Thursday, October 1, 2009

They Oughta Call It The "Tame Card Race"

I think that's my 15th post title that started with "They Oughta Call It" and ended with an awesome play on words. I believe this calls for a weird celebration.

That's me doing the front two legs of the dragon on the left. The girl in the rear?

Total glory hog.

Anyway. The point is that after last night's games, there's basically no wild card race in either league. Colorado is 4 games up on Atlanta with 4 to play, and need only a single win or a Braves loss to clinch. Detroit, after beating Minnesota last night, is up 3 games with 4 to play. If they win again this afternoon, they've clinched. If not, there's a minute chance the Twins can catch up over the weekend. But it ain't likely.

Speaking of that Tigers-Twins series, here are Mauer's numbers in the three games thus far: 2-12, including a few failures in big 2-out situations. MVP? I think not.

(Okay, so there are those pesky spectacular season numbers, including the absurd OPS and average, but why argue semantics when you can hone in on a sample size as irrefutable as three games?)

Honestly, though, if we're going to get technical about the term 'Most Valuable Number,' which the sports media gleefuly does every single year, shouldn't Mauer have to prove his worth in this very important series? I mean, yes, his numbers are staggering for a catcher, but he's also got a guy breathing down his neck who holds the league lead in RBI and Home Runs, and is second in most other major categories. And let's not forget, Teixeira's season has basically been a highlight reel of clutch hits. Plus, he's going to win the Gold Glove.

The media talking points in regard to Mauer's candidacy seem to be of the cut and dry variety, but I think the whole thing deserves revisiting. Especially if he tanks tonight.

Quickly, here are some bits and pieces that might keep baseball's final weekend semi-interesting.

*CC goes for his 20th win Friday. Despite some satirical posts in the past, I won't make an honest argument for his Cy Young qualifications. Greinke's been too good. But 20 wins is quite a milestone, and he'll be the only guy in the AL who can claim that feat (I'll ignore, for now, that Greinke would probably have about 28 wins if he played for the Yankees). It would be CC's first 20-win season. The closest he came in the past was 19 with Cleveland in '07. Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals is the only NL player with a chance at 20, and he also pitches Friday.

*Speaking of Greinke, this is pretty awesome: if he pitches 7 or more shut-out innings against the Twins on Friday, his ERA for the year will actually be under 2.0. That's friggin' incredible. Arguably the best season by a major league starting pitcher since Pedro's campaign in 2000 (1.74 ERA, 284 Ks).

*Robbie Cano is 6th in AL batting, at .322, one percentage point behind Michael Young for a top 5 finish.^ Jeter has third place all but secured at 5 points above Miguel Cabrera.

^I think I'm the only person who cares even a little about this, and that includes Robbie Cano.

Before I take off, I have to share a link that's given me continuous pleasure over the last two days. My friend Spike sent it along, and the more I listen to the audio clips, the more I think it's one of the coolest non-Yankee baseball things I've come across this season. I get little goosebumps and an involuntary smile every time I push play (this may say more about me than the clip, but hey, what can ya do?). Make sure to listen in order.

Mike Blowers = Baseball Guru.

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