Comeback Kings: The Philadelphia Phillies just completed one of the greatest divisional comebacks in baseball history, and they couldn’t be more deserving playoff participants. They made up 7 games on the Mets in a mere 17 games, the largest such comeback of all time. They won the NL East for one reason: they were great at coming back. 48 of their 89 victories this season were come-from-behind. The Mets, meanwhile, were a complete failure down the stretch this season. They lost 12 of their last 17 games, including 6 losses in their last 7 games, all at home. The Marlins pounded them 8-1 in their final game of the season, as Tom Glavine was knocked out after recording only one out. There was never any doubt in the Phillies’ game, a 6-1 victory over the Nationals. Two of their players added personal achievements in the victory, adding to the team achievement of its first playoff appearance since 1993. Jimmy Rollins hit his 20th triple, giving him at least 20 doubles, triples, homers, and steals on the year. He is the fourth player ever to do this, and the second this season along with Curtis Granderson of the Tigers. Also, Ryan Howard added three RBIs, giving him the NL lead for the second straight season. He finished with 136 ribbies along with 47 homers, including seven homers the last ten games of the season as the Phillies made their big run. These achievements do go along with the dubious mark of the all-time strikeout record (199). The Phillies will face the winner of the wild card in the first round of the playoffs.
Playoff before the Playoffs: The 2007 regular season isn’t over yet. There is one game left to be played that will decide the NL Wild Card champion. The Rockies and Padres ended the season exactly tied, forcing the first tiebreaker game in seven years. The Padres should not be in this position, as they led the Rockies by a mile the majority of the season. But Colorado, who was in fourth place two weeks ago, has had an incredible late-season rally with 13 wins in their last 14 games. Their pitching staff, which almost traditionally has been a joke, has been tearing it up during the streak to compliment their powerfully consistent offense. The Padres haven’t been that bad in September (15-13), but they couldn’t win either of their last two games at Milwaukee, which would have sent them to the postseason automatically. The pitching matchup for this game is a mismatch: Jake Peavy vs. Josh Fogg. Peavy, the guaranteed Cy Young winner, was the only pitcher in the majors to have below a 3.00 ERA this season, and he beat that mark by a mile (2.36). Fogg had a great September (3-0, 3.25 ERA), but is average at best. The Rockies do have the advantage of playing at home though, so this game will be interesting.
Players of the Day: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: 3-4, 2 RBIs, won AL batting title with .363 average, finished second in majors with 139 RBIs.
Carlos Pena, Devil Rays: HR (46). In Pena’s remarkable yet underappreciated season, he finished second in the AL in homers, fourth in RBIs (121), and second in slugging (.627).