Early start today!
Last night, while shopping with my wife at the market, I watched the final two innings of the Giants-DBacks game on my phone, which actually worked quite well. And I almost timed it so I’d still be in the market when the game ended. Then, when I didn’t want to hear it, I heard, “Sir, I’ll open this register for you!” Anyway, I saw Eric Chavez’s hit with two outs in the ninth in the parking lot as I put groceries into the car.
The Reds start today just two games out of first place, but in third, and they can’t change places because the first place Pirates and second place Cardinals play each other. The Pirates have a 1/2 game lead.
The White Sox became the third team to be mathematically eliminated from all playoff hopes. The only other teams that may not last the weekend are the Cubs and Brewers, but they play each other.
The Cubs, Brewers are eliminated from their divisional races, but could still win the wild card. (They won’t, but they could!) The Phillies will be eliminated from the NL East race if they lose to the Braves. The Mets will be out of the the NL East race with a loss to Cleveland and an Atlanta win. The Giants will be eliminated from the NL West race with a loss to Arizona and a Dodgers win.
The Dodgers are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since June 8-10 when they lost two games to Atlanta and one to Arizona. The June 10 game was one where the Dodgers led 3-1 going to the 9th and Brandon League gave up four runs. The Dodgers got a home run from Juan Uribe off of Heath Bell, and then put runners on first and third with no outs. Where they stayed for the next three batters. Kenley Jansen got the save in the Dodgers win the next day.
A note from Frank Vaccaro of SABR that I picked up on the organization’s listserv. The Dodgers were in last place at the start of play on July 2. They since have built up a lead of more than 10 games in the standings. The only team to build up a 10+ game lead in the standings after being in last place at a later date were the 1914 Boston Braves, who were in last place on July 19. However, this year’s Dodgers had played two more games (81 to 79) than the Miracle Braves at those points in the season.
Finally, the biggest duel of the season going on in this series is the one between Adrian Gonzalez and Zack Cosart for the NL lead in sacrifice flies. Both men have nine. Gonzalez has scored Carl Crawford six times on sacrifice flies, but Cosart has brought home nine different players. No Dodger has led the NL in sacrifice flies since 1978 when Reggie Smith had 13. The MLB record for sacrifice flies in a year (a stat that dates back just to 1954 in its present form) is 19 by Gil Hodges back in 1954.