Jonathan Papelbon doesn't think Yankees-Red Sox games are too long. He's wrong.

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The Red Sox and Yankees average game times are the two longest in baseball, and when the two of them get together, forget it. Major League Baseball has asked the teams to try and move things along, but Jonathan Papelbon — asked about the issue by WEEI’s Rob Bradford — doesn’t understand why anyone thinks there’s a problem:

“Have you ever gone to watch a movie and thought, ‘Man, this movie is
so good I wish it would have never ended.’ That’s like a Red
Sox-Yankees game. Why would you want it to end?”

Asked about having to potentially watch a movie in 30-degree
temperatures, the closer offered a solution, simply saying, “Bundle up
and drink beer . . . If you don’t want to be there, don’t be there. Go home. Why are you

I’ll accept his point about bundling up and drinking beer, because that’s good advice regardless. I’ll also grant that, in the pantheon of complaints “this baseball game is too long” is not a major one. If it is really intolerable don’t watch. There’s more to life to baseball. Or so I’m told by people I don’t truly trust.

But really, just because it’s baseball doesn’t mean that we should overlook just how annoying these needlessly interminable Red Sox-Yankees games are for people who work for a living. Sure, go four hours if it’s an ugly slugfest, but there is no excuse for an otherwise clean 3-2 game to last that damn long.

As for Papelbon’s movie analogy, yes, I’d love it if the car chases, dance numbers and fight sequences in my favorite movies lasted forever, but I wouldn’t like it if my favorite movies were extended by scenes of guys looking for their car keys, tying their dancing shoes and stretching.

Which is basically what we get with these long Red Sox-Yankees games. Mound meetings, equipment adjustments, extra bullpen throws and long stares into the catcher before each pitch, often by closers like Papelbon and Mariano Rivera who only throw one damn pitch most of the time anyway.

Get in the box. Throw the pitch. Figure out your signs before the game. We’ll still love it. In fact, we’ll probably love it even more.

Piscotty returns to Cardinals lineup after concussion

Stephen Piscotty
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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Stephen Piscotty took the brunt of a frightening outfield collision last week at PNC Park, but he only suffered a mild concussion and was cleared for baseball activities a couple days later.

Now he is back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup, batting second and playing right field Sunday in the first half of a doubleheader against the Braves at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

Piscotty has an impressive .867 OPS with seven home runs and 39 RBI over his first 62 major league games. He should be a big part of the Cardinals’ postseason push, drawing starts in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

St. Louis will get either the Pirates or Cubs in the NLDS.

What to watch for on the final day of the regular season

Cole Hamels
AP Photo/LM Otero

Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …

American League Wild Card


This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.

American League West


As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.

American League Best Record


If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.

National League Wild Card


Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.

Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.