The next time someone argues that pitcher wins mean anything, remember the Cards-Nats game from tonight.
Stephen Strasburg and Shelby Miller are locked in a pitcher’s duel. It’s 1-1 in the top of the seventh. Miller gets two outs, but also loads the bases. He’s at 101 pitches and he’s gassed, so Mike Matheny calls on Randy Choate. Choate comes in and throws one pitch, which induces a ground ball to get the Cards out of the inning.
Bottom of the seventh comes and the Cards rally for three runs on a Matt Adams homer, a walk to Matt Holliday with the bases loaded and an Allen Craig single. Choate is the pitcher of record throughout this half-inning, even if he’s just watching it all from the bench, even as Jon Jay pinch hits for him. Pat Neshek comes in for the eighth and sets the Nats down 1-2-3. Trevor Rosenthal does the same in the ninth. Ballgame.
The man who threw one pitch is awarded with the win. Granted, he did his job and all that he was asked to do. But he still threw one pitch. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about pitcher wins.
The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.
Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:
Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.
Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.
Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.
Brian Dozier had a bonafide Little League moment during Saturday’s contest against the Tigers. In the first inning, the Twins’ second baseman squared up a bunt against Detroit left-hander Matt Boyd, which was scooped by Jeimer Candelario halfway up the third base line. The throw to first skirted the bag, allowing Dozier to touch all the bases and slide home to score the Twins’ first run of the game.
In other words, it was just your run-of-the-mill bunt home run:
Officially, the play was scored as a single and run scored on a throwing error. Still, if this is a sampling of the kind of plays we can expect to see from the Twins this October, it’s shaping up to be one wacky postseason.