of qualifying. 

Game 2: Rangers 4-3
Come from behind win with Adrian Beltre (.268/7/43) capping an 8th inning rally to beat reliever Jeremy Hellickson (L 2-5, 4.61). Archer (5.1 IP, 2R) is denied the win and Darvish (6 IP, 3R) is taken off the hook with the win going to Dave Schmidt (3-3, 4.15). Jeff Russell called on, and delivers, his first save. Two solo dingers by Zobrist (.247/15/59) are wasted. Frank Howard's (.231/31/79) 2 run shot put Texas on the board and narrowed the lead to 3-2. 

Game 3: Rays 7-1
James Shields (W 6-13, 3.92) pitches into the ninth before allowing a run on a Palmeiro (32) homer. Five different guys drive in runs for Tampa against Medich (L 6-6, 4.63). 

Game 4: Rays 5-3
TWELVE walks by Texas pitchers, including 8 by starter Helling (L 0-2, 12.10), doom the Rangers.  Kazmir goes 7 (W2-3, 5.11) and gets late help from Wheeler and Boxberger (S11). Pudge Rodriguez (.210/10/37) has had an awful year at the plate and even lost a lot of playing time to Sundberg, but had a day today. 3 hits including a homer. 

Actually, aren't Rays bottom feeders, too?
Quote
Like
Share

edliebfried
Registered User
edliebfried
Registered User
Joined: October 7th, 2007, 9:19 am

July 17th, 2018, 10:50 am #670

AL Central: Tigers in Control
Sept 16-19 Seattle at Detroit
Detroit won 9 of 10 from August 25 thru Sept. 4 to take over the division, and after losing 2 of 3 to Cleveland, the lead is at 3.5 games. With 13 remaining, they can make it a commanding lead with a good series here. Seattle's been playing well, enjoying a 12-8 stretch that includes series wins over contenders KC and St Louis as well as splits with KC and Milwaukee.  Both teams healthy

Game 1: Tigers 3-2
Detroit manages just 3 hits, but two are homers that produce enough runs to win. Kirk Gibson (.229/15/46) and Dick McAuliffe (.302/2/6) do the trick with the seldom-used utility man breaking the 2-2 tie in the 8th to ruin a complete game effort by Iwakuma (L 12-10, 3.41). Dan Petry tosses seven innings of 2-hit ball. He's got a 2.63 ERA over 8 starts as the Tigers' go-to sixth starter. John Hiller blew the lead, and Hank Aguirre (W 2-2, 4.11) fails to get his lefty (Griffey game-tying 2 run single) vultures an undeserved win. Hernandez (S22, 3.53)

Game 2: Tigers 5-1
Verlander (W 14-9, 2.80) benefits from an early 4-0 lead and cruises in this one.  Freddy Garcia (L 1-1, 5.55) is wild and allows those runs in the 4th, but settles down to pitch well through six.  McAuliffe contributes a triple and a walk as Whitaker gets a day off (he played third yesterday). Tigers get just 5 hits and have won twice on just 8.  Both teams lose a right fielder as Suzuki (2 days) and Higginson (at least a week) go down. Tiger magic number at 7. 

Game 3: Tigers 6-1
This time it's Denny McLain (W 13-6, 2.78) baffling the Mariners with 8 innings of walk-free, 6 hit ball.  Tigers plate a pair off Langston (L 5-9, 6.29) in the 1st inning and Trammell's (.262/5/44) 2 run homer in the second make it an easy win for Detroit. Later, PR Ron LeFlore steals second and third,  and scores on a Valle throwing error. Mike Schooler then drills Freehan and a donnybrook ensues with both parties ejected.  Five game lead for the Tigers with 10 to go. 

Game 4: Tigers 3-1
Gibson singles home two in the first off Felix hernandez (L 9-15, 4.25) and Max Scherzer (W 11-13, 3.99) allows just a single unearned run in his seven innings.  Three relievers finish it off with Hernandez recording save #23. Seattle failed to homer in the 4 game set as the Detroit lead in the Central grows to 5.5 games over the Indians. 
Quote
Like
Share