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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Mariners close gap in wild-card race. Jamie Moyer to the rescue, again. The Red Sox were shut out for the first time at Fenway this year, so the M's are only 1 1/2 games out. (Yahoo!)

Rogers shuts down Sox as Twins pad lead. They now lead the AL Central by 2 1/2 games. The White Sox try to avoid a sweep tonight. (Yahoo!)

Buda: "From the innings I have been able sit through, this is what I’ve taken from the games. The Twins haven’t pitched that well. I think the Sox are just choking." (Chisox Daily, September 18)

Aaron Gleeman: "If I were the White Sox, I'd start worrying about trying to beat Kansas City for second-place, because at least that's something they might have a chance at. Personally, I hope the Royals beat the snot out of Chicago during the 7 games they have left against each other before the end of the season. Why? Because I am sick of the Chicago White Sox. Over the last several seasons, they have been the cockiest team to have never won a single thing that I have ever seen. I think Twins play-by-play man Dick Bremer said it best during a broadcast a few weeks ago. When told by Bert Blyleven that the White Sox seemed confident and were doing a lot of talking, Bremer quickly replied, 'They did plenty of talking last year too, and they were 15 games back.'" (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Cubs' Wood four-hits Mets, wins 2-0. The Cubs are now only a half-game behind the Astros, who lost to the Rockies. (Yahoo!)

Al Yellon:
I can't say enough about how Kerry Wood stepped up today, throwing his best overall game of the year, striking out 11, walking only one, and throwing a fairly efficient 125 pitches (well, fairly efficient for him, at least - he also hit his 21st batter of the season, one short of the Cubs club record that has stood since 1900, and the most in a single season by anyone since the Angels' Tom Murphy hit 21 in 1969) as the Cubs shut out Al Leiter and the Mets 2-0, for now, moving to within one game of the Astros pending their game tonight at Colorado, and accomplishing the following statistical feats on what was an absolutely tourist-guide-perfect weather day, 78 degrees, low humidity and bright sunshine:

* They swept their first series at home this year (yes, true, believe it or not);
* They swept the Mets for the first time in eleven seasons (since August 1992);
* They sold out the ballpark, drawing 38,482; I don't have exact figures but there must have been at least 6 or 7 thousand tickets sold today alone; that makes the season total 2,882,569, extending the record set yesterday, boosted the per-game average to 36,956, needing 117,431 or 39,143 per game to break the 3,000,000 mark;
* The entire bullpen got the day off, great news with tomorrow's off day and a doubleheader Friday in Pittsburgh;
* The 82nd win of the season clinched a winning season, the fifth in the last eleven years.
(and another thing!, September 17)

Marlins rout Phillies. Florida's lead over Philadelphia is back to 1 1/2 games. (Yahoo!)

Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "Thirteen years is an eternity in baseball, and requires a roster to be turned over two or three times or four times; the Braves have maintained success at each juncture. No team in the Free Agency era has put up a run anything like what the Braves' have, and no team is likely to any time soon." (Baseball Prospectus)

Christopher Young:
Let’s say that the Red Sox head into their final weekend at Tampa Bay leading the wild-card race by a game over Seattle, with the M’s wrapping up the regular season with a three-game home series against the division-winning A’s.

This is where things could get interesting. Suppose Oakland decided two things: first, that it will rest the regulars, and secondly, that it will get its post-season rotation in order...By losing those final three games in Seattle to the Mariners, the A’s not only rejuvenate their line-up for the upcoming week, but also, by extension, give Seattle three much-needed wins in order to secure the wild-card.

But the A’s would be doing themselves another favor as well. If they allow Seattle to take the wild-card instead of Boston, the playoff alignment would change, and no longer would Boston — as the wild-card champ — come to Oakland for the division series...Oakland would instead draw the AL Central Division winner in the first round.

In that scenario, Boston would need to sweep the Devil Rays in that regular-season finale to clinch the wild-card; otherwise, if Boston took only two of three, it would finish tied with Seattle, necessitating a one-game playoff to determine the wild-card champ. And the locale would be — you guessed it — Seattle, where the Sox would have to fly immediately following the Tampa series for the winner-take-all clash the next day.
(Boston Phoenix)

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