The Tigers storm back to take the lead in the 6th inning of Game 6

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Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz didn’t have enough gas to get through the sixth inning of Game 6. After shutting the Tigers out through five, he showed diminished velocity and command, as he walked lead-off batter Torii Hunter on consecutive 88 MPH fastballs. He then surrendered a single to Miguel Cabrera through the hole between third base and shortstop, prompting manager John Farrell to exit the dugout to bring in lefty reliever Franklin Morales.

The slide continued as Morales walked the struggling Prince Fielder on four pitches, then was nearly taken deep by Victor Martinez, who drove a single high off of the Green Monster in left-center, scoring Hunter and Cabrera.

Farrell called on right-hander Brandon Workman to halt the Tigers’ newfound momentum. He did, getting Jhonny Peralta to hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia dashed towards Martinez caught in no-man’s land off the first base bag, tagging him for one out. He then fired home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, catching Fielder in a rundown. Saltalamacchia chased Fielder up the line back to third base, tagging him a foot off the bag. Peralta advanced to second base on the play, then was pinch-run for by Don Kelly.

Workman struck out Alex Avila looking to end the frame. Though the Tigers took the lead, the Red Sox have to feel good about how they played damage control. Not only could the score have been much, much worse, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland removed one of his best hitters thus far in the post-season for a pinch-runner, who ultimately failed to even attempt to score.

Magic Johnson says the Dodgers will win the World Series

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Baseball, as we so often note around here, is unpredictable. Especially when it comes to the playoffs. You can be the best team in the land for six months but a few bad days can end your season once October hits.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in the regular season but lost the ALCS to the Yankees, four games to one. In 1906 the Cubs won 116 games in a 152-game season and lost the World Series. In 1954 the Indians won 111 games in a 154-game season and lost the World Series. In 1931 the Philadelphia A’s won 107 games and lost the World Series.

More recently, with the advent of expanded playoffs, the chances for the team with the best record to win the World Series have been pretty dang terrible. Since the beginning of the wild card era, only five times has the team with the game’s best record gone on to win the World Series: The 1998 and 2009 Yankees, the 2007 and 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Cubs. That’s it.

At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball’s best record. They’re 71-31 and sit 12 games up in their division. Their playoff chances are almost 100%. The above examples notwithstanding, if you had to make a prediction as to who might win the World Series, it would not be unreasonable to pick the Dodgers. Sure, you’d want to make sure they got Clayton Kershaw back by early September or thereabouts to make it a safer prediction, but it’d be a totally defensible pick. Maybe even the one most people make.

But it’d be the utmost in magical thinking to presume that one could make such a prediction with any degree of certainty, right? The Los Angeles Times, however, passes along some Magical thinking:

Magic Johnson called his shot Thursday night, and he wasn’t shy about it. The Dodgers’ co-owner did not hesitate when he predicted how the team would finish this year.

“The Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year,” Johnson said. “This is our year.”

The headline calls it a “guarantee.” I don’t know if I’d call it that — I think it’s more of a confident prediction — but it is a bold statement whatever you call it.

If I had to pick one team at the moment — and we could assume a healthy Clayton Kershaw — I suppose I would make them my World Series favorites too. And, yes, if I had an ownership interest in the Dodgers, I’d probably say what Johnson said.

But given the example of history, I think “field” would be a much safer bet.

Mariners trade Steve Cishek to the Rays for swingman Erasmo Ramirez.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, with a 15/7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He’s a setup man right now, but he has experience as a closer, saving 25 games for Seattle last year and as many as 39 back when he pitched for the Marlins in 2014.

Ramirez has appeared in 26 games for the Rays and has started eight games. He’s 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and a 55/16 K/BB ratio in 69.1 innings. This will be his second stint with the Mariners, having played for them from 2012-14.

Sort of a surprising deal given that both Tampa Bay and Seattle are competing for a wild card spot, but needs are needs.