It's that time of year. Each game can be a thriller or a heartbreaker as teams continue to vie for the postseason. For clubs completely out of the playoff hunt, it's a matter of pride and possibly a chance to be spoilers. For individuals, especially youngsters and fading veterans, there are potential jobs on the line. And for fans and players across the league in the hunt, it's a time where the art of scoreboard watching becomes addictive. And so, here's the latest and greatest from around the league as teams find their way through these waning weeks of the regular season:
The Mets magic number is three. It's almost time to celebrate, and this team is just not letting up. Carlos Beltran smacked his 40th homer. Billy Wagner racked up three saves to improve his total to 37. And the speedster Jose Reyes knocked his first inside the park home run. They're going to be a force come October, no doubt.
The Phils are very much in the hunt, though they had their game postponed against the Braves on Tuesday and will now play a twinbill on Wednesday. Jamie Moyer continues to pitch like fine wine tossing 8.0 innings of five-hit, one-run baseball in earning his second win wearing a Phillies uniform on Friday. And Ryan Howard, well, he continues to destroy opposing pitching. He had four multi-hit games and crushed three more home runs this past week. He's now batting .316 with 56 home runs and 138 RBI. Can you say MVP?
after last week's article ran, rookie Anibal Sanchez made history tossing
a no-hitter. Though he didn't follow that up with a second no-no, he did earn
win number eight against the Mets on Monday as the Marlins hammered
5.0 games back with 19 games to go, it's going to take a miracle for the Braves
to make the postseason. It was an impressive run, but it's finally coming to a
close. The Braves have been streaky all season, but John Smoltz's
performance lately has hurt. He's lost his last three starts, including a brief
2.0-inning showing against the
The Nationals continue to play with pride and gut out some solid victories. Alfonso Soriano set a franchise record by hitting his 45th home run this week, and Jose Vidro demonstrated just how healthy he is feeling. In the past week, the veteran second baseman has posted 10 RBI and four multi-hit games.
reminded everyone that Ryan Howard isn't the only MVP-worthy player this season.
Pujols ripped a two-out, two-run, walk-off double into the left field corner
Tuesday night to beat
yo-yo Reds were trying to fade away, but they've come screaming back with three
wins in their last four games. The most notable victory came Tuesday night in a
huge win over NL Wild Card leading
Brad Lidge just can't exorcise those Cardinal demons. Craig Biggio is in an 0-for-20 slump and has been given a couple days off. And Andy Pettitte had to leave Tuesday game against the Cardinals early with a reported flexor muscle strain. These aren't the signs of a team that's looking dangerous and ready to make their move. Time has just about run out unless Phil Garner has some miracle up his sleeve.
Brewers have pretty much fallen to pieces and have very little hope with
finishing near the .500 mark, where they ended last season. It's a
disappointment for sure. Earlier in the season I was tracking
dropped to second in the race for the NL batting title as Miguel Cabrera moved a
point higher with a .340 average, but Sanchez is sure to be in the thick of the
hunt through the final days of the season. Teammate and fellow
Cubs are just three games ahead of the Royals for the worst record in baseball,
and the possibility of a 100-loss season still exists. They've got 17 games to
go. Dusty Baker's club needs to go 5-12 or better to finish the season
and avoid that disaster. As if it might have some impact on Baker's fate in
Like a rabbit in a race, the Dodgers sprint out of the gates and are now laboring hoping the dogs trailing them don't catch up before the final gun sounds. The Dodgers have dropped six of their last nine with the most recent the aforementioned loss to the Cubs. Brad Penny got roughed up by the Mets in his last start giving up 10 hits and seven runs, and Greg Maddux has lost his last two starts.
Jake Peavy lost his league-high 14th game this week and continues to have more of a Dr. Jeckyll season than that of a Mr. Hyde. Shortstop Khalil Greene also continues to have his own struggles, but with that of a ligament strain in his finger that still has him unable to swing a bat. His condition should keep him out of the lineup until Friday at the earliest.
Giants continue to hang tough. They took two of three from
With a .334 batting average, Matt Holliday has a shot at catching Miguel Cabrera and Freddy Sanchez in the batting title race. He's six points off the pace after having back-to-back three-hit games and then getting skunked 0-for-3 on Tuesday. Teammate Todd Helton is having the worst season of his storied career. He's batting .297, but he has a chance at saving some face and getting over .300. In his ninth season, Helton hasn't hit less than .315, which just happens to be his first full year at the big league level.
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