Today’s pennant race report is brought to you by the letter B and T, which stand for Barf-Tastic.
And the reason I feel so Barf-Tastic today is because last night I watched Derek Jeter fake being hit by a pitch, double over in fake pain, allow team trainers to examine his hand, and then score a run in a hugely important baseball game. When you pretend to be injured and go to first base, that is lying and lying is cheating. And I don’t care if Jeter is a stand-up guy in every other respect. He shouldn’t want to win games in any way other than the most honest way. Last night he watched his team lose despite the run he scored. That was brought to you by the letter J, for Justice.
Speaking of Mr. Barf-Tastic, his team is 2-8 in their last 10 games and face only AL East opponents in their remaining games. The Yankees have just one reliable starting pitcher right now, CC Sabathia, and a host of injured or underperforming players. The other team atop the AL East isn’t faring much better. Sure, they took the series from the Yanks, but they also have the second-highest ERA in the majors this month (5.32). And look, I know everyone says they’re done, but Boston has won four in a row and still has six games left against the Yankees. This one ain’t over yet, folks.
The Twins and Rangers have solid holds on the Central and West divisions and both teams are playing solid baseball right now. If the season ended today, the Rays would play the Rangers and the Yankees would play the Twins. That would be the best-case scenario for the Yankees I think, seeing as how they just got swept in Texas. Either way, a tight division race could wear out the beasts of the East.
Only a half game separates San Diego and San Francisco in the West and now we’ve got to deal with the Rockies, who are making yet another September surge. Why don’t those guys do this in April and May? The Giants are also just a half game behind the Braves in the Wild Card race, which might be their best hope now that they’ve fallen three games behind the Phillies in the East. The Phillies are bouncing back from a rough mid-season stretch and their top three pitchers, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, are a terrifying trio to imagine in a five or seven game series.
Meanwhile, the Central that is the only division without much doubt. The Reds need to play just .500 baseball over their last 16 games in order to reach the playoffs. Like I said in my season preview, this young team is scary. They play solid, smart baseball. And since they’re exceeding expectations, they have nothing to lose.