The Full Count: Yankees clinch

A-rod looking as douchey as possible

1. Lucky Number 13: The Yankees continued the longest playoff streak in all of baseball by clinching a spot in October for the 13th consecutive year. They did so in style, beating the Devil Rays 12-4 as Cano and Jeter homered and Chien-Ming Wang won his 19th game of the season. Now the American League playoff teams are set, with Cleveland, Los Angeles, Boston, and the Yanks competing for the pennant. Unless there is a bizarre change in the standings in the last few days this season, New York will take on the Indians and the Angels will battle the Red Sox in the opening matchups. The Yankees’ run at the playoffs of course was expected before the season, but by the end of May many thought their season was over. That’s because they were one of the worst teams in the AL exactly four months ago, only a few games ahead of Tampa Bay. Since then, however, they’ve had the best record in the league, and with 15 wins in their last 20 games they will head to the postseason with momentum on their side.

2. Still Undecided: The National League playoff situation remains the exact opposite of the American League. While all four teams have clinched in the AL, no team has clinched a playoff berth in the NL. Many contenders seem to be slipping at the wrong time, particularly the Mets. They’ve had the NL East lead the majority of the season, but after losing 9 of their last 13 games, the Phillies are only one game back. The Phillies virtually eliminated the Braves by beating them 5-2; Atlanta would now need a complete miracle to make the playoffs. The situation in the NL Central remains uncertain, as it has been for about a month. The Cubs’ loss gave the Brewers an opportunity to get within a single game, but Milwaukee lost to the Cardinals and remains two back. The hottest team in the NL right now is the Rockies, who have won a franchise-record 10 consecutive games. They are now one game back of the Padres, and tied with Philadelphia.

3. Bye Bye, Barry: Barry Bonds has been extremely quiet ever since breaking the major league homerun record, as the sale of the 756 ball has received more attention than the man who hit it. Bonds has started to play less and less; in fact, until last night he hadn’t appeared since September 15. Now Barry deserves at least some recognition, as he appeared in his last game in a Giants uniform on Wednesday. Bonds, who will likely play next year as a DH for an American League team, has officially ended his tenure with the Giants. He won 5 MVP awards with the club, and hit over 500 homers with them alone. In his last game with the club, Bonds went 0-3 as the Giants lost 11-3 to the Padres. Jake Peavy picked up his 19th win for San Diego.

Player of the Day: Mike Lowell, Red Sox: 3-5, 5 RBIs in an 11-6 win over the A’s. Lowell, who leads the team in RBIs with 116, also set the club’s single-season RBI record for third basemen.

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