Down to the wire
On Aug. 29, after Arizona’s 9-3 win against the Dodgers, L.A. trailed Arizona by 4.5 games. That’s a tough margin to make up with a month left to play. The Dodgers have made it up and more in less than two weeks.
The Dodgers are 10-1 in their last 11 after Tuesday and Arizona’s 2-9, putting L.A. 3.5 games ahead. The streaks include five straight Dodger wins over the D-backs. Andre Ethier has joined Manny Ramirez in carrying the Dodgers. Ethier is hitting 22-for-42 (.524) with 15 runs scored and 14 RBI in the last 11 games.
L.A. and Arizona don’t meet again this season. The Dodgers have only six home games left, but no games, home or away, against teams with winning records. That’s not surprising in the NL West as even with the recent hot streak, the Dodgers lead the division with a 75-71 record.
The Yankees will not extend Yankee Stadium’s life into the postseason, but the Mets are in position to keep Shea Stadium open a little longer.
The Mets have moved in front of the Phillies despite losing closer Billy Wagner to Tommy John surgery. It’s expected Wagner will miss all of the 2009 season as well and with such surgery, whether he can come back at all is in doubt.
Having Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes all going at the same time is a welcome sight for the Mets and it’s come just in time.
The biggest spark is Reyes, who supposedly has had a poor year for the most part. How talented is Reyes? A disappointing season includes a .300 batting average, 49 stolen bases, 18 triples and 13 homers.
In the AL Central, the White Sox and Twins have been practically tied throughout the second half of the season.
While the White Sox do it with home runs and pitching that runs hot and cold, the Twins, for yet another season, prove a team can win in the American League with consistent, if not flashy, pitching, along with singles and sacrifices.
The White Sox have three big bats out of their lineup with Carlos Quentin, Joe Crede and Paul Konerko possibly, but not officially, out for the season. Quentin could have been the AL MVP.
The Twins host the White Sox for three games in the final week of the season. The Twins are 5-1 against Chicago in the Metrodome this season.
Tampa Bay continues to hold on and then some. On Tuesday night at Fenway Park, Tampa lost a one-run lead in the eighth inning on a two-run homer by Jason Bay.
After a curtain call for Bay and Jonathan Papelbon coming in to close the ninth for Boston, recent AAA-call-up Dan Johnson hit a tying home run and Dioner Navarro hit a game-winning two-run double.
On Wednesday, the Rays beat Boston in 14 innings. The win put Tampa Bay up by 2.5 games and it was the first series win for the Rays at Fenway since 1999.
Johnson’s Durham team is in the International League’s championship series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. These are the Rays, so no matter how this season plays out, it’ll be easy to call it a one-year fluke (although a fluke is tough to pull off in a 162-game season). The facts point to this season being the first of, while probably not a dynasty, certainly a few good years in a row.