Phillies Clinch NL East, Dodgers Lose 4th in a Row
The Phillies clinched the NL East title by pounding the Astros 10-3. Seven different Phillies drove in runs during the contest with Raul Ibanez hitting his 34th homer of the season and driving in three runs.
The Astros took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth but the Phillies scored four times in the bottom of the frame to take a 5-3 lead. J.R. Towles hit solo homers off of Pedro Martinez in the second and fourth innings.
Kyle Kendrick took the win in relief of Martinez. Brad Lidge was brought in to record the last out because of what he did for the team last season.
Lidge could be a key to how far the Phillies go in the playoffs. He has to be more like the Lidge of 2008 than the 2009 version or the Phillies may be making a fast exit from the playoffs.
Even the Phillies can’t score ten runs night after night so Lidge will have to rebound from his terrible regular season.
Dodgers Fail To Clinch Again
Lose Fourth Game in a Row
The Dodgers failed again to clinch the NL West title as rookie Clayton Richard and the Padres bullpen shut the Dodgers out 5-0 on one hit.
The standings on Sunday showed the Dodgers with a five game lead over the Rockies. Today that lead has shrunk to two and-a-half games with the magic number of two on Sunday only being reduced to one.
The Dodgers haven’t won since last Saturday and they don’t play again till Friday so they will have two wins in seven days if they win on Friday.
As bad as things look for the Dodgers they still could clinch the NL West today if the Rockies lose to the Brewers. If the Rockies win their game the Dodgers lead will be only two games.
If the Rockies win today and win the first two games of the three game series against the Dodgers the winner of Sunday’s game would take the NL West title and the loser probably would be the NL Wild Card representative.
All the Rockies have to do today is win or the Braves lose and they will be assured of a wild card spot. The Braves would have to win all their games and the Rockies lose all their games for the Braves to win the NL Wild Card race.
Aaron Cook (10-6) will face Manny Parra (11-10) this afternoon in a game that could clinch the NL Wild Card for the Rockies.
Tigers Could Clinch AL Central
With A Win Today Over Twins
Carl Pavano may have had a 4-0 record against the Tigers going into yesterday’s game but he got hammered 7-2 by a Tigers team that seems intent on clinching the AL Central title today.
The Twins took a 2-0 lead against Pavano but that was the end of the scoring for them. The Tigers scored four times in the second and three times in the fifth to make the score 7-2 which stood up the rest of the game.
Pavano had won his fourth game against the Tigers on August 8 but this game had a postseason atmosphere that Eddie Bonine handled better than Pavano.
It was only the third start of the season for Bonine but he pitched five innings and allowed the two runs in the first inning before settling down and taking his first win of the season. The Twins could only muster nine singles in the contest.
All the Tigers have to do today is defeat the Twins and they will be the AL Central champions for 2009. A loss would shrink their lead to two games with the magic number staying at two.
If they don’t clinch today they would have to do it against the White Sox who they host to end the season starting Friday. Meanwhile the Twins will be hosting the Royals this weekend.
The Twins will send Scott Baker (14-9) to the mound in the most important game of the season for the Twins. The Tigers will counter with Nate Robertson (2-2) who is making only his sixth start of the season. His only win as a starter came on September 20 when the Tigers defeated the Twins 6-2. His only other win this season came in a relief role.
Roy Halladay won his 17th game in a 12-0 blowout win over the Red Sox. He only allowed three singles in his complete game shutout win….The two Chicago teams played doubleheaders yesterday. The Cubs and White Sox could only manage one win between them.
The Pirates outscored the Cubs 12-2 while winning 4-0 and 8-2. The White Sox lost the first game of their doubleheader with a 5-1 loss to the Indians. They salvaged a win in the nightcap when Mark Buehrle took the win in a 1-0 shutout victory in his final start of the season. The three hits were the fewest he had allowed since his July 23 perfect game against the Rays.
If the Braves don’t rebound from losing last night to the Marlins it will be a long winter for Matt Diaz. The Braves had the bases loaded with two out and trailing the Marlins 5-4 in the ninth inning. A pitch got away from catcher Ronnie Paulino and Diaz was caught off base ending the game.
The old baseball adage of not making the third out at third base rang true for the Braves and it may have ended their hopes of playing postseason baseball in 2009.
In that same game Ricky Nolasco became the first pitcher this season to strikeout 16 batters in a game….The previous most strikeouts in a game this season were 15 by Tim Lincecum and Zack Greinke.
The Orioles, Blue Jays and Athletics have averaged less than 50 percent of capacity this season. The Yankees lead in attendance with 3.7 million while the Athletics are last with 1.3 million which is approximately 2.4 million fans less than the Yankees have drawn.
By the end of the season nine teams will have drawn three million fans. 11 teams will have drawn less than two million fans.