Well, its official The Yankees have been eliminated from the Wild Card race and it appears the Mets will get in. Nothing left to do this weekend other than play spoiler, and watch who gets to play in the WC games.
I remember five years ago on the last day of the season we saw one of the wildest days in baseball as several teams were fighting for a playoff spot. I remember sitting with my significant other (yes, she’s a baseball fan) and my remote firmly in hand watching the Yankee-Rays game and switching back and forth to catch the playoff chaos unfold.
The Red Sox and Rays were tied for the Wild Card, which was unreal in itself considering the fact that less than a month earlier, Boston held a nine-game lead in the Wild Card standings. After an awful September, they were fighting for their lives in Baltimore. The Rays were doing the same at home against the Yanks who already clinched the AL East title. The Yankees were cruising past the Rays, holding a cozy 7-0 lead in the eighth inning. Game over, right? Instead, the Yankees coughed up six runs in the eighth, followed by a game tying homer from Dan Johnson (who?) in the bottom of the 9th. It was Johnson’s first major league hit since April of that year. Meanwhile Boston held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases empty and the O’s down to their last out. Boston actually had the bases loaded in the top half of the ninth, but a double play ended their bid for insurance runs.
Clicking back to the Yankee game, the Bombers fail to score in the top of the 12th, so back to the Red Sox game. Chris Davis doubles with two outs in the ninth, followed by another double from Nolan Reimold to tie the game. Robert Andino then hit the walk-off, leaving the Red Sox wondering what had just happened. Click-Evan Langoria (a Yankee killer) is at bat. He rips a line drive walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th to beat the Yankees, and just like that, the Rays were in and the Sox were out. That was just the half of it.
The Braves are in a do-or-die situation for Game 162 against the Phillies. Meanwhile, the surging Cardinals looked to sneak in as the Wild Card team with a win in Houston. Im watching that game and the Cards are winning something like 6-0, so quickly I hit the remote once gain. Back to Atlanta, Braves are holding a one-run lead against the Phils with Craig Kimbrel and his 46 saves looking to shut the door. He didn’t. The Phillies tied the game and eventually took the lead in the 13th on a bloop hit from Hunter Pence to seal Atlanta’s fate. Meanwhile in St. Louis , it’s a final, the Cards beat the Astros 7-0.
I want to thank, my remote, YES, ESPN, FOX and MLB Network for one of the best days in baseball history. Without looking it up, do you remember who won the World Series??
Like his playing days, Mark Texiera’s playing time had dwindled. Last night he was in the the line-up and good thing he was. Teixeira hit a game-winning grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Yankees staved off playoff elimination at the last possible instant with a 5-3 victory over their rivals the Boston Red Sox.
We all know the Yankees chances of making the playoffs are almost impossible, but just for one night, their very slim hopes were kept alive. The Bombers had only one infield hit and trailed 3-0 heading into the ninth, with Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel jogging in from the bullpen on a misty and blustery night in the Bronx. Brett Gardner led off the inning with a single, and Kimbrel then walked Jacoby Ellsbury and Gary Sanchez. Brian McCann, Kimbrel’s former battery mate in Atlanta, fought off four two-strike pitches to work a 10-pitch walk that forced in a run and spelled the end of Kimbrel’s night.
Red Sox manager John Farrell turned to Joe Kelly, who struck out Starlin Castro and retired Didi Gregorius on a foul popup. With the Yankees down to their last out, Teixeira launched a 99 mph fastball on an 0-1 count into the New York bullpen in right-center. Yankees relievers raised their arms in excitement, and Teixeira puffed his cheeks and spread his arms wide as he rounded first base. The 36-year-old slugger, in his 14th and final big league season, tossed his helmet as happy Yankee players poured out of the dugout to swarm him at home plate.
I have always like Texiera, especially his defense, but have been critical of his constant injuries and his habit of striking out looking. He has had his moments in his 8 years as a Yankee and I have to admit I’ll miss him. If the 409th home run of his career happens to be his last, I’ll have no complaints. Thanks Tex!
Dellin Betances has hit a wall in September and hit it hard. He’s allowed 13 runs in 8.1 innings this month while also putting 19 guys on base. Two nights ago Dellin faced three batters and didn’t retire any of them before giving way to Tommy Layne. Opponents have hit .282/.404/.385 against Betances in September. Dellin Betances is officially broken
The biggest problem with Betances, as it often is, are the walks and an overall lack of control. He’s walked eight in 8.1 innings this month after walking 20 batters in his first 63.2 innings of the season. The other night Dellin threw three strikes out of eleven total pitches, and he wasn’t exactly missing just off the plate. It wasn’t a bunch of borderline calls going against him. He was all over the place!
A few years back the Yankees project him as a starter. He walked 69 batters in 74.2 innings as Triple-A starter in 2012, then another 16 in 24 innings in 2013 before being moved to the bullpen full-time. Forced into the closer role due to the dismantling of “no Run DMC”, Control continues to plague him. Usually control problem are due to a pitcher’s mechanics. Why have Betances’ mechanics fallen out of whack? There are a million possible reasons. It could be fatigue. Mental, physical or both. Maybe he tired, or maybe the pressure of closing for the New York Yankees is just too much. If you witnessed his meltdown in Toronto, you know what I mean.
At 28 he is still part of the Yankee youth movement. He is a total mess right now, and to me it seems to be mechanical more than anything. He’s just out of sorts and needs to get himself back on track. It’s not the first time he’s gone through this — it’s the first time he’s done at the MLB level, but not in his life — and chances are it won’t be the last. He’s worked his way out of it before. Will the Yankees look at him as their closer of the future, or do they move him back to set-up guy? Only Brian Cashman, Joe Giardi and Dellin Betances can answer that.
The Blue Jays tried to play schoolyard bully Monday night, but the Yankees threw the knockout punch and won in come from behind fashion 7-5.
It all started in the first inning when Yankee starter Luis Severino struggling with control plunked Josh Donaldson on the elbow. Donaldson said nothing and ran down to first base. It was clear it wasn’t intentional as Severino walked 2 batters later in the inning. The usually arrogant and flamboyant Jays weren’t happy because Jose Bautista got hit in the back in Friday’s game, and Marcus Stroman got into a jawing contest with the Yankees on Saturday. So how did the Jays respond? In typical Toronto fashion. J.A. Happ threw at Chase Headley not once, but twice. The first pitch missed behind his legs, and the second got him right in the hip. Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor finally realized what was happening and warned both benches. Joe Girardi came out of the dugout and argued Happ should have been ejected because hey, he threw at Headley twice, but no luck. Tichenor ejected Girardi and the benches cleared, albeit briefly. Even by baseball standards, that brawl was nothing.
That wasn’t the end of it. In the top of the second, Severino came out and stood up for his teammate. His first pitch of the inning was behind Justin Smoak’s legs, and his second was in Smoak’s calf. Tichenor ejected Severino after the second pitch, but by then all hell was breaking loose. Smoak started to walk about towards the mound and Severino basically told him to bring it on. CC Sabathia stormed out of his dugout on his one good knee and was right in the middle of the fracas locking up with Donaldson. You can’t see it in that clip, but YES showed another replay angle later in the game where Sabathia was basically laughing in Donaldson’s face. Possibly at his stupid haircut. Martin tried to get at Gary Sanchez, but others intervened. There was a lot of shoving and yelling. The loudest mouths were of course Donaldson and Bautista, who else!
So, after all of that, the Yankees were down their manager, their starter, their bench coach, and their pitching coaching. Robbie Thomson and Larry Rothschild were ejected in addition to Severino. No one on the Blue Jays was ejected, hilariously. The umpires simply did a terrible job. Happ should have been ejected after hitting Headley. Maybe the umps were intimated by the Jays and their crowd.
We go to the eighth inning and it’s 3-2 Toronto, with Mark Texiera at the plate. Next thing you know Tex launches one deep to right. Teixeira watched his leave the park and then flipped his bat high in the air before settling into cruise control around the bases. He went back to the dugout jawing at Blue Jays, who apparently had a problem with something one of their leaders, Jose Bautista, has made his trademark. What goes around comes around.
Without going into anymore detail, Arron Hicks hit one in the ninth along with a few singles and the Yankees took a 4 run lead. Delin Betances continued his meltdown giving up 2 runs, walking 2 and hitting a batter, but reliever Tommy Lanye came in with the bases loaded and got the save.
It’s ok when a Blue Jay shows up a team, but it’s not ok when it’s done to them. The Blue Jays are a bunch of talented but immature bullies. It’s about time team’s start pushing back. First it was the Rangers and last night it was the Yankees. F**k You Toronto!
Remember the seven-game win streak that brought the Yankees to within one game of a wildcard spot? It was only two weeks ago. Well, the Yankees are now 3-11 in the 14 games since, including 1-9 against teams other than the Rays. The latest loss, New York’s 4th straight, was a 4-3 walk-off loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday. Didi Gregorius ended the team’s pathetic 33-inning scoreless streak with a leadoff home run in the seventh inning, which tied the game 1-1. With a 3-1 lead the Bullpen failed them again. Delin Betances pitched parts of 2 innings. Again he walked a lead off batter (Josh Donaldson), and again he was a victim of a stolen base. Then, after failing to get a call on a check swing on a 2-2 pitch by Jose Bautista, Betances hung a curve that Bautista lashed into center field for an RBI single. It took Betances, who was making his 70th appearance, 26 pitches to escape that eighth inning, but Girardi sent him out in the 9th to nail down what promised to be a 3-2 Yankees win. But after Betances walked Melvin Upton Jr. to start the ninth -- after again failing to get a call, both he and Girardi believed, from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi -- the manager replaced Betances with Tyler Clippard. Clippard allowed two ninth-inning runs, one on a squeeze bunt and the other on an infield hit. The result: another loss to the Blue Jays.
The Yankees, who had temporarily regained their footing in late August and early September, had simply forgotten how to win again. They will fail to make the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons. And with one game left against the Blue Jays and three each against the Orioles and Boston Red Sox, it is possible they won't even finish at .500, a fate that hasn't befallen them since 1992. They still need 3 more wins to avoid that indignity, and as we have seen, wins are no longer easy to come by for this team.
No doubt about it the Giants should have beaten the Redskins yesterday. They could’ve put themselves in prime position in the NFC East, with a 3-0 record after three weeks while keeping the Redskins winless. But NO, once again they found a way to lose. 11 penalties for 128 yards, three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble), an ejection, missed tackles, struggles on third down, blown coverage’s, missed assignments, drops and poor clock management. The result was an embarrassing 29-27 loss.
It may be a moot point following a loss, but the matchup within the matchup everyone waited for was won by Beckham Jr. with ease. Beckham had seven receptions for 121 yards. He dropped an eighth and Eli Manning missed him on two or three others — including one that would have been a 60-plus yard touchdown. Odell would trade the win over Norman for a win over the Redskins. But this debate should now be put to bed. One is great and the other is elite. Now Big Blue needs to avoid another debate: Are they the same old Giants or the better playoff bound New York Giants.
I’m not really an avid golf fan, but I know that Arnold Palmer was responsible for making golf the popular sport that it is today. Palmer died yesterday at age 87 in Pittsburg. Before Palmer burst on the scene, golf was a sport only enjoyed by the wealthy country club crowd. Palmer ranked among the most important figures in golf history, and it went well beyond his 7 major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins. His good looks, devilish grin and hard-charging style of play made the elite sport appealing to one and all. And it helped that he arrived about the same time as television moved into most households, a perfect fit that sent golf to unprecedented popularity. Palmer, was part of the alluring "Big Three," with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Palmer was a rather ubiquitous presence in advertising over the course of his career. I've seen him in many TV commercials. My favorites were the Hertz Rental ones with O.J. Simpson. Palmer went on to live a good life. OJ went on to jail.
In 22 seasons of wild-card-era zaniness, it has never happened. In 48 seasons of division play, packed with epic endings and crazy finishes, it has never happened. Never, ever, in all that time, has baseball had to break a three-way tie for any playoff spot. Let alone two.
This 2016 season could make history as The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals battle for two wild card spots. Last night, the Mets and Giants both won 1 run games, the Cardinals didn’t play. There is a very good chance all 3 teams could end up tied. Imagine three teams, Two spots. Nine games left in each of their seasons. A three way tie? So, how would baseball break that tie? Thanks for asking.
Here is how:
First, let’s tell you, with 99.9 percent certainty, who would play whom and when.
Monday, Oct. 3: Mets at Cardinals. The winner would win the first wild-card spot and host the NL wild-card game on Oct. 5.
Tuesday, Oct. 4: Loser of the Mets-Cardinals game plays the Giants in San Francisco. The winner heads for either New York or St. Louis to play in the wild-card game the next day. The loser heads for the putting green .
Wednesday, Oct. 5: The survivors play in the NL wild-card game. The winner goes on to Chicago to play the Cubs in the NLDS. As for the loser, see above.
The three teams do not have any games remaining with each other, so those head-to-head records are final. The Mets and Cardinals have identical combined head-to-head records while the Giants lag. The Cardinals would have top priority among the three because of their superior intradivision record over the Mets and head-to-head-record over the Giants. Thus the home game vs the Mets.
Remember back in 2012 when on the last day of the season several teams had a chance for the AL wild card? There was a similar wild card tie breaker in play Evan Langoria’s late home run against the Yankees eliminated that chance. Wouldn’t it be fun to actually see this 3 way tie? With any luck, baseball fans get to see history made. And the winner gets rewarded with a series against the Cubs. Good luck with that.
Yoenis Cespedes swung hard, and the ball sliced through the September night, the Mets’ playoff hopes riding on every play at this critical time of the season. He jogged out of the batter’s box, and the crowd at Citi Field roared, thinking, like Cespedes and the entire Mets dugout, that he had clobbered a three-run home to erase a night of missed opportunities and mistakes.
Atlanta Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte had another thought in mind. He raced back to the center-field wall. He jumped, reached up over the wall with his glove outstretched and then fell back to the warning track. He caught the ball. The cheering crowd was not quite sure how to react until Inciarte held up his glove with the trophy and pulled out the ball as proof. And with a catch that Inciarte called the best of his life, the Mets fell, 4-3, capping a woeful sweep at the hands of the Braves, whose play belied their lowly record at the worst possible time. Yes (Randy), the Mets were swept!
If the Mets (80-72) miss out on a playoff spot, remember last night. Most importantly remember how the Mets could not beat the struggling Braves in 2016, because they certainly will. They could have taken sole possession of the wild-card lead had Cespedes' shot cleared the fence (or they had not blown a 3-0 lead earlier), but they remain in a three-way tie for a pair of wild-card spots with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants after all three teams lost on Wednesday. The Mets are in a dogfight in the wild-card battle with 10 games remaining instead of secure in a postseason spot and flirting with the first-place Washington Nationals. Step it up boys, or step out of the way.
Robert Gsellman had another decent game on the mound Tuesday night as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Mets by a score of 5-4.
The third time around the order has been an albatross for Gsellman thus far. Since he became a starter, opponents are batting .250 against him their first two times through the lineup. The third time around though? They are batting .455 against him.
Gsellman escaped all troubles through the first five innings of the game. As the Braves though came to bat in the top of the sixth, the wheels began to fall off. They scored 2 in the 6th and his night was done. The bullpen takes over and the Braves score 3 in the 7th. The Mets do put up 3 in the 8th, but it’s another loss.
Gsellman’s final line ended with 5.1 innings pitched while allowing five hits and two runs. He walked two batter while striking out six. Both runs scored after Gsellman departed the game with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, snapping his scoreless streak at 10.2 innings pitched.
Two things to note: In the eighth inning with runners on base and two outs, the Braves brought in a lefty to pitch to Bruce. In an unlikely scenario, Collins pulled Bruce and inserted Eric Campbell of all people. Soup though would come through, helping the Mets to pull within one run. In the ninth inning, with two outs and the tying run on second base, Yoenis Cespedes fell down swinging at strike two before missing on a curveball to end the game. Cespedes, who was hitless in four at-bats Tuesday, is batting just .203 with three HR and 13 RBI in 17 games during September.
The remaining schedule was supposed to be a strength for this Mets team, but that has yet to hold true. They have now dropped the first two games of this series and must win tonight to avoid being swept. The Cardinals and Giants won their respective games Tuesday night and we now have a three-way tie atop the Wild Card standings. It is sure to be an fascinating end to the season. If I’m a Met fan, I’d be worried. Oh wait… their always worried.
I think Joe Girardi is a pretty good manager. You wouldn’t have the Yankees in the Wild Card hunt, after you traded away some their big pieces if he wasn’t. But Joe has one glaring fault- he micromanages. Yes maybe over manages is a better word. He manages l every game like it is the 7th game of the world series. In the the last 10 games, he has pushed every wrong button and on every occasion it has blown up in his face, especially this past weekend.
The Yankees rolled into Fenway last Thursday just four games out of first and looking to transform themselves from AL East afterthought to 2016 postseason contender. Now, a mere four days later, the Yankees left Boston a broken team, outplayed, outclassed and embarrassed by the Boston Red Sox. Oh, and eight games out of first, and it’s on Joe. And to make things worse, This weekend marked the Red Sox’ last home series against the Yankees in David Ortiz’ illustrious career. But as one Yankee Killer gets set to retire, another is emerging. Look up Hanley Ramirez. That’s not Joe’s fault, or is it?
It seems like Joe looks in his book, processes the numbers and makes his decision. Over the weekend Joe pulled Tanaka too early, left CC in too late and way to often, went to a subpar bullpen, including his burnt out closer who has lost the ability to throw strikes or to throw to a base. The lineup he put out on Sunday night was a joke, even with the injuries. His handling of his pitchers has been dismal at best. Watching Joe, game after game, replace good pitching with wishful pitching is to watch rose bushes pulled and replaced with seedlings that — who knows? — could grow as weeds. Joe, it’s ok to manage with your gut on occasion. Maybe even use some common sense. Maybe even manage like it’s not the 9th inning of game seven.
The Buffalo Bills dismissed offensive coordinator Greg Roman Friday afternoon. And, after that process, Roman submitted a statement to The Buffalo News thanking the fans and the Bills organization. Roman did help engineer the top rushing attack in the league in 2015, orchestrating a unit that averaged 152 yards per game.
However, Buffalo’s offensive performance through two weeks this season left plenty to be desired in both the running and passing game, which ultimately led to his termination. Rumor has it Rex and Roman didn’t get along. Perhaps the team owners, the Pegula’s should consider firing Rex since the team has given up 50 points in 2 games and sits at the bottom of the NFC east standings. Haven’t heard a word out of the so call “defensive genius” windbag whose team is 0-2.
While the Giant offense was bumbling, and literally fumbling, its way through Sunday afternoon the defense kept marching back onto the field and turning Drew Brees and the Saints away. New Orleans punted on its first 5 possessions and 7 times overall, scored just one touchdown, and finished with 288 total yards of offense. Eli on the other hand, (aside from a fumble when he was sacked), was pretty good. He went 32-of-41 for 368 yards, and could probably have completed another half-dozen throws had he gotten help from his receivers. The one exception was rookie Sterling Shepard who had 8 catches, for 117 yards.
It wasn’t pretty, but they won. And now were 2-0 (the first time in 8 years). It’s too early to call next weeks game against the Redskins a Big game, but wouldn’t it be nice to be 3-0?
That loud noise you heard at the end of last night’s Yankee game was the coffin slamming shut. While the team went 3-10, Joe Giardi went to his inept bullpen way too man times and the Yankees were kicked out of the Wild Card race, highlighted by a four-game sweep at Fenway Park. In each game of the Boston series the Yanks took a lead and the inevitable happened. A walk, a big hit, a crucial error or a home run and it was game over. They lost all of them.
The infusion of youth at the trade deadline gave the Yankees a jolt that unexpectedly carried a disappointing, listless team back into playoff contention. For the fans it was a view into the future. It was fun, but now it’s over. Now at least looking toward 2017 we have HOPE!
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It's a somewhat tongue in cheek OPINIONATED sports blog that promises to cover baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and any other INTERESTING, stupid, and absurd STORY related to sports.