The playoff race continues to come into focus, and we now know seven of the ten teams that will be playing in baseball's October tournament. The National League field is set with the inclusion of the Reds and Pirates, meaning that the Washington Nationals' season is over after expectations were sky-high coming into the 2013 season. It's not too shocking that Washington isn't going to be in the playoffs, given their doldrums in the middle of the season, but it's still quite jarring to see such a heavy preseason favorite not even making the postseason.
PIC OF THE DAY
Russell Martin makes the tag that sends the Pirates to the playoffs. (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Twins 4, Tigers 3 (11 innings). Clinching for the Tigers is becoming difficult. Detroit led this one 3-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth after a dominant start from Justin Verlander, but then...they just collapsed. In the eighth, Eduardo Escobar doubled in Clete Thomas to cut the lead to 3-1, and Escobar scored on a double by Ryan Doumit. Both of those hits, by the way, came off of trade deadline acquisition Jose Veras. Joaquin Benoit got out of the eighth with no more damage, and remained in the game to close it out in the ninth. His attempt at a five out save failed after he allowed a game-tying solo homer to Bryan Dozier to lead off the ninth. The Twins couldn't break through in the tenth, but they could in the 11th after a leadoff single from Dozier, him moving up to second on a wild pitch, and scoring on an RBI single by Josmil Pinto. Detroit is still 4.5 up on the Indians with five to play (six for Cleveland), but they're not making it easy.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Derek Holland turned in a gem in the Rangers' 12-0 blowout against Houston, allowing six hits in a complete game shutout, walking one and striking out nine. Marco Estrada pitched very well for the Brewers in their 5-0 win in Atlanta, giving up two hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out six and walking three. Nate Eovaldi had a nice game for the Marlins in their 4-0 win over the Phillies, allowing three hits in 7 2/3 shutout frames, walking a pair and punching out five. In the Pirates' 2-1 clincher in Chicago, Charlie Morton allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings, walking one and striking out five. Finally, there's the aforementioned Verlander, who gave up six hits in six shutout innings, punching out 12 and walking three.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Alex Rios spurred the Rangers' offense against the Astros, going 4/4 with three runs, four RBI, and hitting for the cycle in the process. In the Angels' 10-5 loss to the Athletics, Howie Kendrick went 2/4 with a double, a homer, and four RBI. Jed Lowrie played well for the A's in the win, going 1/4 with two runs, a walk, and a three-run homer. In Milwaukee's win in Atlanta, Aramis Ramirez went 3/4 with a solo homer. The Padres beat the Diamondbacks 4-1, and Nick Hundley went 2/4 with a three-run homer. Marcus Semien had a nice game for the White Sox in their 3-2 win against the Blue Jays, going 2/4 with a two-run homer.
Other Games: The Rays walked off on the Orioles 5-4, but Manny Machado's gruesome leg injury may have been a bigger gut punch. The Reds clinched their playoff berth with a 3-2, ten inning win against the Mets. The Cardinals eliminated the Nationals with a 4-3 victory. The Royals stayed alive in the race, beating the Mariners 6-5 in 12 innings.
What You Missed: Mariano Rivera's obvious Hall of Fame case. CC Sabathia's season is over. The Rangers tried to acquire Justin Upton from the Braves in July.
Today's Games: Ubaldo Jimenez and the Indians host the White Sox. Jon Niese and Mike Leake will square off in Cincinnati. Matt Moore and Hiroki Kuroda will duel in the Bronx. Yu Darvish and the Rangers host the Astros. Gerrit Cole starts for the Pirates in Chicago. Doug Fister gets the nod for the Tigers in Minnesota. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals in St Louis against Michael Wacha. John Lackey and Tyler Chatwood will face off in Denver. Bruce Chen and James Paxton will tango in Seattle. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers in San Francisco against Matt Cain.
National TV: Rays-Yankees (7 PM, MLB Network), White Sox-Indians (7 PM, MLB Network)
MLB.tv Free Game: TBA
Pitching Matchup of the Day: Matt Moore vs Hiroki Kuroda (Rays vs Yankees, 7 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.