It was a long holiday weekend, and you probably spent it like I did, stockpiling cans of non-perishables because the humid Bay Area weather means the ice caps are going to melt any day now. I watched some baseball while stacking cans of pumpkin-pie mix, but not a lot. As such, I need to catch up on some baseball. You probably do, too.
This weekend recap doesn't feature a single National League team, mostly because they were boring. Yasiel Puig made some sort of throw blah blah blah, but that's kind of a dog-bites-man story these days. Call me when there's a Puig-bites-dog story. So, tomorrow. Call me. (714) 914-4404.
The Rays had a bad weekend
The entire weekend recap could be made from Rays-related misfortune. First, the baseball games. They did not win a lot of baseball games. They were swept by the A's, which gives the Indians, Yankees, and Orioles realistic hopes for that second wild-card spot. After a freaky 21-5 July, the Rays have been slowly giving those wins back, going 11-15 in August.
The reason everything is sour? Well, it wouldn't be appropriate to blame Delmon Young and the dark cloud over Delmon Young's head, but it probably has something to do with either Delmon Young or the dark cloud over his head. Because Delmon is back with the Rays for some reason. He had an at-bat and flew out to deep right.
When the Rays signed James Loney, I figured they were too clever by half. It's one thing to look for undervalued assets. It's another to pretend you can turn any player into an asset by saying his name into a mirror three times. Except Loney is hitting .305/.354/.433 with solid defense. The joke was on the naysayers.
They're adding chainsaws, though, just because they've proven they can juggle bowling pins. It might work. It might end up a bloody mess. But it's not boring. The Rays aren't boring.
Also, Fernando Rodney was locked in a bathroom.
That's what happened to the Rays this weekend. They were stinky, and they couldn't escape it.
Also, brilliant screenshot, MLB.com.
The Red Sox are probably going to win the AL East
This is related to the first point. While the Rays were losing three in Oakland, the Red Sox were sweeping a very bad White Sox team.
Perspective: The 2011 Red Sox, who famously collapsed in September, were a half-game back on this date two years ago. CoolStandings.com gives the 2013 Red Sox almost a 98-percent chance of making the playoffs, and a 90-percent chance of winning the division.
Additional perspective: The 2011 Red Sox had a 99.6-percent chance of making the playoffs on this date two years ago. So unpleasantness can happen.
But it's probably not going to happen. There was a strong, strong case to be made that the Red Sox were the worst team in the AL East before the season started, and I'm not sure how many Red Sox fans would have argued with you. Maybe they'd climb to third or fourth, but it's September now, and the Red Sox are prohibitive favorites in a tough division.
Also, the White Sox are awful.
Here's how the fourth inning went in Monday's White Sox-Yankees game:
Alex Rodriguez doubled to right. Vernon Wells hit comebacker that deflected off Dylan Axelrod's glove for an infield single. Curtis Granderson walked. Mark Reynolds hit a shot to third, which Conor Gillaspie gloved but couldn't handle, allowing Rodriguez to score. Austin Romine singled to center, scoring Wells and Granderson. Brett Gardner doubled to right, scoring Reynolds. Derek Jeter hit on up the middle, again deflected by Axelrod and again going for a hit, scoring Romine.
There were two more runs after that, too. The important part is that Hawk Harrelson said,"In all the thousands of games I have done for the White Sox, that is the most embarrassing inning I have ever called."
So maybe the point isn't that the Red Sox are a super-team for beating the White Sox, but that they're the favorites for the division regardless of how they improved that position this weekend.
The other point is that the White Sox are awful.
Jose Iglesias is a warlock
Iglesias turned three double plays against the Red Sox on Monday, helping Doug Fister and the Tigers complete a combined shutout.
The first double play was sorta standard:
The second double play was pretty amazing:
The third double play was pretty amazing:
Just as amazing? The Fenway crowd gave him a big ovation before his first at-bat. That sort of spontaneous endorsement should count for 78 percent of the Gold Glove voting.
Neftali Feliz is back
An inning and two-thirds, two strikeouts, no baserunners. The last time the Rangers were in the World Series, it was a weird, bullpen-dominated postseason. The Cardinals won the World Series despite rarely getting a starter past the sixth inning.
The Rangers were paying attention, and now they have the best bullpen in either league, give or take. Of the five relievers the Rangers have used the most, the worst ERA belongs to Jason Frasor (2.61) and all of them have allowed fewer than a homer per nine innings pitched.
Just in case, though, just in case, they have Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz back from elbow surgery, as the seventh and eighth relievers. Both of them were among the 10 best relievers in baseball just a couple of seasons ago, and they're excellent raffle tickets. It's almost surprising the Rangers didn't sign Brian Wilson, considering.
Asdrubal Cabrera set a record
The record is for "best faces during one grounder." It's not an official record.