Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Pennant Race - 9/23

The Mets players may deny they are uptight about the last week of the season, but who can blame them. After last year's momentous collapse, the Mets are on the brink of blowing another playoff opportunity. Last night, for the second time this season, the Mets were burned by an opposing pitcher's grand slam. The Cubs' Jason Marquis joined the Mariners' Felix Hernandez in the Mets record book by taking rookie starter Jon Niese deep with the bases loaded. The Cubs went on to a 9-5 victory, which dropped the Mets lead in the wildcard to a half-game ahead in front of the Brewers.

The Phillies also pushed their advantage in the NL East to 2.5 games ahead of the Mets with a 6-2 win over the Braves. The game was tied 2-2 in eighth inning when the Phillies went ahead on a fielder's choice. Pat Burrell then put the game away with a 3-run home run, his 33rd long ball of the season. Chase Utley also picked up his 100th RBI, the fourth year in a row the second baseman has achieved the feat.

Brandon Webb picked up his 22nd win and the Diamondbacks moved to within 2 games of the idle Dodgers in the NL West with their 4-2 defeat of the Cardinals. Stephen Drew reached the 20 home run mark for the first time in his career and Brandon Lyon escaped a 2nd and 3rd, nobody out, jam in the eighth inning.

The Rays moved 2.5 games in front of the Red Sox in the AL East with a 4-2 win over the Orioles. Jason Bartlett's RBI double snapped a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. Last year's number one amateur pick, David Price, made his first major league start, going 5.1 innings, with one earned run allowed.

The Indians' Zach Jackson won his first MLB game in two years in the Tribe's 4-3 win over the Red Sox. Jamey Carroll and Shin-Soo Choo singled in runs off of Josh Beckett in the fifth inning to give Cleveland the lead for good.

News and Notes

The Indians' Fausto Carmona (6 games) and the Tigers' Gary Sheffield (4 games) were each suspended for the role in the bench clearing brawl between the two teams on Friday night. Indians' Victor Martinez and Asdrubel Cabrera also were suspended for 3 games each.

The Red Sox J.D. Drew received a cortisone shot for his bad back, but it remains to be seen if he'll play again this year. Teammate Mike Lowell could be back in the lineup this week though.

Speaking of bad backs, Rays' closer Troy Percival will be getting a second epidural this week.

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