Not a creature was stirring . . .

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Christmas Tree.jpgOr tweeting, even.  Yes, even the hyperactive hot stove season sleeps sometimes, and it appears as though it has gone to sleep for Christmas as of late this morning.  Oh, someone may still be doing some last minute shopping — at least one store is open, with plenty left on the shelves — but most of anyone who matters in baseball is home with their families enjoying some quiet time. As they should be.  And as you should too, if you’re able and fortunate enough to do so.

If someone gets restless and decides to do something — there are still some relievers Anaheim hasn’t signed yet — one of us will do a quick post about it, but as for now, we’re knocking off.

I can’t speak for Aaron, Matthew, D.J. or Bob, but later this evening I’ll be pouring some brown liquor over ice and watching Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed do their thing.  Then I’m going to go to sleep, hoping that Santa Claus brings my Braves Matt Holliday with some insane back-loaded contract or something.  Hope you get what you asked for too.

Merry Christmas, everyone.   

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.