I’m predisposed to being a contrarian. I’m no crazy iconoclast or uber-non-conformist — I drive an Accord for crying out loud — but that is the general impulse. If you tell me something is the best ever, I’m going to look for flaws. If you hype something up, I’m going do my best to explain why everyone should calm down. I honestly believe that taking such an approach aids in critical thinking, but I’m also totally prepared to admit that a good amount of the time it only makes you sound like a mild ass. Oh well. Can’t change what I am.
So you can understand my frustration at the Red Sox-Phillies series that begins in Citizens Bank Park this evening. The two teams who were almost everyone’s pick to win the pennant. Big hitting against big pitching! A possible World Series preview! The source of the frustration? I can’t really argue with any of that.
I picked them to meet in the World Series before the season began, and if you put a gun to my head right now I’d say they’re still the favorites. The Red Sox’ recent mini-slump notwithstanding, they are big hitting, leading the majors in scoring. The Phillies have had a few bumps of their own — Ryan Madson and Roy Oswalt are out — but they still have the best ERA in baseball and it wouldn’t be easy to argue against their staff as a whole being the best in the game.
It is what everyone is saying it is. There isn’t much room for being a contrarian here. What an absolute drag!
ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.
A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.
Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.
Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.
The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.
The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.
The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.