It goes without saying that last night was one of the greatest regular season nights in baseball history. Two of the Wild Card games went 12 innings or more and another game was won with a two out rally in the bottom of the ninth. I was fortunate enough to be watching in Philadelphia so I could watch the Phillies on CSN, Red Sox-Orioles on ESPN, and Cardinals-Astros on ESPN2. The longer the night went on the more crazy it got.
Steak and Eggs and boy, was last night a treat for baseball fans. Wild Card Wednesday was more wild than you could ever imagine.
Let’s get started with the only non-suspense filled game. The Cardinals blanked the Astros last night 8-0 behind ace Chris Carpenter and a five run explosion in the first inning off former Phillie Brett Myers. This game started an hour later than the other three but ended a solid 45 minutes before any of the other three ended. More here.
The Phillies and Braves went at it last night too and they needed a little bit more than nine innings. The Phillies got a quick run in the first but the Braves responded in the bottom half to tie it at 1. Dan Uggla hit a two run homerun in the third inning to give them a 3-1 lead. Tim Hudson looked good until he ran into trouble in the seventh. The Phillies got a run in the seventh then Chase Utley came through with a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the ninth. In the thirteenth, Hunter Pence came through with a huge infield single that brought home Brian Schneider. David Herndon closed the door in the home half and the Braves, thanks to the Cardinals win earlier, were eliminated from playoff contention. More here.
Moving on to the Red Sox-Orioles. The Red Sox and Orioles were playing a back and forth game through the first couple of innings. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia seemed to be the spark that the Sox needed driving in the first run in the third, then hitting the go ahead home run in the fifth. Then came the hour and 26 minute rain delay. The Red Sox came back from the rain delay and weren’t the same. They were getting outs when needed but the pitchers were putting runners on base. Heading into the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2, Jonathan Papelbon came on. He got two quick outs then Chris Davis doubled down the right field line. Nolan Reimold, with two strikes and two outs, doubled into left center to drive in Davis to tie the game. Robert Andino then singled to left that hit Carl Crawford’s glove and that drove home Reimold as the Orioles pull out the 4-3 win. More here.
The Yankees and Rays game was a little different. The Yankees jumped out to a seven nothing lead and had all but shut down the Rays until the eighth inning. Johnny Damon lead off with a single. After another single and two hit batsmen, the Rays were finally on the board. The Rays cut the lead to 7-3 when Evan Longoria stepped up and hit a two out three run home run to cut the Yankee lead to 7-6. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees got the first two outs then, with two strikes and two outs (notice a theme here) pinch hitter Dan Johnson hit a solo home run down the right field line to tie the game. It would remain that way until, three minutes after the Red Sox lost, with one out in the bottom of the 12th Evan Longoria hit a solo homerun to left field to win it for the Rays and they clinched the AL Wild Card. More here.
Video of the Day:
As Shane Victorino said so eloquently today on Twitter, "This wild card stuff is shaping up to be rather WILD..."
It definitely shaping up to be one of the most memorable Wild Card race and Wild Card collapses in recent memory. The Red Sox were a half game out of 1st place in the AL East, and on pace to win 98 games as of September 3rd. Now, they are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card tonight and need Tampa Bay to lose tonight to the Yankees to keep their season alive. Boston is playing the Baltimore Orioles. The Atlanta Braves had an 8.5 game lead in the NL Wild Card three weeks ago. They are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals with the same scenario as the Red Sox.
Now for me, this has been a great season to watch baseball. Aside from the fact that the Phillies have pretty much dominated and secured the best record in baseball, this Wild Card race has been nothing short of captivating. Who would have thought that the Red Sox, a team that many people (even Whiz Wit writers) picked to go to the World Series would be in as bad of a slide as they are in now. Boston can't seem to buy a win. (See what I did there?) Atlanta seemed to have their playoff spot locked up less than a month ago, but their struggles, coupled with a surge by the Cardinals has made the NL Wild Card race almost as exciting as the AL's.
Among all of this is MLB trying to increase the amount of teams entering the playoff bracket. Um why? Why take away from the excitement of a collapse, or of a streaky team in September. Now I know Moneyball teaches us that there is no such thing as hot streaks, or being "clutch" but I still believe in it. Teams that get hot in September can really make a push to and through the playoffs.By adding another team to the playoffs, MLB would be rewarding teams like Boston and Atlanta for having solid regular seasons, with absolutely awful Septembers. Also, if MLB was to add a whole extra series for the extra teams, the 1st place team has to sit, and then the World Series extends either further into November. And no one wants to play baseball in New York or Philadelphia in October let alone November. I believe that MLB was discussion the ideas of either adding another series or having a so-called "play-in" game. But we could have a proverbial play-in game if the teams in the race have the same records after tonight. Thus adding to the excitement.
My advice to MLB would be to keep the structure the way it is. All 162 games count. Let the teams battle it out to the end. If a resurgent team like the Cardinals takes advantage of the Braves misfortunes (I won't cal it a collapse as of now). Adding that extra team would take away from this kind of excitement during September when fans interest is peaking after somewhat of a drop in interest during the middle months of the season.
What are your opinions? Leave the Playoffs how they are? Add two Wild Card teams?
Also, you can trade managers? Tell me you didn't laugh at that.
Steak and Eggs! Exciting night last night and only going to get more exciting tonight as it comes down to game 162 for the Rays, Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals.
The Phillies took it to the Braves last night at Turner Field 7-1. They roughed up Braves starter Derek Lowe, dropping him to 9-17 on the year. Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Hunter Pence all went deep for the Phillies. The Phillies tied the franchise record for wins in a season with 101 and Charlie Manuel tied Gene Mauch for most wins all time as Phillies manager. More here.
The Cardinals took advantage of the Braves loss last night by exploding in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings to a 13-6 win over the Astros to tie up the NL Wild Card race. Cards ace Chris Carpenter faces off against former Phillie Brett Myers tonight in Houston. More here.
The Red Sox squeaked out an 8-7 victory over the Orioles last night. Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon got Adam Jones to ground out to third with the tying run on second to end the game. They remain tied with the Rays for the AL Wild Card lead. More here.
The Rays and Red Sox remain tied because the Rays beat the Yankees 5-3 last night at Tropicana Field. The Rays even turned a triple play to get out of a bases loaded jam in the 6th. More here.
Video of the Game:
This week's Top Ten includes New York taking multiple swipes at Philadelphia, Flyers hitting hard, actual NBA news, and the Rays new out of town scoreboard.
Steak and Eggs for breakfast!
The Phillies dropped their fifth straight game last night to the Nationals 7-5. This is the first time since May 22-27, 2010 that the Phillies have lost five straight and the first time they have lost five straight at home since June 16-21, 2009. But let’s look on the bright side… the Phillies made the World Series in 2009. More here.
The Yankees have officially won the AL East but what is more intriguing is the Boston Red Sox losing streak. The Sox dropped another yesterday game yesterday but, luckily for them, the Rays lost both games of their doubleheader to the Yankees. The Red Sox Wild Card lead is at 2 ½ games. More here.
The Braves lost last night to the Marlins 4-0 and the Cardinals beat the Mets 6-4 which means the Braves’ Wild Card lead is down to 1 ½ games with the Cardinals having a game in hand. Both the NL and AL Wild Card races are crazy close. More here.
As if the Big 12 hasn’t lost enough already, reports surfaced last night that the Commissioner of the Big 12, Dan Beebe, plans to step down as commissioner. What more could possibly happen that could shake the power conferences across college sports? More here.
Video of the Day:
Courtesy of Ryan Warrender (@rmwfranchise) and CheckThisTrack.com (@CheckThisTrack)
Steak and Eggs! Let’s dive right in….
The Phillies dropped both games of a doubleheader yesterday with the Washington Nationals. The Phillies have lost four straight at home for the first time this season and have lost four straight for only the third time this season. They get back at it tonight with Vance Worley going for the Phillies and the Nationals countering with lefty John Lannan. More here.
The Red Sox lost again last night. Luckily for them the Yankees beat the Rays so their Wild Card lead remains at 2 games but the Yankees magic number to clinch the AL East is now down to 1. More here.
The NFL is going to crackdown on faking injuries. In response to the unsportsmanlike injury faking by the NY Giants on Monday Night Football, the league will fine players/teams, suspend players, and/or take away draft picks if they start faking injuries. Today’s Video of the Day is of Giants safety Deon Grant faking an injury and completely disrupting the Rams drive towards the endzone. More here.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are taking pages from the Carolina Panthers. The Jaguars plan to start rookie Blaine Gabbert Sunday against the Panthers. This is a big matchup of the first two quarterbacks taken in the 2011 Draft with No.1 overall pick Cam Newton starting for the Panthers and No. 10 overall pick Blaine Gabbert starting for the Jaguars. The Jaguars surprisingly let go of former Pro Bowl QB David Garrard and handed the reins to Luke McCown. After McCown put up a QB rating of 1.8 on Sunday against the Jets(no that is no error, that was his actually rating), coach Jack Del Rio announced Gabbert will start this coming Sunday. More here.
One of the great American hockey players of all time retired today. Former Stars great Mike Modano, who spent last year in Detroit, announced his retirement at the age of 41. Modano is the all time leader in goals and points among U.S. born players. He also made a cameo appearance in Disney’s The Mighty Ducks. More here.
Video of the Day:
Welcome to the Top Ten! Here are some of the week’s top ten moments that you might not have seen.
Good Morning everyone! Steak and Eggs for breakfast to kick off your weekend!
Big day in the sports world in Philadelphia. Temple welcomes Penn State to the Linc this afternoon for a noon kickoff. The last time that temple beat Penn State was in 1941. Tailgating starting early this morning at the Linc. More here.
In addition to PSU vs. Temple, there is also baseball to be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies dropped the opener of a four game series vs. the Cardinals last night 4-2 in 11 innings. Carlos Ruiz’s two out, two strike hit to right field was dropped by Corey Patterson to allow pinch runner Michael Martinez to score from second to tie the game. Michael Schwimer decided he had enough baseball in the 11th inning and gave up two runs which proved to be too much for the Phillies to overcome. However, the Braves lost to the Mets so the Phillies magic number shrunk to one game. Roy Oswalt takes the mound to try and secure the Phillies 5th straight division title tonight. More here.
Just when you thought that you finally understood what teams were in what conferences, Pitt and Syracuse threw a wrench into things yesterday. Reports from high ranking ACC officials say that the two schools have applied to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. More here.
The Detroit Tigers became the first team in baseball to clinch their division. The Tigers clinched the AL Central division last night for the first time since 1987 with a 3-1 win over Oakland. More here.
The Red Sox got back on the winning track last night with a 4-3 win over the Rays. They expanded their Wild Card lead to four games over the Rays last night. More here.
Boise State QB Kellen Moore showed last night why he should be considered for the Heisman Trophy. Moore threw for 455 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 40-15 win over Toledo. More here.
Video of the Day:
Here we are the All-Star break and the Phillies and Red Sox are atop each of their respective leagues. How is that the case? They were projected to be the two best teams in their leagues but those predictions are never correct. How can this possibly be? Before you get excited or upset, let’s make this clear, the Phillies still have 73 regular season games remaining. So, basically, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.