It’s been 3 seasons since either the Yankees or the Texas Rangers have seen the American League playoffs. Last night they both assured themselves a spot in the playoffs that open next week. The Rangers still have a very good chance of bringing home their sixth American League Western division pennant and their first since they went back to back in 2010 and 2011. They were the wild card team in 2012 but haven’t been back since, and honestly didn’t look like they’d be back a couple of months ago when the Yankees went to Arlington for a four-game series and basically treated the Rangers the way the Butch Cavendish Gang treated another bunch of mythic Texas Rangers. Now the Rangers have a lead of two and a half games over the equally surprising Houston Astros, and another Rangers win or Astros defeat means another pennant for the team that plays a hundred miles from the Red River. The big hit of the night was a 3-run fifth-inning double by Adrian Beltre making it 4-1 Texas who cruised to a 5-3 win. Derek Holland went 6 and a third innings to raise his record to 4-3. He’s known the good and the bad in his tenure with the Rangers. He tore cartilage in his knee in January, 2014 from falling down while playing with his dog. In his first game of 2015 he strained a muscle in his pitching shoulder, costing himself much of this season. He’s back now and ready for his fourth postseason as a Ranger, all before age 30. He will be 29 on Oct. 9.
As for the Yankees, they made the playoffs after 3 embarrassing home losses in a row to the Boston Red Sox. C. C. Sabathia was last night’s winning pitcher, taking the only Yankee victory in this brutal four-game series. When the Yanks win, they do it with home runs and last night was no exception. Carlos Beltran, Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder launched solo shots as the Yankees won 4-1. For the storied franchise it was win number 10,000, a feat the Pirates pulled off last week. For what it’s worth, the Pirates had a 15 year head start. Their first game in the National League was in 1887, the Yankees (playing as the Highlanders,) began in 1903. Last night’s victory was only Sabathia’s second win since the All-Star break, and the former ace is just 6-10 this season. What I found particularly unseemly was that the Yankees celebrated making the playoffs. These are the Yankees. A wild card playoff spot is not something to be celebrated. It would be a cause to celebrate for the Mariners, or other teams without a great past history. But nobody has come close to winning as many World Series as the Yankees, so popping corks for anything less than a league championship is way out of line.
Joaquin the Floor Over You
Hurricane Joaquin (Wa Keen to JAWS users,) has sports event organizers watching their radar and praying. University of Maryland pushed up tomorrow’s football game from 8 PM to Noon. NASCAR has serious concerns for Sunday’s race in Dover, Delaware. Even the NFL, who normally wouldn’t consider changing a game for any reason is weighing their options concerning the Eagles-Redskins game Sunday. While none of tonight’s MLB game times have been changed as I write this, two games were moved from night to Noon yesterday. The Phillies completed a sweep of the Mets which has the Flushing faithful profoundly worried about the Mets’ chances against the Dodgers. The 3-0 Phillies win was played as close to the speed of light as TV commercial rules permit. The Orioles also moved their game to Noon, and following a rain delay of more than 3 hours they beat the Bluejays 6-4, allowing the Jays to head to St. Petersburg to close out the regular season in the Rays’ indoor facility. Meantime the Orioles are scheduled for a 3-game set at Camden Yards against the Yankees, while the Mets host the Nationals in their last 3 regular season games. The Mets series is complicated by the fact that they are trying for home field advantage in the upcoming NLDS. The Dodgers face the Padres to wind up the regular season. MLB has not announced what the Mets and Nats would do if rain washes out any or all of this weekend’s contests. If Mets manager Terry Collins keeps his stars on the bench, as he did yesterday against the Phillies, the Mets probably would end up having to fly west to open the NLDS at Chavez Ravine a week from tonight. That would mean, if a game 5 were needed they would again have to fly across the country to play it. On the other hand, if Collins runs out the A-Team in questionable weather, and somebody else gets hurt-joining Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, Wilmer Flores and Stephen Matz on the Mets’ MASH list, Collins will hear it throughout the coming off season.0