A couple of years ago I wrote a couple posts at my old Shysterball blog running down what — in my opinion anyway — were the best and worst all-time looks for each team. It was pretty popular as far as my old Blogspot posts were concerned, so I figure that, in the absence of any fun news, it was worth dusting off the idea and doing it again.
The only difference: attention spans have gotten way shorter since the ancient days of 2008, so I’ll be taking it team by team, rolling this baby out over the next few days. First up: the NL East, starting with the World Series champion — er, what’s that? Wait, they had Hallday, Hamels and Oswalt! What happened? Wow, you just never know in this game, do ya! — N.L. East Champion Philadelphia Phillies!
The Best: Thanks to recent success, their current look — or the Whiz Kid look — is probably considered the classic. I like it, but I like it when they mix in the blue on Sundays too. I may even like it better and if you put a gun to my head I’d say that the current alternates are their best look, even if it’s somewhat jarring, historically speaking. Along those lines, my mind hasn’t changed on these underrated 1930-40s numbers with the blue accents. It helps that Philly lost a hundred games year-in, year-out back when they wore those numbers, as everything is better about the Phillies when they’re losing.
The Worst: I never liked the big-P stuff they wore in the 1970s and 80s. The 1979 numbers — with the alternate all reds — were pretty terrible themselves.
Assessment: The Phillies have landed on a good, classic look and will likely stick with it for a good long time. To the extent they’ve gotten crazy over the years it’s just because they’ve had a really spotted history and, hey, why not experiment? And at least their unfortunate 70s look — which almost every team had — was accompanied by a lot of good play on the field, and that takes the edge off of such things.
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.
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.