I wasn’t going to go with one of those “Sleepless in Seattle” puns. That’s been done to death.
I guess the only thing we’re really waiting on is whether the Phillies can choke away a two-game lead in the Wild Card with three games to go. Or if the Braves can do that for the NL East crown, but both teams will make the playoffs anyway. There’s not that much drama left. Thanks, expanded playoffs.
- The Seattle Mariners clinched a playoff spot of Friday, ending the longest current playoff drought in North American sports. Jack Baer explains how the Mariners finally achieved a postseason berth.
- Jason Catania has 20 facts about the Mariners’ 21-year playoff drought. And yet not one of them is that “Touched by an Angel” was still on the air the last time the Mariners made the postseason.
First time the Mariners have made the playoffs without Touched by an Angel being on TV— Michael Baumann (@MichaelBaumann) October 1, 2022
- And you might want to watch Mariners play-by-play broadcaster Dave Sims call the clincher.
- The Padres also clinched a wild card berth on Sunday. They were in the expanded 2020 postseason, but it’s San Diego’s first in a normal season since 2006.
- The Braves swept the Mets over the weekend, all but clinching a division title for Atlanta. Hannah Keyser notes that this weekend’s series exposed some real weaknesses in the Amazin’s and showed that even a good team can get taken apart in the playoffs.
- Ken Rosenthal notes that the Mets rely on the dominance of starters Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer and if they’re not at their best, like they were not this past weekend, New York has some real issues. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- David Adler has the biggest weakness of each playoff team. Plus the Brewers, in case they sneak in.
- Mike Axisa looks at how the new 12-team playoff has impacted the pennant races. It hasn’t been good.
- Anthony Castrovince ranks all the playoff teams (plus the Brewers) by how much they need to win the World Series this year. For a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1948, I think he’s got the Guardians ranked way too low. He’s just figuring that the team has already overachieved quite a bit this season.
- Turning to teams that didn’t make the playoffs, White Sox manager Tony La Russa is expected to announce his retirement later today. Although most of you probably know that by now.
- Bob Nightengale looks at what went wrong for La Russa his second time around on the South Side. Nightengale also talks to Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez about how thrilled he is to see the World Baseball Classic again this spring.
- Zach Crizer looks at which teams were the biggest disappointments this season and La Russa’s White Sox are at number one.
- On the positive side, a roundtable discussion on which teams were the most surprising in a good way? But also in a bad way and that’s the White Sox again.
- Zach Crizer also looks at the questions the Red Sox face this winter and can they turn around a last-place team in Boston?
- Bradford Doolittle has one top question for every team that didn’t make the playoffs this year. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Emma Baccellieri has a long-form essay on how Braves third baseman Austin Riley became the cornerstone of the team.
- We haven’t said a lot about Aaron Judge today and that’s because, as anyone knows who has tuned in to see HR number 62, Judge has been slumping. And not hitting home run number 62. Judge has also fallen into second place in the batting average race, putting his Triple Crown hopes in jeopardy.
- R.J. Anderson ranks all 30 teams by how likely they are to sign Judge as a free agent this winter.
- The Angels and Shohei Ohtani agreed to a one-year, $30 million deal for 2023, buying out his last year of arbitration. Sam Blum explains what this contract does and does not mean. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Albert Pujols hit home run number 702 and also tied Babe Ruth for second on the all-time RBI list.
- David Laurila speaks with Orioles rookie Gunnar Henderson about how he became one of the most promising young hitters in the game.
- Dylan Svoboda has five players doing better in the second half than they did in the first.
- Joon Lee profiles Met Terence Gore, who has taken a very unusual path to three World Series rings. Madison Bumgarner is the only other active player with three rings. I’m sure that anyone who remembers Gore with the Cubs is familiar with how Gore does it, but it’s worth getting the whole story nonetheless.
- Congratulations to the Durham Bulls, who beat the Reno Aces to claim the Triple-A National title on Sunday.
- The WBC qualifiers are going on in Panama City, and Nicaragua is celebrating every home run with a giant cowboy hat.
- Simeon Woods Richardson set a major league record and all he had to do was put on a uniform on Sunday. Woods Richardson now has the longest name on the back of a jersey in MLB history.
- And finally,It’s always a disappointment when a pitcher loses a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. But what about losing the no-no in the World Series? And that one hit won the game for the other side? Michael Clair explains how that happened to Bill Bevens in the 1947 World Series. At least Bevens’ Yankees would end up winning the Series over the Dodgers anyway.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.