Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Brandon Morrow shakes hands with Yasmani Grandal of the Los Angeles Dodgers after earning a save in the ninth inning of the game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

As the final week of the regular season prepares to take off, it also brings along with it the final getaway day of the year. At this time next week, a third of the game will see its year have come to close, while a select few will be preparing to ramp it up for a run at the World Series.

Yet as we move into the final week of the season, it is still too early to be preparing to say goodbyes as a whole, because there is still plenty of business to address. The final wild card slot in the National League is up for grabs, while the Yankees are pushing the Red Sox to the wire to lock up the American League East. Aaron Judge is knocking on home run history's door, with Giancarlo Stanton (somewhat) doing the same. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper is making his return, Jose Bautista says goodbye, MVP and Cy Young resumes will receive final touches and an important moment in Oakland will be allowed the resonate.

All of that and more as we settle in for the final Getaway Day of the year. Buckle up.

American League

Baltimore Orioles: As the O's enter the last week of the regular season, they can reflect back on a year that best defined by the opportunities they squandered. The early lead in the AL East that slipped away, as well as the season rise that also was suddenly fumbled as well. Entering play on Monday, it has been over three weeks since consecutive wins have found the O’s, leaving the Baltimore faithful to hope the club’s inconsistent performance does not spill over into the offseason approach as well.

Boston Red Sox: Wednesday represented the crescendo on the calendar for the BoSox, who clinched a spot in the postseason on the heels of the most recent dominant night on the bump from Chris Sale. In the clincher, Sale whiffed 13 Orioles and became the first AL hurler in 18 years to reach 300 strikeouts, joining another notable Sox, Pedro Martinez. The Sox will need to keep on winning to lock up an AL East title, and have an important series awaiting with their potential ALDS foes in the Astros awaiting next week in the season finale series at Fenway. The Sox have a fledging, yet possible, chance of snatching ALDS home field advantage if the Astros have a rough week.

Chicago White Sox: All things considered, the White Sox should be somewhat encouraged with where they stand entering the final week of the season. They have played closer to .500 in September than have in any month since April, despite having a drastically younger and more inexperienced roster. It is something to grow on, as they move on from a week where they defeated the AL West champion Astros and move forward to having a chance to shake things up for the remaining postseason hopes for Anaheim as well.

Cleveland Indians: Despite seeing their AL record winning run come to an end, the Tribe has continued to ‘streak’ towards the postseason. Another five-game winning streak followed the end of the 22-game sprint, with the Indians winning 27 of 28 games. It is the most victories in a 28-game span since the 1884 Providence Grays. And when you see records being bested by teams that have not existed since the McKinley administration, it is a good sign it is a pretty significant accomplishment.

Detroit Tigers: Maybe the Tigers blew all of the ammo they had left for the year in last Sunday’s 12-0 near no-hit victory over the White Sox. Over the last week, they have gone winless and allowed eight or more runs four times. As such, the announcement that manager Brad Ausmus will not have his contract renewed after the season should come as no surprise, it what should be a winter spent rebuilding in the D.

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander has been a welcome addition to the club.  Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros: When it is all said and done, Justin Verlander’s arrival in Houston may stand as the greatest August acquisition of all-time. He has allowed just two runs over his first four outings as an Astro, all of which have ended as victories for the rejuvenated 34-year-old. Verlander has twice allowed only a single hit over seven innings or more and has effectively slump-proofed an Astros team that was relentlessly prone to swings of fortune before his arrival.

Kansas City Royals: While 2017 could stand as the end of an era in KC, at least a member of the Royals will see his name stand in the record books when it is all said and done. While Alex Gordon’s home run on Tuesday night was only his eighth on the year, it was the 5,694th of the season, which set a new single-season cumulative high for Major League Baseball. And ironically (or perhaps appropriately) enough, it came from a guy hitting .209 at the time.

Los Angeles Angels: While Justin Upton gets paid a pretty penny to hit home runs amongst other things, he lost what could have been the most valuable home run of his career on Tuesday. Upton cracked a homer into the giant paint can in the Anaheim outfield which reads, “Angels home run in the can $1,000,000.” However, the can’s sponsor, Sherwin Williams, will not be paying out the million, due to the ball bouncing into the can, as opposed to reaching it on the fly.

It was the most unique near-miss for the Angels in a week that was full of them, with the ones in the box score being the most painful. After entering the week just a few games outside of the Wild Card race, the Anaheim collapsed over the last week, dropping six straight to the Rangers, Indians and Astros before getting a win today, making a Minnesota appearance in the postseason a foregone conclusion in the process.

Minnesota Twins: As Ringo Starr so legendarily crooned 50 years ago this summer, you can "get by with a little help from your friends." And after a week where the Angels dropped six straight games seemingly on cue, as the Twins completed a four-game weekend sweep over the Tigers, the Angels surely should be counted among the friends of the Twins. And now they are set to celebrate clinching the franchise’s first postseason appearance in seven years early in the week.

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run in the sixth inning during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Sept. 24, 2017. Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge enters the final week of the season with a campaign to reach 50 home runs and reset the rookie record book. After hitting his 47th and 48th on the year on Sunday, Judge has a week to connect for two more in order to pass Mark McGwire’s 20-year-old rookie record of 49. He has already become only third rookie ever to have 45 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in a season. And although the Yanks secured their 19th postseason appearance in the last 23 years with a win on Saturday, they will enter the new week with their sights still set on the AL East crown, as they sit five games back of Boston, who has a magic number of three to clinch the division.

Oakland A’s: In a year mostly devoid of highlights in Oakland, the biggest statement of the year from the team came from an unlikely source. While the line between politics and sports has both blurred and intensified to a degree that has never been seen before, baseball had mostly stayed out of the mix – until A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell decided to change that. The rookie catcher made a profound statement by taking a knee during the National Anthem on Saturday night, while teammate Mark Cahna put his hand on his shoulder. It statement marked the first time that the protest had reached the national pastime, and stands as an important mile marker in the spotlight spread of political awareness across the sports spectrum.

Seattle Mariners: The woes of the week before followed the Mariners into the next, as they have now managed just one win in their last eight contests stretching back to Sept. 14. However, if there is any semblance of a bright side, it is that in that single victory they became only the second team to beat the Indians in the last month. So at least it’s a glamour win, if anything.

Tampa Bay Rays: Although the Rays wilted in the second half, one cannot help but to wonder how things may have been if Kevin Kiermaier had been healthy for the full year. The all-world glovesmith has made it his business to make final month of the season his personal highlight reel and made another astonishing grab going back to the wall in Tampa on Tuesday. In nearly 40 fewer games, Kiermaier is nearly leading the AL in defensive WAR in center field and could be in line to bring another Gold Glove home.

Texas Rangers: A clinic was put on in how to go .500 by the Rangers last week. The past week’s work was a clear indicator of why things are where they are for the club, as they put a five-game losing streak behind them with a four-game run in their favor… before dropping a weekend series to the lowly A’s. Thus is the case in an uneven season come full circle in Arlington.

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) acknowledges the crowd in the ninth inning during a game against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre.  Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays: As the Jays pull into a final week whose outcome has little consequence besides allowing them to escape the frustrations that the past six months have provided, it also signal the end of the tenure of one of the great players in franchise history, Jose Bautista. As the Jays played their final game of the season at the Rogers Centre on Sunday, Bautista received a rousing ovation from the home fans that he became a perennial All-Star in front of. In was tenure that saw him turn in a 54-home run season in 2010, the second-most homers in franchise history at 287 and one of the most charismatic bat flips in playoff history in the 2015 ALDS. Joey Bats will forever be one of the most beloved Blue Jays.

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks: Although still in the early innings of Sunday’s game with the Marlins, the D-backs got reason to celebrate early. With both the Brewers and Cardinals losing on Sunday, they clinched a Wild Card berth and officially sealed the team’s first trip to the postseason since 2011. It is a capping achievement in the stunning turnaround the D-backs, who could be the most dangerous team in the NL postseason picture. They have at least a .500 record on the year against every NL postseason contender, except for the Nationals, whom won their season series 4-2.

Atlanta Braves: After being shut out by the Phillies on Sunday, it is understandable why Braves management will be looking change things up considerably next year. Braves GM John Coppolella stated that the 2018 Braves will be ‘much younger,’ likely meaning that they will be fully investing on Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies and top prospect Ronald Acuna, as opposed to biding more time with Brandon Phillips, R.A Dickey and Jim Johnson types. It is a prudent decision, considering the Braves will close the final season of the SunTrust Park era with the franchise’s fourth straight losing campaign.

Chicago Cubs: For as long as it took for them to get into gear, the Cubs have finally kicked into motion and are beginning to resemble who they were expected to be all along. Joe Maddon’s team has the best record in the National League since the All-Star break and have lost only twice in the last two weeks. They conquered one half of an eight-game stretch on the road against their two tightest division foes, by taking three of four from the Brewers, including a pair of extra innings victories and shutout win on Sunday led by one-time Brewers trade target Jose Quintana. They now enter a week where they will have a chance to clinch a second straight NL Central championship on the home soil of the Cardinals, whom they swept a weekend ago.

Cincinnati Reds: The cool moment of the year happened in Cincinnati on Saturday night when Luke Farrell entered the game in relief against the Boston Red Sox. It just so happens that Luke’s dad John is the manager of those Red Sox and it was the first time in MLB history that a son had played against a team his father managed. Odds are John didn’t mind seeing his guys go scoreless against Luke in the ninth inning of a 5-0 win for the Sox, which marked the fifth of six straight Ls for the Reds entering the final week.

Colorado Rockies: If the Rockies truly do want to make it into the postseason, they have a funny way of showing it. After entering the week with a healthy lead over the Brewers and Cardinals, they have managed to make the final week of the season more interesting than it had to be, by dropping five of six to the cellar dwellers of the NL West. Now less than two games separate Colorado from the pack with a week to go.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw pitches during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers: Although their road towards it had some unexpected plot twists, the Dodgers wrapped up their fifth straight NL West title over the weekend. With the business of securing pole position in the West out of the way, they still have a chance to set a franchise record for wins in a season if they finish hot. Either way, it’s a comforting conclusion for a team that is wrapping up one of the most dramatically swinging, yet ultimately dominant regular seasons in history.

Miami Marlins: While Derek Jeter’s decision to shake up the establishment in Miami early in his tenure ruffled a fair amount of feathers last week, Giancarlo Stanton getting back into the swing of chasing 60 home runs proved to be righteous distraction. Stanton enters the final week of the season three sort of sixty and five short of passing Roger Maris’ 61 homer season, which he has stated as feeling is the "real" home run record. Truth in that subject notwithstanding, it will be fun to watch a locked in Stanton mash his way through every at-bat in the week to come.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Crew will have to rally this week after squandering a chance to take over in the NL Wild Card race over the weekend, after dropping three of four to the Cubs. They will now have the luxury of potentially gaining ground on the Reds, before heading to St. Louis for the final weekend of the season in what has the chance to be a winner takes all (or nothing) series for the final Wild Card spot.

New York Mets: The biggest impact Noah Syndergaard had made at Citi Field in the last four months was the lines his Thor-inspired bobble head caused in back in July. However the genuine article made his return to the mound for a single inning on Saturday against the Nationals, dealing a grand total of five pitches to work the first (and his only) inning. It was an odd outing – surely he could have pitched longer, even if it was against the script— if one only based in providing a morale boost for the team’s ace.

Philadelphia Phillies: While the Rhys Hoskins has seemingly run a monopoly on historic performances in Philly of late, Aaron Altherr took his swing at the record books Monday. Altherr became the first player ever to connect for a grand slam against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, a remarkable feat considering it is the legendary lefty’s 104th time in the scenario, meaning the young Phillies outfielder sits firmly in the .0096 percentile of rarity in outcome.

Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen leaps in the outfield after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on Sept. 24, 2017. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Buccos finally brought their season-worst seven game losing streak to an end on Wednesday, and even contributed to complicating the madness that is the NL Wild Card scene by taking two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend as well. But no matter what, it does not ease the agitation that for the third straight season, they are headed to a worse finish than the year prior.

San Diego Padres: The Padres have had the joy of being the preeminent pests in the National League over the last few weeks. They have made life miserable for the Rockies over the past weekend, after being a torn in the foot of the Diamondbacks earlier on. However, the biggest performance of the week came in a loss, but was courtesy of Hunter Renfroe, who launched three home runs last Thursday against Arizona. It was a nice retribution performance for a promising rookie who had his year interrupted by a demotion a month ago.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants aren’t going down without a fight, as they won three of five over the Rockies and Dodgers last week. As they enter the final week of the season, there is still a chance to avoid their first 100 loss season since 1985.

St. Louis Cardinals: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would be equally proud of this Cardinal team, who still finds itself in the crosshairs of reaching the postseason as the season dwindles down. After washing down the taste of a terribly timed weekend sweep at the hands of the Cubs with a four-game winning streak mid-week, they dropped the final two games in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and now stand tied with the Brewers in chasing reeling Rockies for the final NL Wild Card spot. No matter what happens, it will be able to be said they had the chance to take their fate in their own hands. The final week of the year will be spent among the two teams blocking their way to the postseason, the Cubs and Brewers, whom they will face in consecutive home series at Busch Stadium.

Washington starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park on Sept. 19, 2017. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer spent the week polishing up his arsenal as the Nats play out the remainder of their schedule to his usual degree of excellence. In the course of picking up a pair of wins over the Braves and Mets, Mad Max became the fourth pitcher ever to have four consecutive 250 strikeout seasons. He joins an impressive group of Cooperstown dignitaries to do so, in Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Ferguson Jenkins. And while Scherzer finishes up his latest master’s course on the mound, the new week will also bring the return of Bryce Harper, who will return from the disabled list on Monday and signal a Nationals team that is fully rebooted headed towards October.

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Matt Whitener is St. Louis-based writer, radio host and 12-6 curveball enthusiast. He has been covering Major League Baseball since 2010, and dabbles in WWE, NBA and other odd jobs as well. Follow Matt on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.

Top 2017 minor league prospect for every MLB franchise
QUIZ: Name the last player from every MLB team to hit for the cycle

As of July 17, 2017, can you name the last player who hit a single, double, triple and home run in the game for every MLB team? Eight minutes are on the clock.

Good luck!


Note: The Florida/Miami Marlins have not had a player hit for the cycle in the history of the franchise. 

ARZ / 2012 / 2B
Aaron Hill
ATL / 2016 / 1B
Freddie Freeman
BAL / 2009 / OF
Felix Pie
BOS / 2015 / IF
Brock Holt
CHC / 1993 / 1B
Mark Grace
CHW / 2000 / SS
Jose Valentin
CLE / 2016 / OF
Rajai Davis
CIN / 1989 / OF
Eric Davis
COL / 2017 / 3B
Nolan Arenado
DET / 2006 / SS
Carlos Guillen
HOU / 2013 / OF
Brandon Barnes
KC / 1990 / 3B
George Brett
LAA / 2013 / OF
Mike Trout
LAD / 2017 / 1B
Cody Bellinger
MIL / 2011 / C
George Kottaras
MIN / 2009 / OF
Michael Cuddyer
NYM / 2012 / OF
Scott Hairston
NYY / 2009 / OF
Melky Cabrera
OAK / 2007 / 2B
Mark Ellis
PHI / 2004 / 3B
David Bell
PIT / 2016 / 1B
John Jaso
SD / 2017 / 1B
Wil Myers
SF / 2011 / 3B
Pablo Sandoval
SEA / 2008 / 3B
Adrian Beltre
STL / 2005 / 2B
Mark Grudzielanek
TB / 2009 / OF
B.J. Upton
TEX / 2017 / OF
Carlos Gomez
TOR / 2001 / 2B
Jeff Frye
WAS / 2017 / SS
Trea Turner

Report: Alex Cobb agrees to four-year deal with the Orioles

Report: ESPN hires former Bears coach John Fox

Kyrie Irving to seek second opinion for knee issues

Stephen Curry fully cleared for practice, targeting return later this week

Alliance of American Football to launch in 2019


Taj Gibson worries about Tom Thibodeau’s health

Report: Pitt offering Dan Hurley more than $3 million per year

Daniel Bryan medically cleared to return to WWE

Sherman: NFLPA could pursue legal action if Reid not signed

Billups responds to Pistons' front office rumor

Mohamed Bamba to enter 2018 NBA Draft

The 'Not your average Joe' quiz

2018 first-round NFL Mock Draft (March 20, 2018 edition)

There is no more waiting around for a QB during the NFL Draft

Ranking all 30 MLB lineups heading into 2018

Winners & losers from the NCAA Tournament's opening rounds

Top 10 players at every MLB position for the 2018 season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Presidential sports coverage from coast-to-coast

Jamal Murray's heel turn is exactly what the Nuggets need

Women discuss breaking barriers in sports and in life at San Jose State University

The 'How sweet it is!' quiz

10 biggest takeaways from Thursday’s NCAA Tournament action

Why Trae Young will be an NBA star

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

2018 first-round NFL Mock Draft (March 20, 2018 edition)

Ranking all 30 MLB lineups heading into 2018

The 'Not your average Joe' quiz

There is no more waiting around for a QB in the NFL Draft

The 'How sweet it is!' quiz

Winners & losers from the NCAA Tournament's opening rounds

Sports & Politics Intersect: Presidential sports coverage from coast-to-coast

The 'Braves new world' quiz

NHL Weekender: Kings, Avs pushing their way into the postseason

Top 10 players at every MLB position for the 2018 season

For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker