Entering Monday night, the Red Sox hold a 1.5-game lead on the Athletics and 3.5-game lead on the Tigers for home-field advantage. Unlike the top of the division, there would not be a tiebreaker game to determine home-field, so what happens if Boston is tied by either Oakland or Detroit down the stretch?
The first tiebreaker is head-to-head performance. That means the Tigers would claim home-field over the Red Sox if the two finished with the same record, since Detroit won four of the seven meetings between the two this season.
If Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp are all healthy, who would be the Dodgers’ starting outfielders?
The only time Don Mattingly has had to answer the question was on July 5, the one day this season all four outfielders were available to start.
But with Ethier expected to return to the lineup Tuesday for the start of a three-game series in San Francisco, Mattingly might have to revisit the potentially divisive issue leading up to the first playoff series of his managerial career.
When Manny Machado crumpled to the ground in the seventh inning at Tropicana Field on Monday, I immediately thought of two other Orioles’ scenes.
The first was in old Yankee Stadium on Sept. 20, 2005.
Second baseman Brian Roberts, a first time All-Star, the club’s Most Valuable Oriole and one of the franchise’s rare homegrown stars, was covering first base when he had an ugly, gruesome collision with the Yankees’ Bubba Crosby.
As Jonny Gomes donned a soldier’s helmet and punted cans of beer into the crowd, Mike Napoli raced onto the field bare-chested and the rest of the Beard Brothers celebrated an AL East title that nobody predicted they would win, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington repeated the same refrain.
“It is an important first step,” Cherington said no fewer than five times Friday night at Fenway Park.
This week, the Sox hope to take the next step.
Has Roy Halladay thrown his final pitch for the Phillies?
This season, yes.
Ever, quite possibly.
He faced just three batters in the shortest start of his career in tonight’s 4-0 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park, sweating profusely, struggling to find the strike zone and never throwing harder than 83 mph in the process. He barely resembled the former Cy Young winner that once threw a perfect game and postseason no-hitter for the Phillies.
Sometimes, Randy Knorr sits in his room, all alone, and laughs. Late at night, he sits on his balcony overlooking Nationals Park. In the mornings, he leaves his apartment and thinks to himself, “Oh, my God. I get to go to that stadium to work.” He works with some of the best baseball players in the world, many of whom he has coached since they were minor leaguers. At each first pitch, as the Washington Nationals bench coach, Knorr is standing in the dugout of a major league baseball game.
“And then I realize: I got the greatest job ever,” Knorr said. “I can’t help but smile every day I come to the ballpark.”