Congratulations to the Orioles and Cardinals for winning their respective one-game playoffs. While the Cardinals' victory was tainted with that infield fly play that one of my friends dubbed "The In-and-Out-field Fly," I must admit two things. First, I really didn't care who won that game. Second, last night I was willing to say the umpires made the right call, but now I'm starting to question that. Regardless, as I said before, I didn't really care about the game, so I'm not going to argue too much in favor or against the umpires for their decision yesterday.
I do want to focus on the Orioles-Rangers game, however. I was surprised to see that Joe Saunders was able to outpitch Yu Darvish (though Darvish didn't pitch that bad himself), and also that reliever Darren O'Day had a prominent role in the game. O'Day was a former Rangers reliever that was released prior to this season. The Twins had a chance at claiming him, but let him go by due to him being due a ~$1.5 million contract and because of his injury concerns. Instead, the Twins ended up claiming Matt Maloney and Jeff Gray, and we all watched those two combine for -1 bWAR while O'Day had a bWAR of 2.5. Granted, the Twins 'pen wasn't an issue towards the end of the season, but it could have been even better for more of the year had the Twins claimed O'Day rather than the aforementioned Maloney and Gray.
Although we have reached the end of the season, the baseball news does not disappear. Here's our headlines you may have missed from the past week.
- Everth Cabrera had himself an interesting game last Sunday. The fact that he had 4 steals in a game perhaps isn't noteworthy, considering he ended the year leading the NL with 44 stolen bases despite playing only 115 games (and he was only caught stealing 4 times). No, what was so amazing about his game Sunday is that the 4 stolen bases came without him tallying a single hit the entire game, a feat that was last done in 1998 by Lou Frazier of the Chicago White Sox. I'd find how many players have done this in baseball history using Baseball Reference's Play Index tool, but apparently you need to pay for that and I'm a bit too cheap to do so.
- We already had a fanpost detailing this, but sad news in Oakland as former Twin Pat Neshek lost his first son Gehrig John Neshek just 23 hours after he was born. The cause of death has not been announced yet other than the baby stopped breathing, and Neshek and his wife Stephanee decided that Pat should return to the A's for the playoffs instead of taking some time off. As Neshek said, "As soon as I got out there and started playing catch, it takes your mind off all the bad stuff. It’s a good way of healing. … I don’t think we’ll ever get over it, but this is a good way to put the pieces back together." I hope Pat and Stephanee are able to pull through, and good luck to the rest of the A's in the playoffs. Finally, the most gut-wrenching comment:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Pat Neshek says the one day he had with his son was the best in his life and he would go through this all again for that one day. <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Athletics">#Athletics</a></p>— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) <a href="https://twitter.com/susanslusser/status/254328039129882625" data-datetime="2012-10-05T21:11:44+00:00">October 5, 2012</a></blockquote>
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- Dan Johnson's making himself a living just by performance on the final day of the season. Last year, it was a 2-out pinch-hit game-tying home run in the bottom of the 9th for the Rays in their wild comeback victory against the Yankees that vaulted them into the playoffs. This year, Johnson and his White Sox weren't quite playing for the same stakes, but he still put together one fine game. On Wednesday, Johnson went 3 for 5, with all three hits being home runs. He homered twice off Cleveland Indians starter David Huff, and then added #3 against reliever Vinnie Pestano. Not to be outdone, Johnson's former teammate Evan Longoria also hit 3 home runs on the last day of the season, so in their last two Game 162s, Johnson and Longoria have combined to hit 8 home runs.
- Finally, it's time to get amped up for the playoffs. MLB has put together a short video titled "Everything On The Line," and it's chock full of plays that every kid dreams of making: The moments when you decide the game.
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