1. The Quiet Winner: Chien-Ming Wang is not a great pitcher, but, thanks mainly to the team he’s on, he’s racked up the most combined wins in baseball the last two seasons. Wang, after going 19-6 with a 3.63 ERA last year, is having a very similar season this year, at 17-6 and 3.68. His 17th win, tying him with Josh Beckett for the major league lead, came in the Yankees’ 12-3 blowout of the Mariners. Wang went 7-plus, allowing one run in his fourth consecutive win. He was supported in a big way by the Yankees’ offense, which pounded Seattle for 20 hits. Jorge Posada went 4-4 with four runs and two homers, raising his average to an elite .337. Bobby Abreu also had four hits and a homer, and Alex Rodriguez went deep again for the 46th time this year. The Yanks upped their wild card lead over the Mariners to two games with the victory. Both teams need the wild card, because they stand at seven games back in their respective divisions. It’s a shame that one of these clubs will be sitting at home during the postseason while a team from the NL Central is guaranteed a playoff spot.
2. Back in Contention: After losing 10 of 12 games in early August and falling as low as fourth place in the division, it seemed like the Dodgers’ season was nearly over. But now, thanks to a 7-2 run, Los Angeles is right back in the playoff picture. They have climbed to 3.5 back in the division and wild card races. The Dodgers continued their success with a 6-2 win over the Cubs on Tuesday. Ace Brad Penny returned to form after a bad start with seven shutdown innings. He improved to 15-4 on the year as the Dodgers received just enough offense for the victory. With David Wells added to fortify the pitching staff, the Dodgers have a legit shot at the playoffs.
3. D-back Attack: The Diamondbacks and
Padres are once again tied for the NL West lead. After San Diego won the first game of their series, the Diamondbacks routed them 9-1. Chris Young continued to struggle against Arizona, allowing 5 runs in 4 innings and losing his third straight decision. Young has a 7.32 ERA against the D-backs this season, compared with a 1.88 mark against the rest of the league. Eric Byrnes and Tony Clark both homered off Young as D-backs starter Doug Davis cruised to an easy victory. Davis, who allowed one run in seven innings, won his 13th game of the season, a career high. Over his career Davis has been the model of an average pitcher, with a 75-74 record and 4.30 ERA. This season, he has been better, and is the D-backs’ second-best starter only behind Brandon Webb. On Wednesday, the final game of this matchup for the season, Jake Peavy will pitch off three day’s rest against Livan Hernandez.
Player of the Day: Paul Lo Duca, Mets: 3-5, 2 HR, 7 RBIs in a 10-7 win over the Reds.