With Craig out of town, we have a “Settling the Score” in place of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
The Cardinals have at least assured themselves a spot in the NL Wild Card game, but they still have a division to win. After falling 6-4 to the Brewers on Sunday night, they currently hold a two-game lead over the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central with six games remaining in the regular season. Here’s how things set up this week.
The Cardinals are still sitting pretty right now, as they will play their final six games at home. They’ll begin a three-game series against the Nationals tonight before facing the last-place Cubs this weekend. The Reds will also be at home for their final six games. They’ll start at three-game series against the Mets tonight before getting the Pirates this weekend. As opposed to the Cardinals and Reds, the Pirates will finish the season on the road. They’ll play the Cubs for three before going to Cincinnati.
Whoever finishes in second and third place in the NL Central will almost certainly face off in the Wild Card game one week from tomorrow (the Nationals’ elimination number is down to two), but nobody wants their season to come down to just one game. Here’s hoping for a fun and dramatic final week.
Your Sunday box scores:
Giants 2, Yankees 1
Astros 2, Indians 9
Mets 4, Phillies 3
White Sox 6, Tigers 3
Reds 11, Pirates 3
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 5
Marlins 4, Nationals 2; Marlins 4, Nationals 5
Orioles 1, Rays 3
Braves 5, Cubs 2
Rangers 0, Royals 4 (10 innings)
Dodgers 1, Padres 0
Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 9
Mariners 3, Angels 2
Twins 7, Athletics 11
Cardinals 4, Brewers 6
The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.
Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.
Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.
For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.
And it continues anew:
There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.
Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:
Or at the end of the 2015 season:
Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.
Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.