October 1, 2016 [LINK / comment]
At rain-soaked Nationals Park last night, the Miami Marlins took an early 4-0 lead, as starting pitcher A.J. Cole once again showed that he is not ready for prime time. At one point in the second inning, five consecutive Marlins hit the ball hard, four reaching base and one flying out to the warning track in center field. Dusty Baker replaced him after just three innings. Hopes soared after Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fourth, launching a four-run rally to tie the game. It could have been more, except that [Wilmer Difo] was tagged out at third base, the umpire's call being upheld by video review. That might have made all the difference. The Marlins scored three more runs in the latter innings, and the final score was 7-4.
Of all the rival teams in the National League East Division this year, the Washington Nationals have had trouble against only one: the Miami Marlins. [In contrast,] the Nats' head-to-head record against the Atlanta Braves is 15-4, against the New York Mets is 12-7, and against the Philadelphia Phillies is 14-5. What gives?
Average per-game attendance at Nationals Park this is is 30,656 so far, with just two more games to go. I'll be doing my part at this afternoon's game to make sure the average stays above 30,000 for the fifth year in a row. It will be the first time I have seen Tanner Roark pitch.
For the first time since 2005, an official Major League game was declared tied, as rain forced a premature end to the Cubs - Pirates game on Thursday. Since the outcome would not affect the postseason positions, it just didn't matter. Final score: 1-1.
Led by ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants did the Nationals a favor by trouncing the L.A. Dodgers at AT&T Park last night. If the Nats win either today's game or tomorrow's, or the Dodgers lose either today's game or tomorrow's, the Nats will have clinched the National League second-seed, with home field advantage in the NLDS. And the Mets won again, assuring that they will be a wild card team, probably with a home game at Citi Field.
But in the American League, things didn't go as well for the Toronto Blue Jays, who lost to the Red Sox. All of a sudden, the Jays are in peril of losing their wild card slot to the Detroit Tigers, only a half game behind.