Clinch Watch 2021 – Wildcard Clinch Activated – 9/28/2021
The St. Louis Cardinals will be in the second wildcard spot for the National League. Cue some unfun postseason flashbacks for Dodgers fans.
There are only four spots left without a concrete idea of who will fill them – the AL West Division and AL wildcards and the NL West Division. September baseball nuttier than a Snickers bar right now.
All Dodgers Except Blake Treinen Shut Out Padres
The Dodgers took a scoreless Padres team into the ninth inning when reliever Blake Treinen gave up a home run to perennial pain-in-the-ass Jake Cronenworth. He did attempted to pick off pinch runner Ha-Seong Kim, but alas! Treinen still couldn’t stop the steal and Kim reached second safely.
This feels like a game that should have had a higher run total for the Dodgers. I’m not complaining about the win, but with nine walks and a team LOB of 26, two runs seems a bit limp.
Luckily, Walker Buehler seems to have sorted himself out. He came out hot and strong for seven innings, giving up just three hits and two walks with five strikeouts. I cannot overstate how good it feels to have Buehler throwing Buetane again. He will be instrumental in the upcoming postseason without a doubt.
AJ Pollock continues to look strong after his return from the IL. He knocked in Trea Turner in the third to put the Dodgers up 2-0. Turner also knocked in a run in the first.
Justin Turner also looked sharper at third today, his throws crisp and on the button. Though he didn’t earn a hit, he did get on base twice with a pair walks and hit two loud outs.
The Dodgers will need Buehler, Pollock, and the Messieurs Turner to be in prime condition to survive a wildcard game with the blazing hot Cardinals, who just won their 17th straight game. And quite happily, it looks like the injuries have become less of an issue lately. Now excuse me while I go knock on every piece of wood in my apartment building.
Dodgers improve to a Ventura Highway and 56 and for a very brief moment gained some ground on the Giants. The Padres move to 78-79 and fall below .500 to just really crush their fanbase good.
Diamondbacks Still A Team (That Lost To The Giants)
I mean, they did kinda go down swinging but yeesh.
The Giants struck first in the first, this time on a full count walk from pitcher Luke Weaver, the third he issued in the inning. And of course the Giants did this on two outs. Why not?
In true fug-it fashion, the D-backs sent Weaver back out for another four innings and lucky for him, he settled down and managed to put up zeros for the rest of his outing. So good on you, Weaver.
Arizona got on the board in the third with a sac fly from Josh Rojas to score Jake McCarthy and tied the game. Then came the sixth inning.
D-back reliever Sean Poppen entered the game and immediately had to deal with traffic due to a throwing error from shortstop Josh Rojas. Steven Duggar flied out, but then Alex Dickerson was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Tommy La Stella singled to load ‘em up.
Then, death by a thousand cuts. Wilmer Flores singles, RBI. Posey walks, RBI. A pitching change to Joe Mantiply. Brandon Crawford singles, RBI. Kris Bryant hits into a force out, with the play at home to save a run. Then a wild pitch from Mantiply results in – you guessed it – an RBI. Finally, Austin Slater grounds out, putting the stopper into the leaking dinghy.
Both the Diamondbacks and the Giants put up a run each in the seventh. And in the eighth, Arizona batters did manage to knock around Giants reliever Tyler Rogers, scoring two runs and earning one walk. But it wasn’t enough and only a few minutes past the end of the Dodgers game, San Francisco pulled the full two games ahead once more.
Giants move to 103-54 and still have the best record in baseball. The Diamondbacks move to 50-107 and with an Orioles win over Boston today, now have sole custody of the worst record in baseball. Looking forward to tomorrow, sigh.
Rockies Beat the Nationals
The score was 3-1 and since the Nationals are 23.5 game back from a wildcard position….these games….kinda don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure they’re still interesting to the fans and franchises involved. But when two sub .500 teams play each other in September, it’s hard to muster enthusiasm if you’re not directly involved.
However, it is worth mentioning that Raimel Tapia got a pinch hit triple in the seventh and scored later in the inning. He also scored on a Brendan Rogers double in the 7th, giving the Rockies a little insurance against the Nats. Trevor Story also hit a solo dong off of Patrick Corbin, his 24th of the season and just possibly his last in purple, depending on how these next few games go.
The Rockies do head to Chase Field to play the Diamondbacks after this, so he might just have a chance to tack on a few more and raise his price tag a little.
The fact that the Rockies play the Diamondbacks for their last series makes the idea of relegation….kind of appealing, ngl. As does the idea that three teams have clinched division wins with less than one hundred wins while the Dodgers….
….you know what? Not gonna go there. Gonna invest in a little relentless optimism instead.
Rockies improve to 72-85 and probably hope to win tomorrow, as it’s the last home game of their 2021 season.