MLB News and Notes September 28

MLB News and Notes September 28

Notes from Thursday's games
September 27, 2007

MINNESOTA: The last time the Twins closed the season in Boston, the Red Sox clinched the AL pennant on the last day of the season. ... Michael Cuddyer's homer in the second inning was his 16th of the season.

BOSTON: Former Red Sox infielder Johnny Pesky celebrated his 88th birthday. ... CF Coco Crisp was out of the lineup with what appears to be a virus. ... 1B Kevin Youkilis was available to pinch-hit, but rested his sore right wrist. ... David Ortiz doubled in the first inning - his 51st of the season, fourth-most in Red Sox history. It was his 50th as a DH, tying the major league record for a DH set by Edgar Martinez in 1995.


TORONTO:
RHP Josh Banks had dozens of family and friends on hand at Camden Yards for his first major league start. Banks, who grew up near Baltimore, had pitched twice in relief. ... C Gregg Zaun, who did not start Thursday, was hitting .325 (25-for-77) over his last 24 games through Wednesday. ... 2B Aaron Hill had a season-high 12-game hitting streak through Wednesday (.453, 12-for-53), including six doubles and two HRs. He led the AL with a .400 average in September.

BALTIMORE: CF Corey Patterson was shut down for the season Thursday. Patterson worked hard to return after he sprained his ankle on Sept. 5, but never made it back. He might have played his last game in Baltimore, because he becomes a free agent after the season. ... LHP Jamie Walker had a team-record 80 appearances through Wednesday, but said he didn't mind the work. ``I'm a guy that will do whatever I can to help the team win,'' he said. ... Jay Payton hit his sixth home run Thursday, the first since July 18.


NEW YORK: LF-DH Hideki Matsui, who had just 10 hits in his first 74 at_bats in September, talked with manager Joe Torre and bench coach Don Mattingly about hitting before the game. ``We talked about balance,'' Torre said. ``Trying to make it simple.'' ... Torre normally lets a player manage the regular season finale if the postseason situation is settled. He said the names ``thrown into the hopper'' for Sunday's game at Baltimore include 3B Alex Rodriguez, OF Johnny Damon, RHP Mike Mussina and C Jorge Posada. ``It's going to be the toughest one,'' said Torre, who often gave the honor to a player who was leaving the team after the season. ... Mussina and RHP Phil Hughes might work out of the bullpen during the first round of the playoffs.

TAMPA BAY: 2B Brendan Harris, out since September 17 because of a strained left lat muscle, might not play again this season. ... Manager Joe Maddon said rookies INF Joel Guzman and 3B Justin Ruggiano will play in all three games of the season ending series this weekend at Toronto.


KANSAS CITY: Going into Thursday's game, rookie 3B Alex Gordon was hitless in his last 22 at_bats. ... Reliever Brandon Duckworth pitched three perfect innings of relief Wednesday night against the White Sox with three strikeouts. He has retired the last 17 batters he has faced since Sept. 19. ... The Royals played their last road game of the season on Thursday. With a 34-46 record going into the game, the Royals will finish with their best record since 2003, when they finished 43-39. ... Kansas City is trying to avoid a last-place finish for the fourth consecutive season in the AL Central. The Royals are one game behind the White Sox.

CHICAGO: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants SS Juan Uribe to lose weight for next season and gain some more consistency. ``Uribe is not bad, but he drives me crazy,'' said Guillen. ``I'll be honest with you, Uribe can drive everybody crazy. The season is over, you look up, 20 home runs and 70 RBIs, and as a manager, you say 'how the hell can he do that?''' Guillen doesn't think Uribe has reached his potential yet. ``I wish Uribe finds out how good he is. How dangerous he can be,'' said Guillen. Uribe is hitting .231 with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs. ... Guillen thought the White Sox rookies showed improvement throughout course of the season. ``I think maybe because they played everyday, maybe because they have more confidence or maybe because we're out of the pennant chase, you never know.'' Guillen is impressed with OF Jerry Owens, who leads major league rookies in stolen bases with 32, 2B Danny Richar and Josh Fields, who leads AL rookies with 21 home runs.


ARIZONA: Brandon Webb, pushed back a day because of weather concerns in Pittsburgh, now starts Friday night at Colorado. While Webb is 3-0 with a 2.47 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh, he is 0-3 with a 6.47 ERA in five starts against Colorado. He is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two career starts in Coors Field. Webb is 3-0 in his last four starts. ... The Diamondbacks are 7-8 against Colorado this season, 3-3 on the road. ... Arizona finished 5-4 against Pittsburgh by winning 8-0 Thursday. ... Manager Bob Melvin on the possibility of playing RHP Micah Owings in the field some day: ``Don't tempt me.'' Owings is hitting .339 and has a pair of four-hit games.

PITTSBURGH: OF Nate McLouth was removed from the lineup a few minutes before game time Thursday because he was feeling ill. ... LHP Zach Duke makes his second start since a nearly three-month layoff with elbow pain when he pitches Friday night against St. Louis. Duke (3-8) lost 9-5 to the Cubs on Saturday in his first start since June 28, giving up four runs and nine hits in four innings. Duke hasn't won since beating Texas on June 12. ... RHP Shawn Chacon (right elbow soreness) hasn't been available since last weekend and may not pitch again the rest of the season.


CHICAGO: OF Daryl Ward jammed his thumb sliding into second base Wednesday. Manager Lou Piniella said Ward was available Thursday at Florida, but he didn't play. ... LF Alfonso Soriano has 18 assists, the most by a Cubs OF since Billy Williams had 18 in 1962. ... Soriano batted .185 (5-for-27) against Florida this season. SS Ryan Theriot hit .136 (3-for-22).

FLORIDA:
With two runs Thursday, SS Hanley Ramirez tied the team season record of 123 set by Cliff Floyd in 2001. ... Florida finished 36-45 at home. ... Cody Ross batted .380 (27-for-71) at home this season.


ST. LOUIS: Entering play Thursday, the Cardinals were leading the majors with 79 pinch hits and a .295 pinch average. The club record is 82 pinch hits set in 1970. ... St. Louis closes out the season with a three-game series at Pittsburgh.

NEW YORK: OF Marlon Anderson's two-game suspension was upheld Thursday, leaving him out of the matchup with the Cardinals and Friday's game against the Florida Marlins. Anderson was ejected in the ninth inning of a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 15 and threw his batting helmet toward home after he reached the dugout. ... 3B David Wright extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning double. ... The Mets entered play with a one-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East but LHP Billy Wagner remained focused on his team. ``If we don't win, we don't deserve to go,'' he said. ``That's just the way it is. If we go out and handle our own business then we'll go to the playoffs. If we can't handle our own business then we don't deserve to go.'' ... Manager Willie Randolph said he wanted to stay away from using RHP Orlando Hernandez against St. Louis. Hernandez pitched a scoreless inning against Washington on Wednesday night in his first appearance since Sept. 11, and said afterward that his balky right foot was sore.


ATLANTA: Despite a throwing error that led to three unearned runs in a crucial 5-2 loss Wednesday night, third baseman Chipper Jones has been solid defensively. He had nine errors. ``I don't know the last time I saw him throw one away,'' manager Bobby Cox said. ... Cox confirmed Jeff Bennett (2-0) will start Saturday at Houston, but is waiting to see if the game matters before naming a starter for Sunday's season finale. If it does, Tim Hudson would go on three days' rest. ... A decision on closer Rafael Soriano's appeal of a four-game suspension is expected on Friday. Soriano was suspended last week for hitting Florida's Dan Uggla with a pitch.

PHILADELPHIA: RF Shane Victorino was back in the lineup for the first time in a week. The switch-hitter had a pinch-hit homer Wednesday night and replaced the right-handed hitting Jayson Werth against righty John Smoltz. Victorino has been hampered by a calf injury that landed him on the DL in late July. ... Manager Charlie Manuel juggled his lineup with the return of Victorino. Pat Burrell, who had been batting third, dropped to sixth because he was 2-for-25 lifetime against Smoltz. Victorino batted in the No. 2 hole and Chase Utley went back to his original spot at No. 3.


HOUSTON: 1B Lance Berkman was scratched from interim manager Cecil Cooper's original starting lineup with a sore right knee. Mike Lamb was moved from third base to first base and Cody Ransom was inserted at third base. ``This will give us a chance to see Cody at third base,'' Cooper said. ... Craig Biggio went into Thursday's game as one of only three players since 1957 to have at least 1,000 career at bats against the Reds. Biggio, who is retiring, had 1,015. Hank Aaron had 1,170 and Willie Mays 1,040. Reds 2B Brandon Phillips presented a framed second base bag to Biggio in a brief pre-game ceremony on the field. ... C Eric Munson was expected to have an MRI on his back when the Astros returned to Houston. ``He might not play again this season,'' Cooper said.

CINCINNATI: IF Mark Bellhorn was brought up from the minor leagues and left-hander Bobby Livingston was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Thursday. Bellhorn was starting his third stint with the Reds. He was 1-for-11 in 10 games. Livingston had surgery Sept. 6 to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. ... IF Jerry Gil, who joined the Reds on Wednesday after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in May, will be limited strictly to pinch-running, interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ... Brandon Phillips got Thursday off, the day after joining Alfonso Soriano as the only two second basemen in major league history with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.


SAN DIEGO: Padres Manager Bud Black said he would start pitcher Jake Peavy on Sunday if the team was in position to clinch a playoff spot. The right-hander won his 19th game on Wednesday. ... Milton Bradley had surgery Thursday in Cincinnati to repair his torn ACL. Rob Mackowiak had surgery Wednesday for a double sports hernia. ... The Padres swept the three-game series in San Diego, beating the Brewers by a combined score of 17-9 May 25-27.

MILWAUKEE: Pitcher Seth McClung has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing a pitch at Albert Pujols on Wednesday, and manager Ned Yost has been suspended one game and also fined. Bench coach Dale Sveum filled in for Yost on Thursday. ... Left-hander Chris Capuano will start Friday in place of Ben Sheets. Sheets, who has a sore left hamstring that forces him to miss his second straight start, is available to pitch out of the bullpen. ``If we don't have to use him, we probably won't,'' Yost said.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 28

5 teams with same record would cause 4 days of tiebreakers
September 27, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - Here's a scenario that could mess up baseball's postseason schedule: Imagine if Arizona, Colorado, the New York Mets, Philadelphia and San Diego finish with the same record.

That would create ties in the NL East, NL West and wild-card race, necessitating four days of tiebreaker games to determine postseason berths.

The NL East is the easiest: The Mets would play Monday at Philadelphia.

In the West, the team with the best head-to-head record against the others (because Arizona plays Colorado this weekend, that's yet to be determined), gets to choose whether it prefers one tiebreaker road game or two home games. Presumably, the team with the choice would take one road game. Monday's winner would then host the club with the bye on Tuesday for the NL West title.

Starting Wednesday, the three teams that failed to win division titles would be involved in a two-day, two-game tiebreakers to determine the wild-card winner.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 28

Baseball Today - September 28
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Friday, Sept. 28

Cleveland at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EDT). C.C. Sabathia is looking for win No. 19 as the Indians try to clinch the best record in the American League.

STARS Thursday

-Micah Owings, Diamondbacks, was 4-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs while pitching 6 1-3 innings to boost Arizona over Pittsburgh 8-0.

-Carlos Lee, Astros, hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to break a tie and Houston beat Cincinnati 4-3.

-Lance Broadway, White Sox, allowed two hits over six innings in his first career start and Chicago defeated Kansas City 10-0.

FADING FAST

The spiraling New York Mets managed just three hits off Joel Pineiro and Jason Isringhausen in a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night that dropped them into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the division. The Mets (87-72) were ahead by seven games with 17 remaining but have lost 10 of 14 overall and seven straight at home. No major league team has failed to finish first after having at least a seven-game lead with 17 to play.

STREAKING

The Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 on Thursday night to sweep the three-game series and extend their franchise-record winning streak to 11 games. Seven of Colorado's wins in the streak have come over the Dodgers, who have lost 10 of 11 to fall out of contention. The Rockies (87-72), a franchise-record 15 games over .500, won nine straight from Aug. 26-Sept. 5, 1997.

WHIFFS MARK

Ryan Howard struck out for the 196th time Thursday to set the single-season major league record. In the third inning of Philadelphia's 6-4 victory over Atlanta, Howard swung at and missed a down-and-away splitter from John Smoltz for strike three. The Phillies' first baseman broke the mark established in 2004 by Adam Dunn of the Cincinnati Reds.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

The Brewers made five errors, their most in eight years, and Scott Hairston drove in three runs to lead the Padres over Milwaukee 9-5 Thursday night. While San Diego (88-71) maintained its one-game lead in the NL wild-card race and stayed one game back of Arizona in the NL West, the Brewers (81-78) failed for the second straight day to take advantage of a Chicago loss. The Cubs (83-76) lead the NL Central by two games with just three games remaining.

ON THE BRINK

Michael Cuddyer and Garrett Jones homered off 20-game winner Josh Beckett in his last start before the playoffs, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 5-4 victory over Boston on Thursday night and preventing the Red Sox from closing in on an AL East title. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth, but it needs two more wins - or Yankees losses - to clinch its first division title since 1995.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Boston's David Ortiz was 4-for-4, including his 34th homer and 51st double, but the Red Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins 5-4 on Thursday night. Ortiz's 51 doubles are fourth-most in Red Sox history. It was his 50th as a DH, tying the major-league record Edgar Martinez set in 1995.

SUSPENSIONS

Brewers reliever Seth McClung was suspended for three games and Milwaukee manager Ned Yost for one after the commissioner's office concluded Thursday the pitcher intentionally hit the Cardinals' Albert Pujols with a pitch a night earlier after warning had been issued. ... The union for baseball umpires will not contest the season-ending suspension given to Mike Winters for using a profanity aimed at San Diego's Milton Bradley last weekend.

SPEAKING

''There's two choices: Roll over and start making vacation plans for the offseason, or battle like hell and win this thing. We still feel like this is our division.'' - New York third baseman David Wright after the Mets dropped into a first-place tie with Philadelphia after a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Thursday night.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 28

Wang or Pettitte will pitch playoff opener; Hopeful Clemens can pitch Game 3.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Chien-Ming Wang or Andy Pettitte will start the New York Yankees playoff opener next week.

The order has not been finalized, but New York manager Joe Torre said the pair will pitch in either Game 1 or 2. Roger Clemens, who is rehabbing a strained left hamstring, is scheduled to start the third game if he has no setbacks.

''It's either going to be Wang or Pettitte,'' Torre said before Thursday night's game against Tampa Bay.

Wang is 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA.

Pettitte, scheduled to make his last regular season start Saturday at Baltimore, is 14-9 with a 3.81 ERA. It will be a short outing, consisting of probably just 50-to-60 pitches.

Clemens will remain in Florida to work out at the Yankees spring training complex when the team closes out the regular season this weekend in Baltimore. Torre said Clemens is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Monday, and will rejoin the team for a team workout Tuesday.

''Roger will probably be the third (game starter) unless something doesn't get better,'' Torre said.

Should Clemens not be ready, Mike Mussina would likely take his spot.

Torre and his coaching staff plan to start serious discussions on the postseason roster Friday. The Yankees clinched a playoff spot after beating the Devil Rays 12-4 on Wednesday.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 28

Colorado eliminates possibility of 5 teams with same record
September 28, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -Colorado eliminated the possibility a really messy playoff scenario.

By winning 10-4 at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night, the Rockies ensured that Arizona, Colorado, the New York Mets, Philadelphia and San Diego all couldn't finish with the same record - which would have necessitated four days of tiebreaker games.

Colorado headed into a weekend three-game series against NL West-leading Arizona two games behind the Diamondbacks, meaning the Rockies and Arizona can't finish with identical marks.

Still, four teams could finish with the same records in the NL East, NL West and wild-card races, necessitating two days of tiebreaker games to determine postseason berths.

The NL East is the easiest: The Mets would play Monday at Philadelphia.

There also could be a two-team tie in the West, with Colorado or San Diego at Arizona, or Colorado at San Diego.

The losers of Monday's games would meet Tuesday to decide the wild card.

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