Rays, Yankees clinch; Reds win division; Padres fall in both races
Five cuts from Tuesday's action:
To be fair, Peña's blast, his 28th of the season, reached the back of the section, but that half-empty section was not unique at the Trop on Tuesday night, as only 17,981 watched the Rays celebrate clinching their second playoff berth in franchise history with
That's roughly 5,000 more than the 12,446 who attended Monday's game, prompting third baseman
But for all the fuss, the Rays may, in fact, have a latent home-field advantage this year. In 2008, the Rays averaged 22,259 fans per regular-season home game, before seeing that figure jump to an average of 37,906 for their eight home playoff games.
In 2010, they have actually averaged slightly
So it's not unreasonable to think that people will again fill the Trop this postseason, despite their poor track record -- and, perhaps, mixed affiliations.
"People will turn out," manager
When he was acquired by the Yankees in the offseason, Granderson seemed poised to exceed his career-high total of 30 home runs from 2009 because he already
He's been a different player ever since, batting 42-for-156, a .269 average with a .358 OBP and 14 home runs in 45 games. Granderson has even hit lefties in that time span, going 16-for-53 (.302) with a .373 OBP and three home runs. He's a major weapon batting eighth in New York's stacked lineup.
Wood, meanwhile, has excelled in his set-up role since being traded from the Indians at the deadline, striking out 29 batters in 25 innings and allowing just one earned run for a 0.36 ERA. He has 10 holds in as many opportunities. In his short tenure in that role, he has been what
Despite the dramatic headline-grabbing playoff-clinching moment, it was the performance of Cincinnati starter
The Reds don't have a true ace, just a hodge-podge of pitchers who'd be Nos. 2-4 starters on any other team. While
Volquez has returned from
Power pitching plays in the postseason, and Volquez has the most electric stuff on Cincinnati's staff, with a 9.6 K/9, nearly two strikeouts per nine better than the second-highest rate on the team,
The combination of Atlanta's 3-2 win over the Marlins, the Giants' 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks and the Padres' 5-2 loss to the Cubs leaves the Padres two games behind San Francisco in the NL West and 1 1/2 games behind the Braves in the wild card.
The Braves have one of baseball's best situational hitting benches, leading the majors with 41 pinch-hit RBIs, thanks primarily to
Giants pinch-hitters went 2-for-2, including a go-ahead RBI single by
The Padres employ
In that same time span he has pinch hit 136 times, batting .219 and slugging nine home runs with 24 RBIs and a .338 OBP. But Stairs wasn't available on manager
On Tuesday night, Giants closer
These are just the latest high-profile examples of situations in which replay could help. A check swing is often a difficult-to-define judgment call that Major League Baseball may be loath to entrust to replay, but the case of Young didn't appear to even be borderline. Whether a pitch hit a batter or not ought to be pretty clear-cut in the vast majority of cases. In limited doses -- maybe two challenges per manager per game -- replay could help.