Filed Under: MLB General
Someone get him some coffee
1. 479: Is Trevor Hoffman the best closer ever? It’s a tough argument, but Hoffman now has the ultimate in closing records: the all-time saves record. Hoffman saved his 479th career game on Sunday, breaking Lee Smith’s mark. It was his 43rd save of the year, which has arguably been the second-best season of his career (in 1998 he saved 53 in 54 chances). He closed out the last two games of the Padres sweep of the Pirates, giving the team a one-and-a-half game lead in the division. Hoffman deserves some serious consideration for the NL Cy Young; he has a 1.95 ERA, .93 WHIP, and .198 opponent’s batting average. Even more impressive, he’s done all this as a 38-year old without a true out pitch. One pitch, a changeup, has made Hoffman an all-time record holder.
2. Speaking of closing: The A’s have almost clinched the AL West division title. The Angels, the only team that could possibly pass Oakland, stayed alive for two more days. They beat the A’s twice in a row over the weekend to keep them from clinching the West. Oakland’s magic number remains at 1.
3. The Inevitable: Detroit has been leading the American League Central division every single day since May. Though they had been the best team in the MLB most of the summer, the Tigers had been fading recently. Still, they were able to finally clinch a playoff spot yesterday, finally securing what had seemed inevitable for a while. They clinched the postseason after a three-game sweep in Kansas City, routing the Royals a combined 33-11. Justin Verlander, who has led the Tigers for most of the season, improved to 17-9. Detroit, who is 94-62, still hasn’t wrapped up the division. They likely will, though, and in they will probably face the A’s in the first round of the playoffs.
4. The only race left: Almost every postseason spot has been clinched or is on the verge of being clinched. The lone race remaining is the three-team shootout for two NL playoff spots. The Phillies, Dodgers, and Padres are going at it for the Wild Card and the West division title. All three teams won yesterday. The Phils hit five homers, including two by Chase Utley, to rout the Marlins 10-7. Jamie Moyer, the former Mariner, improved to 4-2 as a Phillie. The Dodgers won in more dramatic fashion. They were tied with the D-Backs 1-1 in the ninth inning. Then Nomar Garciaparra hit a walk off grand slam, his 19th homer of the year. Garciaparra is the obvious choice for NL comeback player of the year and has produced many clutch hits this year. He’s kept the Dodgers, who are a half-game back of the Phillies, in the race.
5. The Braves are officially done: With only six games left, the Braves were officially eliminted from the postseason for the first time in 14 years with a loss to the Rockies. Even with a 7-0 lead in the fourth, the Braves couldn’t hold on to win. The chances of Atlanta making the playoffs were slim to none but now Slim has officially left the building.