Cupcakes, clinchers to decide the NL Wild Card

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File this under Deep Thoughts, I guess, but I’m struck by the remaining schedules of the NL Wild Card contenders:

Cardinals: Cubs, Astros, Nationals, Reds;
Brewers: Nationals, Reds, Astros, Padres;
Dodgers: Reds, Padres, Rockies Giants

The Cards seem to have the easiest go of it, with two cupcake teams and two teams that have clinched the playoffs and will either be resting their players or, at the very least, may not quite have that eye of the tiger you’d see if they hadn’t clinched.

That Padres series for the Brewers is sorta dangerous, as San Diego is in Play for Pride mode. I mean, yes, I suppose the Cubs and Astros are too, but the Padres at least have talent to make such an inspiration meaningful.

Schedule often doesn’t matter that much in baseball, but it’s interesting to see just how much the Astros are affecting everything, what with beating the Phillies last week and then having so many games against the contenders late.

Down the stretch they come.

Manuel Margot exits game with apparent wrist injury

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Padres outfielder Manuel Margot was pulled from Friday’s game after sustaining an injury on an attempted catch in the eighth inning. Margot laid out in center field to snare Cesar Hernandez‘s double, but appeared to injure his left wrist in the process. Little is known about the precise nature or severity of the injury so far, but Margot underwent an evaluation following the incident and should have a clearer picture of his recovery timetable soon.

It’s a disappointing turn of events for the 23-year-old outfielder, who finished the game batting .245/.312/.365 with 25 extra-base hits and a .677 OPS through 312 PA. This isn’t the first time he’s been sidelined with wrist issues this season; he hyperextended his left wrist on another diving catch back in mid-May, though he managed to successfully avoid the disabled list (and a lengthy setback) after taking a few days off. It’s not clear whether he’ll be that lucky a second time.

An unforeseen result of Margot’s departure in the eighth: The Padres were forced to insert catcher A.J. Ellis in left field for the first time, as they had already cycled through their remaining options on the bench. Ellis, whose last tryout in the outfield came during a two-inning stint in Double-A back in 2007, didn’t get the chance to show off his defensive chops, however, as Wil Myers gloved the inning-ending out several minutes after Margot was removed from the game. The Padres dropped their series opener to the Phillies, 11-5.