We've seen this before (cont.)
Dud of the Day
The Twins, a half-game up in the American League Central, had a chance to get close to capturing the division title with a win Saturday over the Royals. Starter Glen Perkins wasn't lights out, by any stretch, but he kept alive that chance by allowing four hits and a run in five innings.
And then came Boof Bonser, in the sixth, with the Twins up, 2-1. Four straight singles later -- without recording so much as a single out -- Bonser had coughed up the tying run. An inning after that, the Royals scored two more runs and coasted to a 4-2 win.
The Twins still lead the Central by a half-game over the White Sox. It could have been so much more.
Quote of the Day
"We're so lucky. I don't think we realize how lucky we are right now. Getting swept [by Minnesota earlier in the week] and lose another series [to the Indians] and we still have a chance to win this thing?" -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
Kind of fitting, I think, that the Mets will turn to lefty Oliver Perez in the final game. No pitcher on the team has done less with more talent and more potential than Perez. Rivals and teammates rave about his pure "stuff," then shake their heads over his apparent lack of focus. He had eight strikeouts and gave up only two hits in a seven-inning stint against the Marlins in August, for example. And in his last outing, against the Cubs last week, he walked five and gave up six hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings. In a lot of ways, Perez is like his team. You never know what you're going to get.
Does anybody want to win the AL Central? The Sox, as Guillen points out, are lucky to be anywhere close to the division title after a 12-6 whitewashing by the Indians on Saturday. (The White Sox, remember, gave up 11 runs to the Indians on Friday night.) The funny thing about it is that this could drag on for days. If the difference between the Twins and ChiSox is still a half-game after Sunday -- if both teams win or both lose -- the Sox will have to play a makeup game against the Tigers in Chicago. If the division is tied after that makeup game, the Sox and Twins will play a one-game playoff for the title.
Javier Vazquez hasn't exactly won the confidence of Guillen yet, has he? The enigmatic righty was good through four innings Saturday against the Indians, but working on short rest, he gave up a three-run double to Asdrubal Cabrera in the fifth inning and ended up allowing seven runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. Ugh.
The Sox get a break Sunday in that the Indians will not start likely Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who has a sore neck. Bryan Bullington will go against Mark Buehrle.
Short rest? How about CC Sabathia on short rest for the third time in a row? Again, with 244 innings already logged this season, it's fair to wonder if that wall isn't right around the corner for the Brewers' big left-hander.
You have to wonder, too, what will happen to the Brewers even if they find their way into the postseason. They'll have a dead-tired Sabathia. Ben Sheets barely lasted two innings in a loss Saturday to the Cubs, his elbow a piece of junk and his free-agency winter in danger of taking a huge hit. He's probably done for the season. Closer Salomon Torres is having his problems, as evidenced by a ninth-inning homer he gave up Saturday to the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome. (Torres has a 6.40 ERA in September.) It's looking like it will be even tougher for the Brewers to stay in the postseason than to get there. And getting there has been a bear.
What a way for the Phillies to close out the NL East title. Beautiful double play to end the game against the Nationals on Saturday, with the bases loaded and one out. And who should start it? Jimmy Rollins, of course.
Another reason the Cubs are favored by many in the NL: Ted Lilly. Or, to be more accurate, the depth of the Cubs' starting pitching, featuring Ted Lilly. Even if Carlos Zambrano isn't 100 percent healthy -- and it now looks like he won't start Sunday against the Brewers -- the Cubs can fall back on someone like Lilly, who completely baffled Milwaukee on Saturday.
So how do the people in New York feel, watching helplessly as the Cubs start Angel Guzman instead of Zambrano against the Brewers? The Cubs aren't exactly giving the Brewers their best shot, are they? To Mets' fans, it shouldn't even matter. The Mets have to win their game against Florida. Forget the B-league lineup the Cubs may throw out there against the rival Brewers. The Mets have to win.
It's a day-night doubleheader in Boston against the Yankees to end the season. And it doesn't mean a thing. If ever there were a time for the sellout streak to end at Fenway Park, this would be it.
Congratulations to Brewers' fans are in order. The Brewers blew past the 3 million mark in attendance Saturday with a crowd of more than 45,000. For a team that hasn't made it to the postseason since 1982, 3 million says an awful lot.
Remarkable: The Indians assured themselves of at least a .500 record with their win Saturday over the White Sox. At 16 games under .500 (37-53) on July 9 after a 10-game losing streak, the Indians are 44-27 since. That's a lot closer to the Cleveland team that we all expected to see this season.