Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pittsburgh   88-72       ...                 Still only one game out of first place.
GIANTS      86-74     2  GB            Wild-card playoff will be a road game.

Giants lost to San Diego, 4-1.
Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati, 3-1. With the Giants' loss, this win clinches home-field advantage for the Pirates in next week's wild-card playoff.

Giants host San Diego; 1:05 at the 'Bell. Jake Peavy starts against his former team. Eric Stults, who has lost 17 games this year, opposes. Though 8-17 against the league as a whole, Stults is 2-1 against the Giants, and doesn't that just figure?
Pittsburgh is at Cincinnati; St Louis at Arizona.

Last Night's Game
One way or the other, lately it seems Ryan Vogelsong finds a way to lose. Again this time, he wasn't shelled, he wasn't wild, but a three-run sixth was enough to tag him with his 13th loss even as his ERA continued to drop. With Buster Posey resting his aching back, the Giants managed five singles and an unearned run for offense, while going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Encouragingly, Brandon Belt was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored the only run, and Travis Ishikawa had his daily hit. Andrew Susac suffered through a terrible night: 0-for-4, 6 runners stranded, and two passed balls. He did, however, throw out the only baserunner who attempted to steal. And Javier Lopez pitched a three-up three-down seventh inning, which is a hopeful sign.

Closing Up
With the Giants' postseason position thus essentially decided, we'll take a short hiatus before returning for the wild-card showdown, which will be played on Wednesday the 1st, not Tuesday the 30th as we originally surmised. (Tuesday is the date of the American League game.)  Most likely the Giants will face Pittsburgh at PNC Park, with a starting time around 8 PM EDT. As we've moaned and groaned before, that's at least one hour too late to start a baseball game, but who will listen?

As we commit these bytes to memory, Washington has clinched the home-field advantage throughout the NL postseason, with LA set to host the other division series. In the AL, Kansas City gained another game on Detroit with a win and a Tigers' loss last night; they now trail by one game. The Los Angeles Angels are the boss AL team, if they win today and tomorrow they'll reach 100 wins.  Baltimore will host the other ALDS.  Both the Tigers and the Royals are ahead of the Oakland As for the top wild-card spot, and the A's themselves lead Seattle by two. The Mariners' lone remaining shot is to sweep LA while the A's are swept by Texas; that would force a Monday elimination game for the second wild-card spot. Fun, huh?

While the Padres are doing their best to finish the season strong, Arizona has reverted to their early-season doldrums, losing nine of ten; they are the only team in the majors below .400, though at least they'll avoid losing 100 games. Colorado ain't much better, while even the Cubs have moved up to near-respectability at 72-88.  Over in the AL Texas, just three years removed from Game Seven of the World Series, will capture the booby prize (66-94, .413). And who would have figured the Houston Astros and the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox would both be 70-90 at season's end?

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