The Wednesday Takeaway
As we shuffle toward the final weekend of the regular season, MLB’s postseason manifest is starting to fill out. Two more teams clinched playoff spots after one-run victories highlighted by harrowing moments. Most notably, the Brewers are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 after edging the Cardinals 2-1 at Busch Stadium.
The key moment during the game came in the eighth inning, when Adolis Garcia lost his balance coming around third base, fell down and was tagged out at the plate. Could have been the tying run, instead he ends up cast in a wacky blooper reel for the rest of his life.
The key moment after the game, and perhaps for all time: Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker celebrating in the clubhouse with the rest of the boys.
Even better, the NL Central remains in play because the Cubs can’t pull away, so there will be another opportunity for Uecker to dance in the regular reason.
As for the Cubs, they blew a four-run lead late but edged the Pirates 7-6 in 10 innings on a walk-off single by Albert Almora. Phew, right? Especially after the ninth-inning meltdown, which included a missed opportunity to stop the Bucs’ rally when Anthony Rizzo reached into the stands near the screen behind home plate, going after a pop-up.
Remind you of anything? Something that rhymes with Grieve Cartman? Good thing that Rizzo didn’t go full metal Moises Alou on the fan—who was within his right to reach for the ball, with the player venturing into the stands, which makes souvenirs fair game for the common folk. The Cubs kept their heads and didn’t choke the game away. Cubs’ president Theo Epstein had the best take on the moment:
The right perspective from a seasoned team heading to the postseason for the fourth straight season. The Cubs, of all teams. Good times on the North Side.
When eight isn’t enough: Bryce Harper played perhaps (probably, likely, yes, good-bye) his final game at home for the Washington Nationals, a 9-3 victory against the Marlins. Fans gave him myriad standing ovations, but Harper didn’t have a chance for a grand send-off because, of course, the game was shortened due to rain. The Nats play in a swamp that can never be drained! Wherever he goes next, Harper might consider a desert, or a dome, to ensure fewer delays during the next stage of his career. And as for the next phase of his life, Harper gave a couple of clues:
So, while Harper loves being a National, he’s also a man of the world! But also…
Eight years won’t cut it as far as a contract goes. Scott Boras has spoken!
Simply deBest: Mets ace Jacob deGrom threw another eight scoreless innings to finish off his magnificent 2018 season with a 1.70 ERA. Adjusting for the league ERA, it ties for the 19th-best performance in history, with Pedro Martinez in 1997 and Cy Young (the one and the same) in 1901. He also earned his 10th victory, against nine losses, which might persuade a few dinosaurs in the BBWAA to vote deGrom for NL Cy Young. Wins might be overrated, but ESPN’s Jon Sciambi pointed out something important about deGrom’s final start before the first pitch:
Thank goodness that didn’t happen!
Tanaka, when the walls fell, at Tropicana: The Yankees and Athletics will play for the AL Wild Card, but not before they figure out where—along with who’s pitching. The Yankees lead by two games in the lost column, so they’ll probably host in the Bronx. Masahiro Tanaka is a leading contender to start, but his audition against the Rays went “meh,” at best: 4 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, 4 K, HBP, HR. That’s not what you want. The Yankees also could use JA Happ against the A’s, which could help to neutralize Khris Davis, whose OPS is about 100 points lower against lefties this season. What do you think? Tell the Yankees what to do on Twitter addressing @Yankees.
That’s wild: With only a few games to go, some of the playoff field remains unsolved. We could go over all of the scenarios, but why when MLB.com has done it for us?!
Defensive Play of the Day
Now, technically this was from the night before, but in honor of Madison Bumgarner being a guy who plays by his own rules, it’s worth posting anyway. After he delivered a game-winning pinch-hit for the first time in his career, MadBum “allowed” a general assault by teammates rushing the field. Someone even sprayed him repeatedly with a water jug. Ha-ha, all in good fun, even as MadBum shooed the sprayer away (literally with his shoe). But when Alen Hanson tried to dump Gatorade on Bumgarner, well, the big lefty shot that down.
Don’t mess with the bull, else you’ll get the horns. Or the cleats.
Touchdown Spike of the Day
To celebrate reaching the end zone against Arizona in the third inning, Dodgers right-hander Pedro Baez let loose with a ferocious spike at Chase Field.
In your FACE, Socrates Brito!
What You Should Watch For Thursday
Limited slate today, only eight games, but two matinees (unless you live in Hawaii, where it’s all matinees, all of the time! Hey, let’s move to Hawaii!). The early games include Yankees at Rays (which has AL Wild Card implications) and Phillies at Rockies (which factors into the NL West and Wild Card).
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