How much was Damon's steal really worth?

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The latest collection of rumors and notes from SI’s Jon Heyman has a couple of interesting items:

Before these playoffs, the Yankees were believed willing to go for two years and $16 million for [Johnny] Damon. But that was before his solo double steal in Game 4.

That was a spiffy play and all, but is it really the sort of thing that’s going to change the calculus for a savvy team like the Yankees?  They have almost certainly made a decision as to whether they are going to go after Bay, go after, Holliday or stick with Damon before now, and probably came up with a pretty good idea as to how much they’re going to offer them some time ago.  I can’t really feature the double steal entering into it.  If someone else wants to pay for that, great, but I don’t see the Yankees being any more willing to add a “steal premium” to Damon’s deal than the Red Sox were to go the extra mile for Dave Roberts after 2004.

Manuel’s explanation that somebody should have been covering third base didn’t really cut it. If he himself couldn’t have named the person, it’s no wonder the Phillies players didn’t know who should’ve been there.

Or maybe Manuel just didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus by name. Cholly is not the greatest manager in the history of baseball, but he’s a guy who stands up for his players. Assuming that he didn’t know who should have been covering third base simply because he didn’t name a name is wrong in my view.

If the Yankees win one more game, Mike Mussina wins the award for unluckiest Yankee, beating Don Mattingly. A Yankees from 2001-2008, he will have provided the stale sandwich meat to the Yankees’ World Series wins in 2000 and 2009.

You can add Bobby Murcer to that too. Murcer showed up the year after the Yankees’ last pennant of the Mantle teams, was traded right before the Munson-Reggie teams took off, and then returned to New York after they started to decline.  Yeah, he was on a pennant winning team in 1981, but they lost.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.