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The Thursday Takeaway

This week on Thursday Afternoon Football, the Oakland Raiders exhibited complete dominance against the Los Angeles Rams, picking up a comfortable 21-3 victory. Oh wait, this is Baseball Prospectus. The football lines were not drawn at the Oakland Coliseum and Jon Gruden was nowhere to be found. Instead, it was the Athletics who bludgeoned the Angels.

This game went sideways for the Halos in a hurry, with the Athletics scoring five times in the third inning and adding seven more in the fourth. Stephen Piscotty, who came in hitting .333/.389/.691 since Aug. 26, finished 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs.

To top it off, Oakland later added back-to-back dingers from Nick Martini and Chad Pinder. The A’s offensive explosion ended at 21 runs while the Angels only had to settle for a measly field goal.

In the midst of the carnage, Edwin Jackson pitched into the sixth inning and had seven strikeouts with only two runs allowed. These are truly wild times in Oakland, no matter if the stadium is in its football configuration, or only when the scoreboard looks like it.

Quick Hits

The AL East race ended officially, but the entire division delivered plenty of drama on its way out. Naturally, we have to start in the Bronx. The Red Sox had a chance to clinch at Yankee Stadium for the second time in three years. The Yankees scored six runs in four innings, including another home run from Luke Voit (which made a bit of history for the Bronx Bombers) and a grand slam from Giancarlo Stanton.

However, the Red Sox have been swinging a bat comprised of nothing but flames for most of this season and they continued to bring the heat. Boston took the lead in the seventh and Mookie Betts hit the dinger that gave the Red Sox the breathing room they needed to prompt clubhouse attendants to hang plastic protection in the clubhouse.

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Elsewhere in the division, things were going swimmingly for the Rays for about 8 Β½ innings.

The bottom of the ninth began a nightmare for Tampa Bay. Dwight Smith Jr. and Rowdy Tellez led off with back-to-back doubles, and Danny Jansen followed with a three-run dinger to make it a two-run game.

Kendrys Morales dropped a blooper among four Rays to keep the rally alive. The next two pitches ended up in the seats for home runs, which completed a seven-run ninth inning and an incredible comeback for the Blue Jays.

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The Mets broke a tie with the Nationals in the top of the 12th and held on to win, but the most interesting moment occurred when Bryce Harper got ejected following a dubious strike-three call. Harper refused to leave the dugout following his ejection. I’m not mad at him!

Defensive Play of the Day

Shout-out to Scooter Gennett, who has served as a bright spot for the Cincinnati Reds in a dark season. Normally Gennett gets plaudits for his offensive efforts (and sure enough, he had a dinger and four RBIs in this one) but he put his glove on display against Miami. He made a diving stab and a tough throw to help lock down a victory for the Reds and give their fans something to cheer about, even at this late stage.

What to Watch on Friday

If you’re on the East Coast, prepare for a late night. After the Rockies suffered a major injury scare with Trevor Story and his elbow, they travel to the desert to take on the Diamondbacks for an extremely important three-game series. The Diamondbacks basically need a sweep just to keep their faint pulse going, while the Rockies probably need a sweep as well in order to stay alive in the NL West race.

Colorado also could use some help from the Friars in Southern California. The Padres will be visiting Chavez Ravine to take on a Dodgers team that has gotten hot at precisely the right time. If Los Angeles can properly take care of business this weekend, then they could be on their way towards another NL West title by the time we get back to you in this column. If the Padres trip them up and the Rockies surge over the weekend, then next week could get wacky out west.

Thank you for reading

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