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Sunday was supposed to be the final day of the regular season, but the lockout that wiped out a week’s worth of games extended the season by three more days. As usual, the end of the regular season has seemingly snuck up on us. The final weekend saw another team punch its postseason ticket and another virtually lock up their spot in the 12-team dance.
Padres A True Wild Card
To say the San Diego Padres‘ return to the playoffs was unexpected might not do it justice. Remember, this is the team that announced just after the lockout ended that star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. broke his left wrist in the offseason. Then, just when it seemed like Tatis was on the verge of returning in late July, he was suspended 80 games for using performance-enhancing drug clostebol. Still, the Padres had more than kept their heads above water and Sunday became the 11th team to earn a postseason berth. Despite their 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox, the Padres received the necessary help when the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Miami Marlins 4-3 in 12 innings. The Padres will be one of the three National League wild-card teams.
WE'RE GOING TO THE POSTSEASON pic.twitter.com/LHk3gdiKp1
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) October 2, 2022
Braves Sweep Mets In NL East Showdown
Once down by 10½ games, the Atlanta Braves are on the cusp of winning the NL East for the fifth year in a row. The defending World Series champions, powered by home runs for the third straight day from Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson, completed a three-game home sweep of the New York Mets with a 5-3 victory. Not only did the victory put the Braves two games ahead of the Mets in the East with three games left to play, it also clinched the season series 10-9, which would be used to determine which of the two teams wins the division (and which is the wild card) should they finish tied. Any combination of a Braves win or a Mets loss gives Atlanta the division. The Mets had been in first place for all but a handful of days before being swept by the Braves, who became the third team in MLB to win 100 games this season (Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros). Since June 1, when the Braves were 10½ behind the Mets, Atlanta has gone 76-32 (.704) and New York 63-44 (.589). To top everything else, the Braves accomplished the sweep against the Mets’ top three pitchers: Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 3, 2022
Phillies On Verge
The final piece of the postseason puzzle is the third NL wild-card team. That will either be the Brewers or Philadelphia Phillies, but really it is Philly’s to lose (although that might not be a good phrase to utter around a Phillies fan). Combined with the Brewers’ loss and the Phillies’ 8-1 win over the Washington Nationals pushed Philadelphia’s lead over Milwaukee to two games with three to play. Philly also holds the tiebreaker over the Brewers by winning the season series 4-2. The Phillies’ pursuit (and recent play) prompted their social media team to inject a bit of humor into tense Sunday when they changed the moniker of their Twitter account to “Miami Marlins Stan Account.”
Mariners Promote Hollander To EVP, GM
While the champagne has yet to dry from Friday’s dramatic playoff clinching, the Seattle Mariners are rewarding one of their executives with a promotion. Justin Hollander was named executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager, the team announced. Hollander has been with the M’s for six seasons, the last three as VP of baseball operations and assistant GM. The move could likely be a pre-emptive move to dissuade others that are or will be conducting GM searches this offseason.
Best Moments From Yesterday
Cardinals Honor Molina, Pujols (Plus No. 702)
With a playoff berth already clinched, Sunday’s home finale was all about nostalgia for the St. Louis Cardinals. With catcher Yadier Molina and designated hitter Albert Pujols having declared they are retiring after this season, a pregame ceremony was held in their honor. Right-hander Adam Wainwright, who has not announced he is retiring but could make that decision, started the game. When he was removed in the fifth inning, Molina and Pujols, getting a rare start at his longtime position of first base, walked with Wainwright off the mound and into the dugout, ending their day. It was the record 328th and final start with Molina catching Wainwright. Oh, and Pujols hit career homer No. 702 just for good measure.
After all, four and five do go together. pic.twitter.com/Cn2iX8VzWS
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 3, 2022
The best things come in threes pic.twitter.com/KIEmTCNH07
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 2, 2022
HE'S TIED BABE! pic.twitter.com/HeCZr8xK7t
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 2, 2022
Only Way To Celebrate
You spent the weekend in Las Vegas and you hit the jackpot. How are you celebrating? Well, the Durham Bulls had quite the weekend in Sin City, as the Tampa Bay Rays‘ affiliate on Saturday beat the Nashville Sounds 13-0 to win the International League championship, then on Sunday scored five runs in the top of the ninth to deck the Reno Aces 10-6 for the Triple-A national championship. So how do you uniquely celebrate that feat? Hop over the outfield fence and jump in to the pool.
— Durham Bulls (@DurhamBulls) October 3, 2022
Injuries and Other Moves
Infielder Edmundo Sosa (right hamstring) and left-handed reliever Brad Hand (left elbow) could return to the Phillies’ active roster if they qualify for the Wild Card Series, manager Rob Thomson said.
Right-handed starter Simeon Woods Richardson had his contract selected by the Minnesota Twins and made his MLB debut. Woods Richardson supplants Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the longest last name in MLB history at 16 characters, including the space, by two characters.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) October 2, 2022
Articles You Should Read
Who is to blame for Mets’ weekend struggles? Their stars — Joel Sherman, New York Post
What does (and doesn’t) Ohtani’s deal mean to the Angels — Sam Blum, The Athletic
This guy hit 72 homers in 138 games, all while running a gas station — Michael Clair, MLB.com
Fantasy Baseball Coverage
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)