Just two days of the regular season left… my oh my, how the season has flown by. While the playoffs for the AL are almost set in stone, the NL still has a couple of teams vying for the wild card. We are sure to see some emotional moments this weekend, and Friday was no exception. Let’s take a look at what happened during yesterday’s games.
In the final days of the regular season, there were some very dramatic walk-offs all across the country, from Atlanta to Arlington to Cleveland to Oakland to San Diego.
In Atlanta, the Braves and Red Sox had an extremely hard-fought, close game with seven runs scored and the lead changing four times in extra innings. Relievers for both teams struggled to finish out the game, with Ryan Brasier and Mark Melancon registering blown saves in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. But all this came to a dramatic climax when NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman stepped up to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 11th with a runner on second. On a 1-0 count, Freeman crushed a ball over the opposite field wall for a walk-off home run as Dansby Swanson threw his hands in the air celebrate because the Braves had clinched the No. 2 seed in the NL.
Meanwhile, Arlington also saw a similar chaotic situation as the Rangers and Astros could not close out the game, with Ryan Pressly giving up a two-strike, two-out game-tying solo shot to Ronald Guzmán in the bottom of the ninth. And although the Astros scored one run in the top of the tenth thanks to an Alex Bregman sac fly, the Rangers responded with two runs, winning due to a Joey Gallo dribbler on the infield grass that just barely got the winning run home.
The AL Central is an extremely close race coming right down to the wire, with the White Sox, Twins, and Indians all within one game of each other. It looked as though no one would be able to pick up ground as they all appeared destined for a loss yesterday. But while the White Sox and Twins could not come back, the Indians staged a dramatic comeback, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Pirates by a score of 4-3. This was all capped off by a César Hernández walk-off double to keep the Indians’ divisional hopes alive.
Oakland featured a different sort of game as both starters, Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi, delivered sparkling performances, pitching a combined 13 innings of shutout ball while recording 9 H, 3 BB and 11 K. The score still remained tied at 0-0 as the game entered the 10th, where the Mariners broke through first thanks to a passed ball by the Jake Diekman/Sean Murphy battery. In the bottom of the inning, the Athletics responded in dramatic fashion, tying the score first on a Ramón Laureano double before Mark Canha hit a walk-off homer that barely scraped over the wall in right-center to win the game 3-1.
And finally, San Diego seemed like they were about to be swept by the Giants in a doubleheader as the Padres were losing 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning in Oracle Park (the Padres were the home team for the second game). But they gradually chipped away at Giants reliever Sam Coonrod, getting two runners on with one out as Trent Grisham stepped up to the plate. Grisham took a hanging 3-2 offspeed pitch and barely pulled a homer down the line in right for a dramatic comeback win.
What a chaotic and awesome way to begin the final regular-season series of 2020.
Willson Contreras‘ Bat Enters Orbit
Willson Contreras‘ bat had quite the day yesterday, both literally and figuratively. At the plate, Contreras was excellent, recording two homers with three runs and four RBIs as the Cubs trounced the White Sox 10-0.
With one of his best games of the entire season, Contreras couldn’t contain his excitement after his third-inning bomb as he sent his bat to the ISS with an all-time great bat flip.
The Mega, Ultra, Super Special Umpire’s Interference
Yesterday’s close matchup between the Marlins and Yankees featured a moment that I really cannot recall seeing before. Take a look at this play and see if you pick it out:
Did you see it? Watch closely on this slow-mo:
Yes, that’s right. Chad Wallach’s elbow actually hit the mask of HP umpire John Tumpane (who was drawing the ire of both benches for his strike zone), which resulted in a dead ball and sent Mike Tauchman back to first.
Needless to say, the Yankees were not happy about this. Clint Frazier, who has recently been struggling at the plate, seemed pretty upset with this situation as he did his best Bo Jackson impersonation.
The Reds Shoutout Pitcher List!
It never hurts to do a little shameless self-promotion, especially with it involves a shoutout during an MLB game. During yesterday’s Reds vs. Twins game, Reds announcer Chris Welsh name-dropped Pitcher List by referencing an article he read about Tyler Mahle. Take a look at what he said:
Here I am watching the Reds vs. Twins game and suddenly @thinkpitch drops that he learned about Tyler Mahle's spin efficient fastball reading an article at Pitcher List.
Best. Friday. Ever.
Check out @dysthymikey's awesome Mahle piece from early August: https://t.co/wwAqOZgH1C pic.twitter.com/iSy121cfE6
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) September 26, 2020
Thanks Mr. Welsh! If you want to read Michael Ajeto’s piece on Mahle, click here.
Acuña Aims for the Atlantic
Ronald Acuña, who tallies in at 6′ tall, hit a ball pretty, pretty far. Just how far was it?
That’s a distance of 82.5 Acuñas (495 feet), which is the farthest home run hit this year (beating the previous record-holder, Giancarlo Stanton, by 12 feet). With that mammoth shot clearing the bleachers in deep left-center field, that is also the longest ball hit in Truist Park history.
What’s Under Blooper’s Hat?
I view Blooper as a simple creature. Whenever I see him in the stands, he has a whimsical look on his face, one of a… thing… that just loves baseball. Shouldn’t we all aspire to be more like Blooper?
Well yesterday, I became quite suspicious of him. What do I mean? Just take a look at him!
is that doug dimmadome, owner of the dimmsdale dimmadome? pic.twitter.com/qzLS7z8aXd
— Cut4 (@Cut4) September 26, 2020
Seriously, what is he hiding under there? His hat is just so… cavernous. It could hold so many things. Like 10 jawbreakers. Do mascots eat jawbreakers? Wait, what is the typical diet of a mascot? Do mascots even need food?
Anyway, I digress. Back to the most important question: what do you think Blooper is hiding under his hat?