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Thursday, September 25, 2003
Marlins edge closer to winning wild card. They took a 6-0 lead into the 8th and almost blew it, but they held on to beat the Phillies 6-5. The Marlins lead the Phillies and Astros by 3 games. (Yahoo!)

Astros top Giants to end four-game skid. Viz-ca-i-no (clap clap) Viz-ca-i-no (clap clap). (Yahoo!)

Cubs rout Reds, preserve NL Central lead. Shawn Estes pitched a 4-hit shutout, 8-0. (Yahoo!)

Prospectus Triple Play: Angels, Cubs, Tigers.
Last night's Cubs game was certainly one of the biggest games ever started by a pitcher as bad as Shawn Estes. There have been hurlers with ERAs over 6.00 through the years, but how often are those pitchers starting games for contending teams in late September? Although there is a tendency to blame Baker for continuing to trot Estes out there, what choice did he really have? The only other viable starter on the roster is Juan Cruz, who has pitched as poorly as Estes this year. The Cubs braintrust has been the hamstrung by a paradox, possessing one of the league's best rotations yet desperately needing another starting pitcher.

Last night we were all reminded again of why its always worthwhile to tune in to the games, just in case. Estes made Baker look like a genius by tossing a brilliant four-hit shutout, maintaining the Cubs one-game division lead with four to play. No one should have been surprised: Dusty Baker has spent the entire season, heck, several seasons, making decisions that defy analysts. Yet here he is, on the verge of another post-season.
(Baseball Prospectus)

Derek: "You'll notice the name of this blog has changed. There was someting of a revolution within the blog staff last night and the rebels have taken over. Their mission statement is simple: 'Dusty Baker is a freakin' genius. No criticism of Dusty Baker shall henceforth be tolerated. Any such criticism by any member of the DBIAFG staff will be punishable by the termination of said employee, his/her direct report(s) and his/her immediate supervisor(s).'" (Dusty Baker Is a Freakin' Genius)

Angels push M's to brink of elimination. John Lackey pitched a 5-hit shutout, 4-0. The M's are still alive, though, because the Red Sox lost. (Yahoo!)

Tigers doing their best to avoid infamy. They've won two in a row, and are stuck at 118 losses. (Yahoo!)

Pitching Under Stress. The Indians' approach to minimizing injuries to pitchers. Part IV of the Rethinking the Game Plan series. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Prospectus Triple Play: Orioles, Rockies, Mets. "If they do the right things, the Mets will be right back in contention in 2005. They may have to settle for a down year in 2004: they're in a tough division, and would be wiser to save their money for when they're a little more ready to contend. An obstacle is their huge revenue stream: with that kind of money flowing in, it's tempting always to spend it. This is the sort of nonsense that got the Mets into this trouble in the first place, and if they're going to throw some of their cash around this winter, they should target younger players entering their prime. The greatest advantage of their woeful present state is that even the most deluded GM can't possibly suggest, for the umpteenth year in a row, that the Mets are just a veteran or two away." (Baseball Prospectus)

Baseball Prospectus Chat: Derek Zumsteg.
Jimmie (Tacoma, WA): What in the heck is up (or not up, as the case may be) with Ichiro this season? Is he trying to hard or has he been figured out?

Derek Zumsteg: Every year, there are people that think he's been figured out, and the next year, he tears up a storm. Last year, I attributed his late-season problems to that run-in with a wall he had, but after this year, I'm not so sure... maybe he really can't play 162 games a year, and needs a lot more frequent rest because he's so intense when he's on the field. That's a huge problem in Seattle, where their bench often includes whoever delivered the Gatorade that day as the pinch-hitter.
(Baseball Prospectus)

Whitney: "The Mets finish up against the Pirates tonight, then head to Miami for three against the wild card-leading Marlins. Despite the wins against the Bucs, hear me now and believe me later: The Marlins will coast into the playoffs on the New York Mets. I knew we'd screw the Phillies somehow, it just wasn't via beating them in baseball games." (Misery Loves Company)

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