Let's populate this post with tons of awesome highlights, because even though we didn't see absolute chaos erupt, there was still a lot of great baseball being played.
In the Cubs game, their last of 2014, Anthony Rizzo did this, and thus the Cubs avoided loss #90 and achieved more progress than most of us probably anticipated, though yes, we did express confidence that Chicago North could get to 70 wins or more. The playoffs were a different story, though. But all in due time, friends.
In other baseball action, the Yankees and Red Sox, two teams who were going for it this year, are also going to go fishing in October as Derek Jeter rides off into the sunset. The ceremony before the game in Boston was really cool:
The Mets also would say goodbye to Bobby Abreu, one of the best all-around hitters in the game, but I guess he didn't warrant a mega-tour. Still a very solid player and underappreciated.
In games that actually mattered, Felix Hernandez pitched a gem to help the Mariners keep their hopes alive, but it didn't matter as Sonny Gray shut out the Rangers to FINALLY help the Oakland Athletics clinch the second American League wild card. It has been an insane collapse by the A's from the best record in the majors to just barely making it into the play-in game, but baseball is a cruel mistress. The A's still have a formidable rotation so if their bats can wake up, they should be okay assuming they advance.
Their opponent, the Kansas City Royals, also defeated the White Sox to do their part, but unfortunately the Twins couldn't spoil the Detroit Tigers so that means the Tigers barely win the AL Central and KC gets to host the A's in the wild card game. There was a nice moment in the game at the Cell as Paul Konerko said goodbye in his final game:
The Pirates lost, so they'll finish tied with the Giants in the standings but will still host the National League Wild Card game. The loss meant that the St. Louis Cardinals finally officially clinched the NL Central.
All matchups are now set. The broadcast and game schedule is here and you'll notice that postseason baseball is sprinkled across something like six different networks throughout October, so keep that bookmarked or else you might get confused. We'll have a day off on Monday (sad that there aren't any tiebreaker games this year, but it went down to the wire again!) and the AL Wild Card play-in is on Tuesday while the NL play-in is on Wednesday. The division series starts on Thursday for the AL and Friday for the NL. Here are the matchups (lower seed listed first):
- AL Wild Card - A's at Royals
- NL Wild Card - Giants at Pirates
- ALDS 1 - AL Wild Card winner vs. Angels
- ALDS 2 - Tigers vs. Orioles
- NLDS 1 - NL Wild Card winner vs. Nationals
- NLDS 2 - Cardinals vs. Dodgers
Finally, for the second year in a row, we saw a no-hitter on the final day of the season. This one was by the Washington Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann, who needed a fantastic catch by teammate Steven Souza to seal the deal.
Baseball. It's so awesome, and here's to many more awesome moments in October.
Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Bobby Abreu, Chicago Cubs, Derek Jeter, Detroit Tigers, Jordan Zimmermann, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, Oakland Athletics, Paul Konerko, Pittsburgh Pirates, Postseason, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals