As it was expected to be, yesterday was another crazy day of playoff baseball, with one team coming back, one team reversing course, and a couple series getting knotted up ...
- The Giants accomplished something yesterday that no other team had: they went on the road down 0-2 in their divisional series with the Reds, and won three straight in Cincinnati to claim the series. Yesterday's game looked over in the fifth when Buster Posey launched a grand slam deep to left, giving the Giants a 6-0 lead. But the Reds battled back, getting to within two runs and putting the tying run on base in the bottom of the 9th before Scott Rolen struck out to end the series (and, probably, his career).
- The A's couldn't pull of a three-game winning streak of their own, and their surprising season ended at the hands of the Tigers last night. Justin Verlander threw a four-hit shutout, and the A's were never really in the game. Good season, though, guys.
- The Orioles and Yankees went to extras for the second straight night, with the O's pulling it out this time in the 13th on a run-scoring double by J.J. Hardy. C.C. Sabathia will get the start for the Yankees in Game Five, opposing Jason Hammel at 4 pm CT on TBS.
- The Nationals also forced a Game Five against the Cardinals by winning Game Four in dramatic fashion thanks to a walk-off homer by Jayson Werth. Adam Wainwright will face Gio Gonzalez in that decisive game tonight at 7:30pm CT on TBS.
- With the O's and Nats' victories, each of the four divisional series will go to five games. Yay for more than the required minimum amount of baseball! (That's the first time in the 18-year history of divisional play that it's happened, too.)
- Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan isn't too happy that Josh Hamilton decided to quite chewing tobacco mid-season. That is to say, Ryan has no problem with Hamilton giving up the habit, but he believes (and Hamilton kind of confirmed, earlier in the year) that stopping mid-season had a negative impact on Hamilton's production (his mid-season swoon coincided with giving up the tobacco). Ryan also offered a pretty half-hearted defense when asked if he thought Hamilton quit on the Rangers late in the year. "You know, that's really a tough term to say somebody quit," Ryan said. "He had an issue, he was under a magnifying glass and things didn't go well. If he would have gotten a couple of hits in those key situations or if he hadn't dropped that ball in Oakland, would people be saying that? No, they wouldn't be saying that. It didn't look good. But do I think he quit? I have no reason to think he quit. It didn't go well. It didn't look good and only Josh knows what was in his heart and what was in his mind." All of this comes on the heels of GM Jon Daniels' suggestion that the Rangers aren't going to go nuts to try and re-sign Hamilton if he gets a big-time offer on the free agent market.
- Rival executives are affirmatively mad at the Nationals for the Stephen Strasburg shut-down plan. Apparently they see it as the Nationals acting like they know better than everyone else how to prevent injuries, and think it was foolish/arrogant for the Nationals to assume they'll be back to the playoffs in the years to come.
- Beyond the Boxscore wonders whether the running game still contributes meaningfully to wins and losses.