We've entered the final week of the 2013 MLB regular season, and everyone is sad...or something. Five of the ten playoff spots have been determined already, though the Cardinals have only clinched a spot as opposed to a division. For those final five playoff spots, nine teams are still in the running, though the Nationals, Royals, Yankees, and Orioles are simply just clinging to contention at this point. It's going to be a crazy final week, and we're probably not going to know who's playing where until the weekend.
PIC OF THE DAY
Exit Sandman. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Day: Royals 4, Rangers 0. Scoreless through nine and a half innings, the Rangers needed a win in this one to stave off elimination from the AL West race. Joakim Soria took the mound in the bottom of the tenth against his former club after Eric Hosmer doubled to lead off the inning against Neal Cotts. Soria intentionally walked Billy Butler and allowed an infield single to Sal Perez to load the bases with none out. He got the next two outs quickly, and then faced Justin Maxwell, Kansas City's biggest trade deadline acquisition. Soria got the count to 3-2 against Maxwell, and the former Astro proceeded to put his next pitch into orbit, giving the Royals a 4-0 victory and handing the AL West title to the Athletics.
Pitching Lines of the Day: In that Rangers loss to the Royals, Alexi Ogando allowed two hits over seven shutout innings, walking one and punching out five. James Shields matched him step by step after giving up six hits in eight scoreless frames, striking out a pair and walking one. Andrew Cashner pitched well for the Padres in their 1-0 loss to the Dodgers, giving up one unearned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out seven without a walk. In Andy Pettitte's final start at Yankee Stadium, New York fell 2-1 to the Giants, but Pettitte pitched great, allowing two runs on two hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out half a dozen. Julio Teheran got the win for the NL East champion Braves in their 5-2 win in Chicago, allowing one run on four hits in six innings, striking out seven without a walk.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Oswaldo Arcia played well for the Twins in their 11-7 loss in Oakland, going 3/4 with a homer, a walk, and six RBI. In the win for the A's, Daric Barton went 3/3 with a walk, a double, a solo homer, and three runs scored. Andrelton Simmons brought his bat to Chicago along with his glove, going 2/4 with a pair of homers and three RBI. Matt Davidson helped the Diamondbacks smash the Rockies 13-9, going 2/4 with a walk, a double, a homer, and four RBI. Todd Helton had a good game in the Rockies' loss, going 3/5 with two doubles, a run, and four RBI. Milwaukee beat St Louis 6-4.
Other Games: The Nationals and Marlins split a doubleheader, with Miami taking game one 4-2 and Washington taking game two 5-4. The Indians smashed the Astros 9-2 and the Rays beat the Orioles 3-1, keeping both teams in front of the pack in the wild card race. The White Sox doubled up the Tigers 6-3. The Mets edged the Phillies 4-3, but Ryne Sandberg will be keeping his job as Phillies manager next year. The Reds destroyed the Pirates 11-3 to pull even in the wild card race. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-2. The Mariners beat the Angels 3-2, but the big story was the swarm of bees that delayed the game.
What You Missed: The post-mortem and hope for the hopeless series rolls right along with the Angels.
Today's Games: Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Archer will face off in Tampa with Baltimore's playoff odds on life support. Mike Minor and the Braves host the Brewers. Johnny Cueto and the Reds host the Mets. Roy Halladay starts for the Phillies in Miami. Derek Holland and the Rangers host the Astros. Jose Quintana and JA Happ will duel in Chicago. Charlie Morton gets the nod for the Pirates in Chicago against Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs. Justin Verlander starts for the Tigers in Minnesota. Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals host the Nationals. Yordano Ventura starts for the Royals in Seattle.
National TV: Orioles-Rays (3 PM, MLB Network), Nationals-Cardinals (8 PM, MLB Network), Astros-Rangers (8 PM, MLB Network)
MLB.tv Free Game: TBA
Pitching Matchup of the Day: Wei-Yin Chen vs Chris Archer (Orioles vs Rays, 3 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.