Don't Get Eliminated!

Don't Get Eliminated!
Don't...get...ELIMINATED!

The Oakland Athletics finally (it seems like it, no?) won a game and we got to see a fun post-game scene:

 

That would be former Cubs farmhand Josh Donaldson, who you may remember as one of the pieces in the Rich Harden trade half a decade ago.  The walk-off home run, complete with batflip, was very cool.  And hopefully we can still root for Jeff Samardzija and friends in the postseason this October.

Which brings us to the standings as the Cincinnati Reds try to play spoiler against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday Night baseball (happening as of this posting with the Reds holding a slim lead).  We should start with the National League first, where every team currently under .500 has been eliminated.  That sounds obvious, but the NL is very top-heavy this season due in part to interleague and a lot of teams simply sucking, so 9 of the 15 teams are sub-par while the Milwaukee Brewers are on the verge of getting eliminated.  At this point, the Washington Nationals have won the NL East and need a couple more wins to secure home field advantage through the NLCS.  The Central and West are up for grabs, although the Cardinals do have a cushion over the Pittsburgh Pirates and those two teams won’t face each other the rest of the way.  The Dodgers have opened up a commanding 4.5 game lead over the Giants, and those two teams will face each other starting Monday night for the last time this season.  It will be a very tall order for the Giants to make a 2007-Rockies-style run to the division title, but both the Pirates and the Giants have the inside track over Milwaukee, which is possibly a couple days away from elimination.  If you were a betting person, you can imagine Pittsburgh and SF getting the two wild card spots and it’ll be interesting to see who actually gets to host the play-in game.  Of course, the Cubs COULD play spoiler against the Cardinals in the last home series of the year, but perhaps I was a bit premature with the Cubs as a possible spoiler.  Oh well, that’s baseball and a growing club for ya.

In the American League, the aforementioned Oakland Athletics have been giving me a headache for the past two months as they squandered away a huge division lead and then tanked so hard that they might even miss out on the postseason altogether.  Thankfully, the Seattle Mariners just lost against the Houston Astros so the A’s still have a small lead in the wild card race.  The Kansas City Royals are within 1.5 games of the Detroit Tigers and that might actually be two games when they resume their suspended game in Cleveland, where the Indians had taken a 4-2 lead in extras with the Royals waiting for their last at-bats.  The Royals will pretty much have to win out to dethrone the Tigers.  The AL East (Orioles) and AL West (Angels) are already decided so now it’s a matter of figuring out who wins the Central (Detroit, KC, or improbably, the Cleveland Indians) and who the wild cards will be (Royals, A’s, Mariners, Indians are still alive with the Yankees and Blue Jays on life support).

One more week of baseball.  Then a month of postseason madness before you can place your full attention on football, basketball and hockey.  I wouldn’t miss out if I were you.

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