September 29, 2007


Amazing night sets today's stage (Mark Newman, 9/29/07,

Now what?

People around Major League Baseball are still recovering from the most unbelievable final Friday of any regular season. Did you see that? Of course you did. You saw everything. You were locked in like it was a Halo 3 all-nighter. Your head was spinning like Brandon Webb's breaking ball from trying to watch up to a dozen games at once.

Mets' meltdown almost complete (Toronto Star, Sep 29, 2007)
The New York Mets' meltdown reached the absurd last night. Out of first place and nearly out of time, they're going to need help just to make the playoffs. All-star third baseman David Wright forgot he had an easy force play, Oliver Perez hit a pair of batters with the bases loaded and the Mets stumbled out of the NL East lead with a 7-4 loss to the last-place Florida Marlins. New York has lost five straight and 11 of 15 to fall one game back of surging Philadelphia, which beat Washington 6-0. The Mets' eighth straight home loss dropped them out of first place for the first time since May 15. Everything looked rosy for the Amazin's when they held a seven-game lead on Sept. 12 with 17 games left, but it's been mostly downhill from there. They're on the brink now of an unthinkable collapse: No major league team has blown such a big lead in such a short time at the end of a season.

Bubbling over: Red Sox clinch first division title in 12 years (Gordon Edes, September 29, 2007, Boston Globe)
Theo Epstein trusted that the Red Sox would hold up their end of a championship bargain, but thought it was a good idea to send a text message to Kevin Millar, exhorting the former Sox partymeister to help put an end last night to Yankee aspirations in Baltimore.

"I told him, 'You own [Yankees pitcher Mike] Mussina. I said, 'You owe us one,' " Epstein said. "You've got to win at least one game for us singlehandedly. And tell [Orioles manager Dave] Trembley I don't want to see [Triple A] Ottawa out there."

"He wrote back, 'We'll see what we can do. I'll do my best for you.' "

It was the prelude to a made-for-TV experience. The Red Sox, whose 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins ended at 9:39 p.m., became champions of the American League East an hour and 17 minutes later, at 10:56, when Millar and the Orioles beat the Yankees, 10-9, in 10 innings, a comeback win the Sox watched from inside their clubhouse while several thousand fans watched on the Fenway Park video scoreboard.

Millar did his part, getting hit by a pitch by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth, when the Orioles rallied from three runs down to tie the score on a bases-loaded triple by former Sox outfielder Jay Payton. A third ex-Sox player, Chad Bradford, was the winning pitcher after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th, and Melvin Mora dropped a two-out squeeze bunt to bring home the winning run after Millar looked at a called third strike.

Naturally, the irrepressible Millar was heard from in the midst of a wild Sox celebration that reached its apex when Alex Cora took command of the Fenway Park sound system, blasting "Sweet Caroline" while Jonathan Papelbon, wearing sliding shorts and a T-shirt, did a mad Irish jig on the mound.

"He texted me back and said, 'I told you I'd come through for you,' " Epstein said. "He said, 'I'm still sitting on that changeup, by the way. Congratulations.' "

How can the two NY teams spend $600 million and not at least accidentally acquire a worthwhile pitcher between them?

NL Notes: Philadelphia Phillies (Houston Chronicle, 9/29/07)

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins got his 706th at-bat Friday to set the single-season major league record. Rollins flied out off the Nationals' Tim Redding in the third inning to break the mark set in 1980 by Willie Wilson of the Royals.

Biggio will put on catcher's mask one more time (BRIAN McTAGGART, 9/29/07, Houston Chronicle
For the first time since Oct. 5, 1991, Craig Biggio will catch in a game tonight as the Astros host the Atlanta Braves. Biggio is scheduled to catch one or two innings before moving to his normal position of second base.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2007 6:35 AM


Posted by: Bob Hawkins at September 29, 2007 9:17 AM

How can the two NY teams spend $600 million and not at least accidentally acquire a worthwhile pitcher between them?

That sounds like a "black swan" event ;-)

Posted by: Bruno at September 29, 2007 11:07 AM

Er, doesn't Wang have the most wins in the majors over the past 3 seasons? Oh right, the mantra of the cogniscenti is that it's all luck.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 29, 2007 3:42 PM