MLB Thoughts & Theories 9/3/12
Sunday’s Big Stories
-Mark Reynolds smacked two home runs in each of Baltimore’s two enormous wins over the AL East rival Yankees over the weekend, bringing the Orioles within two games of New York as we hit Labor Day. No player had recorded two multi-homer games in the same series at Yankee Stadium since David Ortiz did it in 2003, but Reynolds’ big shot in the four-run sixth inning sealed an 8-3 win. New acquisition Randy Wolf got the win and Baltimore should be incredibly enthusiastic about the upcoming four-game series at Camden Yards this coming weekend with the division officially for the taking.
-Oakland won its 9th straight game on Sunday, completing a sweep of the free-falling Red Sox and now have the same record as the aforementioned Yankees. Brett Anderson has been great since returning from Tommy John Surgery and the Athletics have all the momentum as baseball’s hottest team. Stephen Drew drove in a pair of runs and has been good supporting help to Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp in the order.
-Over on the NL side of the world, Chipper Jones’ walkoff three-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon gave Atlanta an amazing 8-7 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. The Braves went up three games on St. Louis in the Wild Card race after Stephen Strasburg threw six quality innings in a 4-3 win, but the Washington ace only has two starts left before he’s shut down. The Dodgers kept pace with a 5-4 win over Arizona on a walkoff hit by newly acquired Adrian Gonzalez.
Sunday’s Key Quotes
“I was just a little bit nervous, but I’m with a lot of great players, so I just went out and played.” –Rangers rookie Jurickson Profar, who homered in his first big league at bat at 19 years old and doubled in his second at bat as Texas defeated Cleveland 8-3.
“In that mob scene at the plate, you kind of get lost in it, time kind of stands still. You’re not really thinking about any of that other stuff. You’re just thrilled that you won a game. Nothing beats that. That’s as good as it gets.” –Braves 3B Chipper Jones after his three-run walkoff homer to give Atlanta an improbable 8-7 win over Philadelphia.
“We just beat a very good team, a team that’s been in first place for most of the year. It’s going to be hard to take that away from them. They’re good and they’ve answered every bell so far.” –Tigers Manager Jim Leyland after Detroit swept the White Sox over the weekend to grab a share of the AL Central lead.
This Week’s Series To Watch
Yankees @ Rays- After taking two of three from Toronto over the weekend, Tampa Bay is only 3 1/2 games behind New York in the AL East and 1 1/2 games behind Oakland and Baltimore in the AL Wild Card race. Both teams bring out their Labor Day best today with CC Sabathia facing James Shields. Tuesday’s game will be on ESPN and Hiroki Kuroda battles Matt Moore on Wednesday night. One hot hitter to watch is Tampa Bay’s Desmond Jennings, who is fifth in the big leagues with 11 hits over the last week.
Angels @ Athletics- Oakland has won nine straight and are distancing themselves from Anaheim, who is now 5 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. C.J. Wilson needs to get on track for the Angels (7.99 ERA in August) as he starts on Monday against Tommy Milone. Zack Greinke opposes Jarrod Parker on Tuesday and Dan Haren and Brandon McCarthy face off in Wednesday’s finale.