I want the record to reflect that I have not trolled Philly fans all day. As a 1990s Braves fan I learned the hard way that awesome rotations aren’t always enough and that six months of brilliance can be erased pretty damn quickly once your depth advantage is reduced due to the nature of playoff baseball. It stinks, but it’s baseball life.
Now, don’t mistake my lack of trolling Philly fans for me rooting for them or something. I mean, I’m not rooting against them either, but it would certainly make life more interesting around here if Philly lost. After being informed by so many that the season should have just been suspended and the Phillies named World Series champs the day after the Cliff Lee signing I would certainly look forward to the post-NLDS loss spin should it occur.
That may be academic though. Why? Because for all of the issues with the offense recently and the anything can happen nature of an elimination game, I keep coming back to one thing. Or one man, really: Roy Halladay. He pitches tonight. And he’s pretty much God when he gets five days of rest, which is what he has now. Here’s Corey Seidman over at Phillies Nation:
Halladay has made 84 career starts on five days rest. He has a .714 winning percentage in those games and an ERA (2.59) almost one full run better than on normal rest (3.42). An extra-rested Halladay has held opponents to a batting average 22 points lower than usual and a slugging percentage 44 points lower. In such games, his opponents’ OPS is 15 percent worse.
You can’t predict baseball. Especially not playoff baseball. But for the Cardinals to overcome that tonight, they’re going to have to play out of their minds.
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.