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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Friday, September 26, 2003
Marlins clinch tie for NL wild card. The Phillies led the wild-card standings Saturday but have lost five consecutive games since. They finished 6-13 against Florida this season and lost their final seven games in Miami. (Yahoo!)

If I understand the playoff tiebreaker system as it's explained by Christian Ruzich, the only way the Marlins can miss the playoffs is if...

The Marlins lose three straight to the Mets
The Astros win three straight from the Brewers
The Cubs win three straight from the Pirates

The Astros and Cubs would tie for the NL Central title at 89-73, and the Marlins would also finish 89-73. Houston and Chicago would play a one-game playoff, with the winner taking the division title and the loser then facing Florida in another one-game playoff. The winner of that second playoff game would be the wild-card team. Any Marlins win, Cubs loss, or Astros loss this weekend wraps up the wild card for the Marlins.

Ensberg, Astros tie for NL Central lead. Houston fans had fun watching both the game and the scoreboard (the Cubs lost). (Yahoo!)

John Lauck: "For their part, the Cubs have their deadliest trio--Matt Clement, Mark Prior, and Kerry Wood--going against the Pirates at Wrigley this weekend. That may sound to some of you like a trio that can't be beat, and maybe it can't be. But I'll tell you true: I like the Pirate rotation opposing them--Josh Fogg, Ryan Vogelsong, and Kip Wells--and, what's just as important, I like the scrappy way the Pirates are finishing the season. The weekend will not be an easy one for Chicago." (Astros Daily)

Red Sox clinch final AL playoff spot. (Yahoo!)

Paul Testa: "Whatever happens over the next month this has been the best Red Sox team I have watched in my lifetime. Good luck the rest of the way." (Musings from RSN)

Gregg Rosenthal:
Somewhere around the time Derek Lowe lost his no hitter last night, that game started to drag. I wanted to celebrate, but were these guys? By the eighth, we were fielding an infield of Andy Abad, Lou Merloni, Mike Benjamin, and Chris Snopek. I think Lee Tinsley was out in left.

There was obviously no tension in the game, so the celebration took center stage. We can’t help but get gooey over these men acting like goofy kids. The only dry man in the clubhouse was Tom Werner. That’s respect.

For a night, it was all about us. The NESN post-game show was the best TV since the Soprano’s episode where Ralphie got killed. Asked about his lack of playing time early in the season, Ortiz said, “It’s all about the fans. They got me in the lineup… I love them.” Did you hear Ortiz? It was us that got him in the lineup, us that signed him, us that knew the Hillenbrand trade was genius all along. Whole lotta love.
(Gregg's Baseball, etc.)

Jays' Delgado hits four home runs. He's the 15th major leaguer to do that. (Yahoo!)

Coach: "Carlos Delgado is the best Blue Jay ever. Craig said it on the game thread, and if anyone else had any doubts, they should be long gone, like the slugger's fourth home run last night." (Batter's Box)

Tigers beat Twins for third straight win.
DETROIT (AP) -- Looking as if they had clinched a playoff spot, the Detroit Tigers mobbed Shane Halter when he crossed home plate.

Halter hit a two-out, solo home run in the 11th inning and the suddenly successful Tigers snapped Minnesota's 11-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory Thursday night.

With their third straight win, the Tigers would have to lose their final three games of the season to break the post-1900 record of 120 defeats by the 1962 New York Mets.
And even if they did, they'd still have a better winning percentage than those Mets. So there. (Yahoo!)

The 2003 Aaron's Baseball Blog Awards: Most Valuable Player.

Aaron Gleeman answers his mail.
I think there is a tendency in baseball to overlook the stars and try to pump up the secondary players on a team. It's the sort of thing that causes someone to say that a player that quite clearly has not been the best on a team is that team's "real MVP." I see it every year in tons of articles from writers across the country and I suspect you all hear it on the various games you watch on TV. "Player X is the real MVP on this team, even though he's only hitting .276 with 14 homers. He's the heart and soul of the ballclub."

Cliches can be fun and there is nothing wrong with giving compliments to a role player, but instead of completely exaggerating the value of a player and completely downplaying the value of another, why isn't it enough to just say that you think someone is an underrated player or that he is very important to the team?

I really did not mean this to be anything against David Ortiz or "Dave," the person who emailed me, although I suspect it looks that way. I just think it is funny that I list 10 players on my MVP ballots and immediately get a couple dozen emails telling me that I am wrong, and that David Ortiz or Bill Mueller or Magglio Ordonez or Carlos Beltran or Shannon Stewart or Miguel Tejada or Eric Chavez deserve to be ranked ahead of someone on my ballot. And that's just for the American League. Not everyone can be in the top 10 and the player you think should be there and isn't is not the only player to get lots of "big hits" while being the "soul" of his team.
(Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Buda asked Twins fans why they hate the White Sox so much, and today he posts their responses along with his comments. "Bottom line, I don’t see a lot of reasons to be hating the Sox...[M]ostly, I think it's good old fashioned rivalry. The Twins have come out on top the last two years, but please quit acting like you're the 27 Yankees. You're maybe the fourth best team in the AL, probably 5th best, with the Sox right behind you. Let's keep things in perspective." (Chisox Daily, September 26)

Prospectus Triple Play: Expos, Giants, Blue Jays. "Team MVP: Barry Bonds. Yes, that's the kind of radical insightful analysis you can only get with BP. It's more interesting to try to name the second-most valuable position player on the club; the Bonds-led Giants are as close to a one-man team, or at least a one-man offense, as you'll find in a postseason qualifier in memory. For number two, we'll go with Jose Cruz Jr., who distinguished himself among a crowded field of unspectacular hitters with his spectacular arm. Cruz also has the distinction of being the most valuable number-eight hitter in the league, thanks to Felipe Alou's unusual lineup construction strategies." (Baseball Prospectus)

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