Groundhog Day in the Bronx; Mattingly’s Dodgers win third Division Title

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If you’re a Yankee fan, do you expect to wake up every morning and hear Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe?”  Do you expect a beautiful but  snippy woman to say “Let’s do it without the sarcasm, Bill?” In short, have the last few weeks, culminating in last night’s embarrassing 10-4 loss to the lowly Red Sox  been like the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day,” for the 161st Street faithful? It seems that way to me, and the closest we Yankee fans get to Andie MacDowell is Meredith  Marakovits, the former college volleyball player now working as clubhouse reporter on the YES network. Starting with the last two games of the Orioles series that began on Labor Day, it’s been grim viewing for Yankee fans. It’s the same movie almost every night, and a very bad movie at that. A good movie, like “Airplane,” you can watch over and over and still laugh like a loon. But this movie is like watching  “The Fantastic Four,” which i figure was one  of the most wretched movies ever made.

  In the Yankees’ recurring sequence this month, the offense seldom shows up and when they do the pitching fails them.  When the starters do well, Yankee manager Joe Girardi has run out one AAA pitcher after another, even using 8 pitchers in one of the few Yankee wins this month. Last night, after starter Michael Pineda gave up six first-inning runs to one of the poorest offenses in the league, the Yankees threw their fans a change-up by scoring 4 in their half. But from there it was back to the script. The offense did nothing against Boston pitcher Rick Porcello, who threw a complete game to raise his record to 9-14. While Pineda at least got through six innings, he gave up another run, and both relievers Bryan Mitchell and Chris Martin were hit around by the hated Bostons. Weather permitting, the Yankees still have two more against the Sox, then 3 at Camden Yards in Baltimore to close out the regular season. They need to win more than one of those 5 games to cinch the wild card, which is more than their play this month warrants.Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 3.  In a one game playoff, anything can happen. With a good offensive show, a good start and appearances by the better members of their usually stout bull pen, they might look like the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians  in another famous movie, “Major League.”

3 years, 3 Pennants for Mattingly’s Dodgers

When Don Mattingly was hired as Dodgers’ manager before the 2011 season, the Los Angeles Times had him buried six feet deep before a pitch was thrown. They said he couldn’t hope to succeed because he’d never managed before, not even in the minors. They discounted his years under Joe Torre’s tutilage both in New York and Los Angeles. Under the Dodger ownership of 2011, John McGraw and Connie Mack couldn’t have won. With the assistance of Magic Johnson’s ownership group and the continuing greatness of two of the game’s best pitchers,  Mattingly’s team became a division winner last night for the third season in a row. Clayton Kershaw looked frighteningly fit in  his dress rehearsal before the playoffs, twirling a one-hit gem with 13 strikeouts as the Dodgers thumped the Giants, 8-0 in San Francisco. For the home team Justin Bumgarner remained at 18 wins. No Giants pitcher has  won 19 in 18 years. The Dodgers power was supplied by 3 of their less familiar names-Enrique Hernandez, Justin Ruggiano and A. J. Ellis, all of whom went deep last night. The pennant win was an early birthday present for Dodgers’  closer Kenley Jansen who turns 28 today.  With the win, the Dodgers gained a game on the Mets, who lost 4-3 in Philadelphia. Now the Flushing 9 has only a lead of one game over the Dodgers in their quest for home field advantage when their division series starts at the end of next week. They will meet while the Cardinals play the wild card winner between Pittsburgh and Chicago if nothing changes.

Rotten Weather leads to 3 Doubleheaders

Rain postponed games last night in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Cubs and Reds waited nearly 3 hours before they could start their game, in which the Cubs mauled the Reds,  5-1. As a result they don’t need to play two today. 3 doubleheaders were made necessary by last night’s bad weather. In Pittsburgh, the Cardinals and Pirates  will play a day-night doubleheader with two separate admissions. In two cases, the Bluejays and Orioles, and the Twins and Indians will play single-admission doubleheaders beginning just after 4 PM this afternoon. The Pirates and Cardinals have the most meaningful two games of the day. The Cardinals needed a night to recover from their latest injury, to outfielder Stephen Piscotty. following a collision with outfielder Peter Bourjos Monday night, he left on a backboard and spent the night and part of Tuesday in a Pittsburgh  hospital. While some of the collision footage was judged too grim to be shown on TV, it turned out Piscotty’s head was bruised. He did not suffer a skull fracture, as was feared. He can play again, if and when he goes through baseball’s concussion protocol. I say if and when because  concussions can be tricky things, and each needs to be handled on an individual basis.  Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew says his dizziness the last few weeks is the continuing result of a concussion he suffered in 2013. The Cardinals in all likelihood won’t rush their rookie back into the lineup.

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