Into the home stretch
As we head into the final week, most teams have seven games left to play. The National League postseason slots now are almost all decided: the Phillies lost to the Reds and are now two games behind the Astros in the wild card race. Things are much more interesting in the American League: The Red Sox pulled even with Yankees tonight, and the White Sox are barely managing to stay ahead of the Indians, who are on a veritable war path. Which of those four teams will fall short in the race for October? I haven't a clue. There was one more come-from-behind team last night: the LAnaheim Angels, who beat the Devil Rays 7-5 after falling to a 5-3 deficit. That pretty much locks up the AL West title. By the end of the week, the Baseball Archives will be reorganized to permit easier comparisons of each successive year's playoff scores with each other.
The future looks bright for the Nationals
Just try not to pay attention to the gloomy present! When was the last time a team scored five runs in the first inning before the first out?? That was all the Mets needed for the rest of the game, beating the Nats by the same score as yesterday: 5-2. Having lost six of their last seven games, the Nationals are now only one game above .500, and a half game ahead of the last-place Mets. Once again, Washington's lineup tonight consisted entirely of rookies and reservists, except for pitcher Livan Hernandez and (possibly) Cristian Guzman, who is on a "warm streak." Those rookies are, in fact, the team's bright side: Future star Ryan Zimmerman (U.Va.!) got three more hits in tonight's game, and is currently batting an astronomical .483 in 29 at bats. His former team mate from the New Orleans Zephyrs, minor league journeyman Rick Short, is batting .400.
Perhaps some ball players, and even aging wannabes like yours truly, take the spiritual angle of baseball a little too seriously. Last Sunday, the Washington Post ran an article about the Christian evangelizing in which Washington Nationals outfielder Ryan Church and pitcher Matt Cepicky have been engaged. It seemed pretty innocuous and upbeat; "Green Cathedrals," indeed! Many pro sports teams these days include groups of born-again Christians who pray together, which makes some people uncomfortable. A couple days later, however, Church had to apologize for saying that Jews are headed for eternal damnation; see Washington Post. Even if the person is being totally sincere, expressing such an exclusionary belief in public is not consistent with working in a line of business that serves or entertains the general public.