Red Sox 5, Indians 4; Yankees 3, Blue Jays 1: I and many others have said that we won't officially declare the Yankees dead until we see their corpse on the cold hard slab. Well, it is now officially on the cold hard slab. But let's be clear about something: in the coming days, you'll see many a gleeful word printed about New York sitting at home in October for the first time in ages. I understand that, and on some very trivial level feel the glee as well. But let us not become so wrapped up in our schadenfreude that we lose sight of just how impressive an accomplishment thirteen straight postseason appearances truly is in this day and age. Some will say "yeah, but they just bought it." Well, lots of other teams have tried to buy their way into the playoffs only to fall short. I say this to even the most ardent of Yankee haters: understand and appreciate that there has been talent and brains in New York to beat the band for a long damn time, and that in many respects, the Yankee tide has lifted all boats for the past decade and a half.
Twins 9, White Sox 3: After all of the nonsense of the other day, I assume everyone will be saying that Ozzie Guillen was right and that Javier Vazquez just isn't a big game pitcher. If that's the case, why wouldn't Guillen have used motivational techniques that served to minimize the importance of this game in Vazquez's mind rather than build up the pressure? To put his player in the best position to succeed instead of challenging him to overcome things he's never been able to overcome when the whole damn season was on the line? I suppose doing so wouldn't have made as good a story, but it may have put Vazquez in a better frame of mind to face the Twins last night.
Mets 6, Cubs 2: Santana: 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 10K. That's why they pay him the big bucks.
Brewers 7, Pirates 5: Walkoff homer for Prince Fielder with two out in the ninth! I was watching this as it happened via ESPN's Gamecast application which, as far as transmitting excitement goes, is akin to making out with a girl while wearing a ski mask, electrician's gloves, and burlap. Still, it's better than nothing. The Brewers remain one game back of New York.
Royals 5, Tigers 0: Zach Greinke (7 IP 4 H, 0 ER) dominates the Tigers, who appear to have given up. Nothing against the Royals, but the Tigers were supposed to cruise this season, and the fact that they are about to be overtaken by Kansas City in the standings is about as big an indictment as can be leveled at them.
Nationals 9, Marlins 4: It's been so long since I've said anything nice about the Nats that I've almost forgotten how, but it is worth noting that Elijah Dukes has a 130 OPS+ at age 24, and despite all of his baggage, can truthfully be called a bright spot for this otherwise lost franchise.
Braves 3, Phillies 2: If I would've told you back in April that Mike Hampton would finish the season with the same number of wins as John Smoltz you would have called the guys in the white coats with the big nets. That's why I tend to avoid the prediction business.
Rays 5, Orioles 2 (Game 1): James Shields wins his fourteenth game, which sets a franchise record previously held by Rolando Arrojo. Arrojo still has more rings -- three, if you count Cuba anyway -- and an Olympic gold medal. I'd still probably rather have James Shields' career going forward.
Rays 7, Orioles 5 (Game 2): And the magic number is now two. Not that the Rays will be content with the division. They want to beat out the Angels for the best record so that four games of an ALCS between the two of those teams will be played in St. Pete, where the Rays have won seven out of every ten games this year. Probably ain't gonna happen, but at least it gives Maddon something to talk to his team about each night. If he were Ozzie Guillen, he'd probably just tell them that they should lose as much as possible now so that they can face their failures in road games head on.
Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 4: Albert Pujols (.350/.455/.631) watches everyone talk themselves into all manner of ridiculous NL MVP candidates that aren't him with mild amusement. He thinks for a moment of reminding Tracy "I'm voting for Lidge!" Ringolsby and his ilk that he, Pujols, has crushed everything thrown his way for six months, and has been doing it with an elbow injury that would keep him, Ringolsby, off his horse for a year. Pujols decides against it, however, because gods don't require the validation of mere mortals, no matter how fancy their cowboy hats may be.
Reds 2, Astros 1: I'm going to print up shirts for the Astros that say "Edinson Killed Us."
Rockies 9, Giants 4: Lincecum gives up six runs on six hits in four innings. Call me crazy, but I think his Cy Young chances are shot. Please Bruce: He has pitched 220 innings and has thrown more pitches in those innings than anyone else in the game. Let the boy have the rest of the season off.
Mariners 9, Angels 6: The Angels blew a four run lead in the sixth and seventh innings. Too bad games can't be saved until the ninth.
Dodgers 10, Padres 1: The Dodgers' magic number is 3.
Rangers 6, A's 4: After giving up ten of them in three innings, they should call the A's starter Josh Hitman. Um, yeah, I know I made basically the same joke the last time he pitched. Bear with me here. The season is almost over.