<span class="vcard">Craig Calcaterra</span>

Ryan Zimmerman AP

Ryan Zimmerman hits an RBI triple in his return to the Nationals lineup

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Ryan Zimmerman missed 55 games with a torn hamstring. During that time the Nats didn’t miss a beat, taking the NL East title with ease in a spectacular second half of the season. But that doesn’t mean they’re not happy to have him back. And last night he showed us why.

Zimmerman had two hits, including an RBI triple in the Nationals win over Miami last night. He also got thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice, but cut the dude some slack, he’s been on the shelf for 55 games.

Going forward, Zimmerman is expected to play a lot of left field. Last night that gave Bryce Harper a night off, but Matt Williams said after the game that Harper will likely play some center and right field as well, ensuring that all of Washington’s starters get some rest as they gear up for the playoffs. Once the playoffs start it’s not clear what Zimmerman’s role will be, but he sure is showing that his bat is just fine. And you have to figure Williams would like the flexibility he provides.

Video: Yasiel Puig made a spectacular diving catch

Puig Dive
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Puig’s gonna Puig:

He came up holding his shoulder — it looked like he hurt it throwing rather than diving — but he stayed in the game and actually hit a double his next time up. Worth watching to see if his throwing is hampered a bit in the coming days, however.

Matt Garza: if you think I was trying to hit McCutchen, “you’re just an idiot”

Matt Garza
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Matt Garza hit Andrew McCutchen twice last night. As Bill noted, that’s pretty unusual for Garza, a guy who doesn’t hit a lot of dudes. At the same time, it was a close, important game and Garza was ahead in the count, so it’s not like it made a lot of sense to plunk McCutchen on purpose in that situation. Call it a gray area, I suppose. And if you call it anything else, Matt Garza has some words for you:

“If people think I hit McCutchen on purpose with as 1-2 count in a game like this, then you’re just an idiot. That goes for the Pirates TV crew that kept insinuating that’s what we were doing. You’re an idiot.”

He added an “it is what it is,” thereby undercutting his point dramatically because, gosh, that’s an awful expression.

The Padres are going to keep Bud Black as their manager for 2015

Bud Black Getty
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Bud Black is under contract through next season, but with a new GM in San Diego — and that now common thing in which, apparently, it’s impossible for anyone to manage a team while only under contract for the current year — whether Black would be back to mange the Padres in 2015 was an open question.

It’s open no more, as Barry Bloom of MLB.com reports that Padres GM A.J. Preller likes Bud and wants him to stay on. And Black himself is more than eager to stay.

The Padres are not, historically speaking, quick to change managers. Bruce Bochy preceded Black and held the job for 12 years. Black is finishing his eighth year as Padres manager. None of Black’s years have ended with a playoff appearance, however, and he’s 613-676 at the helm. Though, to be fair the Padres have very rarely given him a lot to work with.

The Padres have improved quite a bit in the second half of the 2014 season, going 32-27 since the break.

Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.03.08 AM
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source: AP

Latest Standings
Latest Wild Card Standings

The Tigers take another from Kansas City, putting them up by two and a half games in the AL Central. It’s helpful to think of it as three games, however, as the Royals still have that suspended game to finish with the Indians tomorrow, which they currently trail 4-2 in the tenth inning. The Cardinals put another game between themselves and the Pirates, likely ending any chance of Pittsburgh taking the NL Central. The Dodgers and Giants both lose, leaving their spread in the NL West at three and a half as well.

In the AL wild card, Oakland and Seattle both lost, leaving those two and the Royals in the same position they were in before: the A’s and Royals tied in the loss column — again, with the Royals likely to lose that suspended game — and the M’s a half game back. Which means, man nothing has been decided as these three teams jockey for two spots. In the NL the Brewers gain a game on Pittsburgh by beating them yesterday, but are still three and a half back of the Buccos with a week to play. The Giants have a game on the Pirates.

Tigers 3, Royals 2
Cubs 8, Dodgers 7
Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 1
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 3
Brewers 1, Pirates 0
Phillies 3, Athletics 0
Mets 4, Braves 2
Orioles 7, Red Sox 2
Nationals 3, Marlins 2
Indians 7, Twins 3
Cardinals 8, Reds 4
Astros 10, Mariners 1
Padres 3, Giants 2
Rays 3, White Sox 1
Angels 8, Rangers 5