Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
With three teams fighting for two Wild Card spots in the AL and two fighting for one in the NL, the final day of the season doesn’t look like it will be short on drama. Both leagues still hold the possibility of a tiebreaker, and that rained out Detroit-Cleveland game from Thursday could come to mean something after all. But as much excitement as today stands to offer, last night brought us tantalizingly close to having even more, and from a team who has already had a particularly exciting final month — the Seattle Mariners, eliminated from contention yesterday in an extra-innings loss.
The Mariners’ season looked all but mathematically over at the beginning of September, with playoff odds hovering below 5 percent and falling as the team kept losing. A hot spring had faded into a lackluster summer, meaning that hope for any sort of a meaningful fall was dim. And then came an offensive hot streak that propelled them to eight wins in a row, pushing the Mariners from essentially eliminated to viable Wild Card contenders. Even after the winning streak had snapped and the team began to look a bit more human, the hope stayed alive — never more so than last night, when a win against the Oakland A’s would have meant a meaningful Game 162 and a loss guaranteed yet another year without the playoffs. Down 7-4 in the seventh inning, it looked as if the Mariners were heading towards the latter. But then came a comeback, with rookie Ben Gamel driving in the tying run as the perfect unlikely hero to set up a storybook ending... which didn’t come true, as the Mariners took it to extras but couldn’t finish it there. For Seattle, the 9-8 loss in ten innings meant the end of their season and stretched their playoff drought to 15 years. And for baseball, it meant no more hope of a four-way tie for the AL wild card, a little less craziness for the season’s final day.
- The last day of the season means, of course, our last day with Vin Scully in the booth. Appreciate him better with Grant Brisbee’s guide.
- It appears that manager Robin Ventura and the White Sox are parting ways after five years, with former Cubs skipper Rick Renteria tapped as his replacement.
- For the Giants to stay in the lead for the second NL wild card spot, Ty Blach had to defeat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers yesterday — and the rookie got the job done.
- The Cardinals, a game behind the Giants for that second spot, narrowly beat the Pirates by a score of 4-3, with Matt Holliday providing some pinch-hit heroics for the second day in a row.
- Meanwhile, the Mets’ victory over the Phillies clinched their playoff spot, and they celebrated accordingly.
- Over on the AL side, the Orioles lost an early lead and fell to the Yankees 7-3, dropping their hold on the top Wild Card spot...
- ...and the Blue Jays took advantage of that loss, defeating the Red Sox 4-3 to move into a tie with the Orioles.
- Corey Kluber will be healthy for Cleveland in the ALDS, but the team is being cautious enough not to start him in Game One — that honor instead belongs to Trevor Bauer, with Kluber slated to take the mound in Game Two.