Tony La Russa and the Cardinals have been vocal about mid-afternoon start times recently. It started back in the regular season, actually, but this week we’ve once again heard about how the shadows that fall across the field at around 4PM Central time make it difficult for the Cardinals. I suppose it makes it difficult for both teams, but let’s not concern ourselves with that.
We’ve heard the complaint enough that, understandably, some people have accused La Russa and the Cardinals of using the shadows as an excuse. Of — dare I say it? — whining. Well, La Russa takes exception to his team being called a bunch of whiners. If you’re less charitable than me,* you might even characterize it as whining:
Sensitive to characterizations of his players as “whining” over visibility issues during Game 3 Tuesday afternoon, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa used blunt language to admonish media members for their presentation of the issue … “If you don’t answer the question, then you’re not cooperative. If you do answer the question, you come out like excuse-makers,” La Russa asserted. “That really (angers me). If there’s one thing this team is not it is excuse-makers. … The only thing that can not be ignored, it can be dangerous.”
He later added, “Anyone who would accuse this team of whining has not been around it. That’s an insult to me and to them.”
I get La Russa’s point here — sometimes you can’t win — but at some point you just gotta zip it, because you can’t complain your way out of being accused of being a complainer.
*Oh, wait. Sorry.
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.