I noted the whole “Jorge Posada should catch Mariano Rivera’s 602nd save” phenomenon yesterday, but I can’t say I expected it to be put so starkly and stupidly by someone who gets paid to write about sports. Of course no one has ever gone broke underestimating the level of discourse from Filip Bondy of the Daily News:
… Girardi has a blind spot. He has disrespected Jorge Posada all season and it was no different on Monday. Here was a perfect opportunity, with a two-run lead, for Girardi to bring Posada off the bench to catch Rivera in the ninth inning for the closer’s 602nd save … It was a missed opportunity at Yankee diplomacy, and it happened simply because Girardi has no patience for Posada.
Well no, he didn’t have the “perfect opportunity” because Posada had already been used as a pinch hitter two innings prior. But let’s not let that get in the way of some good righteous indignation.
But sure, there may or may not be such a thing as “Yankee diplomacy” and it may or may not require some degree of obeisance. I’d venture, however, that any set of policies and protocols which require Joe Girardi to put a guy who has caught 2/3 of a single baseball game all year into the ninth inning of a late season baseball game is not worth honoring.
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.