I don’t know if the Yankees will close the 2.5 game gap between them and the playoffs, but they might. And if they do, Mike Lupica argues, the league will hate it:
Now it is September of 2013, what the Yankees hope will be a big September as they try to clinch a wild card or maybe still win the American League East from the Red Sox, whom they would play in three hours. And less than four years from A-Rod’s dream October, he has become Major League Baseball’s worst nightmare. There is only one player whom the people who run the sport don’t want to see playing baseball this October, and it is Alex Rodriguez . . .
I suppose there is a lot of truth to that. I also suppose that baseball will quite gladly accept the high TV rankings and generalized buzz that will flow from the Yankees — and A-Rod — making the playoffs.
And even if they hate it now, I would think that at least some forward thinkers at the league office will recognize that an A-Rod in the playoffs story will — while certainly causing a lot of controversy and hand-wringing — reveal that the sport is larger than the controversies which so many wish to have define it. That A-Rod’s foibles will not turn Yankees fans off of their team’s run. Nor will it kill non-Yankees fans interest in rooting against the Yankees. It will fuel it, actually, and while that may still be based on the ugly PED stuff, it’s always been good for baseball when folks root for and against the Yankees.
The sport has survived so many scoundrels and scandals. It is and will continue to survive this one. Anyone saying otherwise is ignorant of the game’s history and is misapprehending the seriousness — as opposed to the mere salaciousness — of A-Rod and the Biogenesis stuff.
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.