Fierce final-weekend competition
It was not John Patterson's best day, but he refused to give up after the Phillies scored four runs on him in the first inning. Like a trooper, he hung in there until the sixth inning, but it didn't really matter because the Nationals could never get a rally going. Meanwhile, Chase Utley hit two homers, rookie phenom Ryan Howard hit another one, plus a three-RBI double that hit the fence in left center field. Brett Meyers threw 12 strikeouts, the most in his career, and the Phillies' relievers threw five more. Final score, 8-4. In their final game tomorrow, the Nats will be playing for pure pride, hoping to finish above .500, while the Phillies will be scrambling for a shot at the wild card spot. Ryan Zimmerman is batting exactly .400 (22 of 55); will he take the chance that Ted Williams did and risk dropping below that magic plateau?
The game in Boston happened to end with the same score, 8-4, and the visiting team likewise won. Few would have expected it early in the season, or even late in the season, but the Yankees won the AL East for the eighth year in a row. Since Cleveland fell to the White Sox again, however, Boston still has an inside track in the wild card race, so get ready, folks: Here we go again!
Roger Clemens performed impeccably as usual, and the Astros' 3-1 win over the Cubs gives them at least a tie for the NL wild card spot. In a game that was meaningless for most of the country, the Marlins took advantage of the Braves' weak bullpen and scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, to win 6-4. That puts the Nationals all alone in last place.
With multiple decisive games being played this afternoon, it would have been nice to kick back and enjoy it all on the tube. David Pinto complained that FOX didn't broadcast a double-header, and I wondered about that myself. In the NFL, double-headers are broadcast every Sunday, so why not baseball? In this case, however, I don't think we can blame Peter Angelos for the lack of TV coverage. [I'm just thankful I got one more chance to see the Nationals on TV before the season ended. Some of the new faces, like Ryan Zimmerman and Brandon Watson, are still unfamiliar to me.]
All of the thumbnail diagrams of stadiums currently in use have now been "upgraded," so you can make quick comparisons between them on the Baseball sitemap page. They are a taste of what's to come as the full-sized versions of those diagrams gradually get polished up over the next few months.