Sunday, September 28, 2008

Turn Out the Lights...

The Bucs closed out the season the way they started it when they whipped San Diego in the finale today by a 6-1 tally.

The Pirate batters had a case of the back-to-backs today. First, Adam LaRoche and Steve Pearce hit B2B homers in the fourth, and the game was put away in the ninth when Jay Michaels and LaRoche came through with B2B two-out doubles, good for three runs.

The Pirate pitching did a bob-and-weave with the Padre hitters through the first six innings, but limited the NL's lowest scoring attack to one run over that span.

The Buc back-enders had a great finish to the season, with John Grabow, Tyler Yates, and Matt Capps pitching near perfect ball, marred only by Capps plunking a batter. Yates was untouchable again, striking out the side on 12 pitches.

So another tumultous season ends, 2,400 miles from PNC Park. It's time to grab a cold one and get the logs stacked for what's bound to be an interesting hot stove league over the winter.

> Adam LaRoche isn't the only Pirate that has first-half woes. Remember when Freddie Sanchez couldn't hit BP? Well, Sanchez has posted a .348 average since the All-Star break, the third-highest mark in the NL.

He'll also take an 83-game errorless streak into next season. After making seven errors in the first two months of the season, Sanchez has been perfect in the field since May 29th, and his .989 fielding percentage is second-best in the League. Not much range, we'll admit, but he's back to Steady Freddie.

For the record, Sanchez finished up the year hitting .271, and LaRoche .270. The trick will be to hot-wire the duo in April and May next year. Sanchez will hopefully come into camp with all his body parts functioning, and LaRoche...well, he's probably open to suggestions at this point.

> The Brew Crew hung on to take the wildcard spot, as CC Sabathia held off the Cubs 3-1. Our hat's off to CC. He pitched like a throwback warrior, taking the mound on three days rest three straight times. Who they're gonna pitch in the playoffs is a another question, but at least they're in it.

The Mets were dropped by the Marlins, 4-2. Ollie and Scott Olsen were both toast by the sixth, and it became a battle of the bullpens. And as far as the Mets are concerned, that's a losing proposition.

Milwaukee will go to Philly, and the Cubs will host the Dodgers. And we bet that's some somber post-game party that New Yorkers have to close down Shea.

> The Twins and White Sox both won, so here's their scenario: Chicago hosts Detroit in a make-up game tomorrow. If the Sox win, the Twins come to town for a one-game, winner-take-all match.

Whoever survives plays Tampa Bay. And this year's down-to-the-wire races once again prove that a MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint. It's also another reason the wild card is so cool.

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