CLINCH WATCH 2021 – Now With Even More Clinches! – Weekend Series Review
The Brewers locked in the NL Central division championship with a win against the New York Mets. And did it on Fan Appreciation Day, which is rather nice for Milwaukee fans. The Tampa Bay Rays also sewed up the AL East division. Their fans chanted “Move to Tampa” in protest of the team’s possible split future with Montreal. So that’s less nice for fans.
The Rays currently sit at 97-59, the Brewers at 94-62. It’s enough to make a 100 win team wince in frustration.
Dodgers Take Two of Three in Arizona
It was a roller coaster of a weekend for the last Dodger away games of the regular season. The Dodgers took two of three in a series that they desperately needed to sweep.
Good news is that Chris Taylor, who has never done a thing wrong in his life, seems to be on the mend from neck issues. He made two absolutely spectacular back-to-back catches in the bottom of the ninth on Friday after replacing AJ Pollock in left field. AJ himself said he could’t have made those catches the way CT3 did.
It’s easy to focus on these end-of-the-year games, but it was a dismal end of April that turned over into May that really brought the record to this point. From April 18-May 9th, the Dodgers lost 15 out of 20 games. During that stretch, the players were beleaguered with injury. They went 14-12 in July, with the starting rotation limping along with the removal of Bauer for a criminal investigation.
Bellinger fractured a leg and now a rib. Seager broke his hand when hit by a pitch. Mookie played part of the season with hip troubles. Nearly every position has spend either a little time on the IL or sitting on the bench a few days with some kind of injury.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Entire chunks of the Dodger lineup have been missing this season and they are still a 100 win team. And I don’t think it’s hubris to say that they will win a few more games this season.
The resilience and drive of this team is being eclipsed by a freakishly good Giants team. And that’s a real shame. Especially when Trea Turner and Corey Seager hit back to back home runs that just happen to be each of the player’s career 100th home run. Julio Urías leads the league in wins, and the team leads all of baseball in combined ERA with 2.99 and an astounding 2.92 at home. And though he’s a recent addition, Max Scherzer just passed Justin Verlander on the all time strikeout list, first in all active pitcher and 18th most of all time.
This team is good. Which makes it all the more bitter when the Boys drop a Kershaw start day to the team with the worst record in baseball. It makes the idea of a wild card game with the Cardinals bring up unhappy playoff memories. We all know how the odds should go, but that’s just not how baseball seems to work in crucial moments.
Add in the 15 game hot streak the Cardinals are on and it begins to feel a little tight around the collar. Better put an order in for the Extra Relentless Optimism this week.
If I took off my Dodger hat for a moment, I’d have to tip whatever cap I replaced it with to the Arizona social team for posting this after the Dodgers lost to them on Saturday.
No one who works for the Diamondbacks can possibly be having a net-positive time when it comes to their record. They saw their chance and took it. And if it feels a little bit like a little brother desperately trying to get the attention of an older, much cooler brother well hey. It kinda is.
Coors Field Didn’t Coors Field for the Giants. Rude.
The Giants swept the Rockies, yes, but the Rockies did manage to keep the numbers to respectable margins which is sometimes all you can hope to do against the Giants right now. The Friday and Saturday games had almost the exact same finishing lines: Giants 7, Rockies 2, with eleven hits for both teams each night, though the Rockies committed one error on Friday night.
The final game of the series was a tense outing. The Giants struck first, with a groundout RBI from Brandon Crawford in the 3rd and an RBI single from Kris Bryant in the fifth. Then the Rockies got on the board later in the inning with a C.J. Cron Home run to center. Nice to see the kid can bork up someone else’s starters once in a while.
An overturned call gave the Rockies their second run in the seventh and for two more innings, the teams faced off on even ground. Then Coors happened. Against the Rockies.
It started with a one out single from Tommy La Stella off of Rox reliever Daniel Baird to score Steven Duggar Wilmer Flores moved to third. Kris Bryant struck out, and Bud Black pulled Baird for Tyler Kinley and in retrospect not the best move. Oh his second pitch, Kinley gave up a three run homer to Brandon Crawford that put the final nail in the series coffin.
With that sweep of the Rockies, the Giants improve to 102-54, the Rockies move to 71-84 and have hopefully taken notes on whatever brand of devil magic the Giants have that could override even the Mile High baseball black magic.
Padres Shut Out by Atlanta
The two main takeaways here is that:
1. Boy howdy did the Padres crash this season and in really strange, inexplicable ways.
Joe Musgrove struck out nine batters in Sunday’s game yet gave up three earned runs and issued three walks in five innings. Atlanta gave up ten hits and seven walks in the same game, yet the Padres only pushed three runs across the plate. That has to be absolutely infuriating to Padres fans who are almost certainly hungry for more from their team.
Questions surrounding Jayce Tingler’s ability to direct this club feel entirely valid. If we saw the tension spill over between Machado and Tatís outside of the clubhouse, it can’t be a very comfortably atmosphere inside of it.
2. Atlanta’s sweep helps them to pull away from the Phillies, who are now 2.5 games back with an ever-shortening window to change it.
Atlanta still sits atop the NL East with 83 wins, a record that numerically puts them in 13th place. Is it time to abolish divisions? No, that’s probably a terrible idea that would throw MLB into complete chaos. But it probably is time to stare at the NL East with severe judgement and distaste.
Padres move to exactly .500 at 78-78 and have the distinct displeasure of being labeled MLB’s biggest bust of the year.
There’s one other thing that colors the weekend for the people of San Diego. A woman and her son died after falling from an upper rail of Petco Park to the ground outside six stories below. It’s not clear how or why they fell and homicide detectives are on the case due to what they call the “suspicious” nature of their deaths. There’s not much to say here other than if you are the praying kind, say one for all of the people involved in this sadness.