Wednesday, September 24, 2014
MLB Postseason Picture For Sept 24
Led by main man Andrew McCutchen and their budding Mr. September, right-hander Gerrit Cole, the Pirates are back in the high life. Having made it to the postseason for the first time in 21 years in 2013, Pittsburgh clinched a return trip on Tuesday night, beating Atlanta as the Brewers were getting shut down in Cincinnati by Johnny Cueto. Subdued by the Cubs in Chicago, the Cardinals watched their National League Central lead shrink to 1 1/2 games over the surging Bucs, winners of 15 of their past 18 games.
The Brewers are on the brink of elimination, the Giants one win or Milwaukee loss from wrapping up an NL Wild Card spot after absorbing a loss in Los Angeles that reduced the Dodgers' magic number to one in the West. The historic rivalry added a new chapter when Yasiel Puig charged the mound, emptying the dugouts and bullpens, after getting hit by a Madison Bumgarner pitch. Justin Turner homered twice and Matt Kemp, on his 30th birthday, unloaded a two-run blast for the Dodgers, whose win was their 90th, two shy of NL East champion Washington.
The White Sox spoiled David Price's gem with three ninth-inning runs in Detroit, but the Tigers won it on Miguel Cabrera's walk-off RBI single to remain a game ahead of the Royals in the American League Central race. Price had a three-hit shutout entering the ninth when five hits and three runs tied it for Chicago. Kansas City put away the Indians, who fell 4 1/2 games behind the Royals in the Wild Card chase. Not even the great Felix Hernandez could halt the Mariners' slide in a 10-2 loss in Toronto. King Felix was charged with eight runs across 4 2/3 innings as Seattle fell three games behind the Royals and Athletics, beaten by the Angels, for the second Wild Card spot with only five games left.
IF THE POSTSEASON STARTED TODAY ...
Wild Card: A's at Royals
Division Series: Wild Card at Angels | Tigers at Orioles
Wild Card: Giants at Pirates
Division Series: Wild Card at Nationals | Cardinals at Dodgers
TODAY'S KEY GAMES TO WATCH (all times ET)
White Sox (Sale, 12-4) at Tigers (Verlander, (14-12), 1:08 p.m.
A duel of this magnitude is enthralling at any point in the season but especially now with the Tigers trying to hold off the Royals in the AL Central race.
Angels (Santiago, 5-9) at Athletics (Lester, 16-10), 3:35 p.m.
The A's are sending out one of the game's best, Jon Lester, against a fellow lefty in Hector Santiago, who has been struggling to stay in the strike zone -- and the game (nine outs total past two starts).
Mariners (Walker, 2-2) at Blue Jays (Buehrle, 12-10), 7:07 p.m.
Taijuan Walker, the kid with the golden arm, is pitching for a postseason Wild Card berth. Mark Buehrle, the wily veteran, needs six innings to reach 200 for a 14th consecutive season.
Royals (Vargas, 11-10) at Indians (Bauer, 5-8), 7:10 p.m.
In another game with postseason implications, Jason Vargas is due to get back on track after a recent downturn (0-3, 9.00 ERA past three outings), while Trevor Bauer tries to put his high-octane stuff in the right spots.
Pirates (Locke, 7-5) at Braves (Teheran, 13-13), 7:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh wants to keep the pressure on the Cards in the NL Central, while Atlanta wonders what happened to a season of such promise.
Brewers (Lohse, 12-9) at Reds (Corcino, 0-1), 7:10 p.m.
The Brew Crew is one loss or one Giants win away from elimination. Lohse is back in a nice groove after recovering from ankle issues.
Cardinals (Lackey, 14-9) at Cubs (Arrieta, 9-5), 8:05 p.m.
Arrieta is coming off his third no-hitter flirtation of the season, a one-hit shutout of the Reds. Lackey is trying to enhance his reputation as a big-game pitcher and keep the Cards at the top of the Central.
Giants (Hudson, 9-12) at Dodgers (Kershaw, 20-3), 10:10 p.m.
This is a rematch of the finale in San Francisco last Sunday taken by the Dodgers, who are 22-4 when Clayton Kershaw pitches. Tim Hudson is struggling to get the ball down in the zone.
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
AL East: Orioles clinched
AL Central: Tigers five over Royals
AL West: Angels clinched
AL Wild Card 1: A's six over Royals, and Royals six over the A's
AL Wild Card 2: A's/Royals three over Mariners
NL East: Nationals clinched
NL Central: Cardinals four over Pirates
NL West: Dodgers one over Giants
NL Wild Card 1: Pirates five over Giants
NL Wild Card 2: Giants one over Brewers