Happy Labor Day - a national holiday we celebrate by not laboring. Or some other sentence that makes sense.
- Justin Verlander and the Tigers took down Chris Sale and the White Sox last night, completing a three-game sweep. The win brought the Tigers into a tie with the White Sox atop the AL Central for the first time since July 25, and the two teams will now duel down the stretch for the division. Winning it could be critical not only because doing so avoids the one-game Wild Card playoff, but also because, with the Athletics, Angels, Rays, and Orioles all battling for a Wild Card spot as well, there might not be one left for the loser of the Tigers/White Sox race. In other words, last night's game was big. Bigger still? A four-game set between the two teams starting next Monday at U.S. Cellular Field.
- The Stephen Strasburg shut-down date has finally revealed itself: September 12. He'll pitch against the Mets at Citi Field that day, and then his season will be over. He will not be available in the playoffs, according to the Nats. Unless the Nats go on to win the World Series, the decision will be second-guessed ad infinitum, and even more-so if Strasburg doesn't go on to continue to dominate for the Nats for years. Fair? Unfair? The Nats don't seem to care - they made their decision, and they're sticking to it.
- The Dodgers and Braves each won on a walk-off hit yesterday, courtesy of Adrian Gonzalez and Chipper Jones, respectively. The wins obviously were quite important to the NL Wild Card race, as well as the Dodgers' relatively thin hopes of winning the West.
- Another day, another teenage uber prospect making his debut. Yesterday, it was Jurickson Profar, a Rangers shortstop prospect (playing second base). Naturally, he homered in his first at bat.
- Alex Rodriguez is finally coming back from a break in his left hand, which came by way of a Felix Hernandez pitch. ARod has been on the DL since July 25, and is expected back today.
- It continues to be an ugly time for the Boston Red Sox. Alex Speier says it's time to let Bobby Valentine go in Boston after, among other things, showing an apparent lack of interest in the team and in performing his duties. Moreover, the Red Sox just lost to the A's 20-2 on Friday night. And then they were outscored 13-3 in the next two games. Woof.