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October 2, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Nationals are NL East champions!

It wasn't pretty, as they needed help from Pittsburgh, but the Washington Nationals clinched the National League Eastern Division title last night, in spite of losing 2-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies. The only runs scored came on a triple hit by the Phillies' Darin Ruf; they ball sailed into the corner to the left of the Red Porch, just barely out of reach of Bryce Harper, who crashed into the wall. (He's OK.) See So even if it wasn't the most dramatic way to cross the finish line, it was still very satisfying, a reward for a long season of consistent, top-notch playing by the Nationals.


The Nats are well-accustomed to playing the role of spoiler, in 2007 (against the New York Mets) and 2010 (against the Atlanta Braves). This year it was the Pittsburgh Pirates who played that role, to the Nationals' benefit. [They beat the visiting Atlanta Braves, 2-1.]

Bryce Harper has two more games to tie Tony Conigliaro's 1964 record for home runs hit by a rookie (24); since it doesn't much matter who wins or loses, he can feel free to swing away. It should be noted that Bryce has only played for five full months this year.

Tigers win AL Central Division

Who would have thought one month ago that the Detroit Tigers would [have] as big a lead in their division (3 games) as the Washington Nationals, and an even bigger lead than the Texas Rangers (2 games)? Well, they successfully finished their late-season push by beating the Royals in Kansas City last night, 6-3. The crushing 11-0 victory by the White Sox over the host Cleveland Indians did not even matter. What a disappointing September swoon for the Chicago south-siders.

In that Tigers-Royals game, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera hit his 44th home run of the year, retaking the league lead from Josh Hamilton. Cabrera has a slight edge in batting average over Joe Mauer of the Twins (.325 vs. .323) and a solid advantage over Josh Hamilton in the RBI department (137 vs. 127). Will he become the first player to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967? See the "Triple Crown Watch" at

In other races...

The Yankees clobbered the Red Sox, while the Rays beat the Orioles, who fell a game behind.

The surging Oakland A's beat the visiting Texas Rangers last night, pulling to within a single game in the AL West race. Texas better get busy quick, or they could lose the division race outright in the final two games.

The Reds fell to the Cardinals, so the Nationals are still tied with the best record in the majors, 96-64.

COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Oct 09, 2012 20:01 PM
CORRECTION: Jonathan Karberg let me know that other rookies have hit more home runs than Tony Conigliaro in 1964, such as Albert Pujols. I should have written that Conigliaro has the home run record (24) for TEENAGE rookies; Bryce Harper will have his 20th birthday in a few weeks.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 09 Oct 2012, 8: 01 PM

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Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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