Red-hot Astros hand the ball to their ace
Originally Published: September 11, 2008By Bob Klapisch | Special to ESPN.com
Somewhere in his decision-making data bank, Astros manager Cecil Cooper toyed with the idea of holding out Roy Oswalt one extra day, allowing him to start the showdown series against the Cubs on Friday.To any outsider, it was a tactical slam dunk: give the ball to your most trusted pitching weapon, fire the first shot of the weekend that just might decide the wild card, if not the National League Central itself.
|For more on the races, see Hunt for October.|
Brewers get a big winYou think the Brewers weren't breathing a sigh of relief after Wednesday's dramatic 4-3 win over the Reds? Manager Ned Yost told reporters, "This is horribly fun" -- which is what every manager says when he's living and dying pitch by pitch. Somehow, the Brewers are keeping Yost sane, if only barely, as they hang onto that four-game lead in the wild-card race. The victory over Cincinnati was significant in that it proved, again, the Brewers are unafraid of pressure: They are 28-14 in one-run games, the best mark in the big leagues. Mike Cameron was the hero Wednesday, lashing an eighth-inning single that put the finishing touches on a come-from-behind win; the Brewers had been down 3-1 with nine outs to go. They now embark on a critical 10-game road trip, starting with Thursday night's key series opener against the Phillies. "It's going to be a big series," Cameron told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Emotions are going to be high, especially there [among Philadelphia fans]. Some guys are playing for pennies. Some guys are playing for gold."
Unusual weekend awaits in New YorkSpeaking of upcoming series and homestands, how's this for an oddity: The Yankees and the Mets both will be home this weekend, but only one of the teams is involved in a race. For the first time since 1988, the Mets are poised for a postseason appearance without the Yankees joining them.
|• Kansas City at Minnesota, 1:10 ET | Talk about it|
• Milwaukee at Philadelphia, 7:05 ET | Talk about it
• Pittsburgh at Houston, 8:05 ET | Talk about it
• Toronto at Chi. White Sox, 8:11 ET | Talk about it
• Chi. Cubs at St. Louis, 8:15 ET | Talk about it
|For more on today's big games, see the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse.|
Strength in numbersFitting, wasn't it, that the Angels clinched the American League West on Wednesday, the same day they beat the Yankees 4-2. They are 7-3 against the Bombers this season and are the only team to have a winning record against New York since 2000. The Angels dominated the division all season and their Sept. 10 clinch date is the earliest in AL West history dating back to 1969. The major league record, however, still belongs to the Yankees, who claimed the AL East title on Sept. 4, 1998, beating by five days the previous record held by the 1906 Cubs. Bob Klapisch is a sports columnist for The Record (N.J.) and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
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