Due to a recent flurry of activity that included watching the Red Sox push to the end the season as part of the playoff picture, more double duty in league bowling (180, 136 and 133 in my substitute role in Ken Kaniff's league) and entertaining Prabhat from Australia (over here for two weeks of training), I've been neglecting this blog. So I'm back with a rundown of the final day of regular season major league baseball's schedule.
In Major League Baseball's Closing Day, there were still some games of interest to be played. First, the Red Sox needed either a win against the New York Yankees OR a Cleveland Indians loss to the Chicago White Sox to clinch the AL Wild Card. They got both by beating the Yankees 10-1, one day after the Yanks clinched the AL East title. The Indians lost 3-1 to inexplicably get swept at home by the AL Central Champion White Sox.
Curt Schilling started for the Sox and pitched six innings of one-run ball to earn his 8th victory of the season. Manny Ramirez and Doug Mirabelli each blasted three-run homers, Manny's 45th, Dougie's 6th, and Bill Mueller added his 10th, a solo shot. The Sox open against the other Sox (White) in Chicago, and will start Matt Clement (13-6, 4.57 ERA) in Game One.
In the National League, the Houston Astros needed either a win over the Chicago Cubs OR a Philadelphia Phillies loss to the Washington Nationals to clinch the NL Wild Card. The Astros got the win, a 6-4 decision behind starter Roy "Harvey" Oswalt's 20th win and closer Brad Lidge's 42nd save, while the Phils beat up the Nats 9-3.
So Round One of the playoffs looks like this:
- The AL West Champion Angels host the AL East Champion Yankees
- The AL Central Champion White Sox host the AL Wild Card Red Sox
- The NL East Champion Braves host the NL Wild Card Astros
- The NL Central Champion Cardinals host the NL West Champion Padres
The Padres won the NL West with 82 wins against 80 losses for a .506 winning percentage--the lowest winning percentage of any division/league champion in history. The previous low was the .509 mark set by the 82-79 New York Mets in 1973. And for Padres fans who may be cringing at the prospect of facing the 100-62 St. Louis Cardinals in Round One, the 1973 Mets beat the 99-63 Cincinnati Reds in that season's NLCS to advance to the World Series, which they lost to the Oakland A's.
The Red Sox, Yankees and Angels all finished with 95-67 records. The Yankees won the AL East by virtue of their 10-9 record against the Red Sox. The Angels gained home field advantage in Round One due to their 6-4 record against the Yankees.
The first team to win eleven more games is the 2006 World Series Champion! Further developments as they happen...