Regular season not quite over yet for White Sox, Tigers
The Season That Wouldn't End just keeps on chugging -- finish line or no finish line, final day of the schedule or no final day.Four teams went down to what they thought was the last day of that schedule Sunday, their playoff fates hanging in the September air. Somehow, it seems only fitting that by the time the day was through, two of those teams still hadn't determined their fate. We'll get to the Brewers and Mets later in Pennant Pulse. But first, here's everything you need to know about the White Sox, the Twins and an AL Central race that wasn't even over when it was over: • Remember when we thought that Hurricane Ike was going to wreak havoc on the Cubs' day-after-the-regular-season plans? Turns out we were worried about the wrong Chicago team. It was the "remnants" of Ike, as Al Roker likes to say, that caused the washout of a Tigers-White Sox game two weeks ago. Now, that game has turned into the Biggest Game of the Year for the White Sox -- because it will be made up Monday in Chicago (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN360.com).
Oh Say Can You CCJust when you thought the legend of CC Sabathia couldn't possibly grow any larger, he finds another layer of the stratosphere to ascend to.
• He's only the sixth pitcher in the past 10 seasons to make at least three starts in a row on short rest. The others, according to Elias: Esteban Loaiza in 2003, Danny Graves in 2003, Bobby Jones in 1999, Pedro Astacio in 1999 and Darryl Kile in 1999.
• And CC isn't done. Asked Sunday if he could come back for a FOURTH straight start on three days' rest on Thursday, in Game 2 of the NLDS in Philadelphia, he replied: "No doubt." So in case you're wondering -- and who wouldn't be? -- the last pitcher to make four starts in a row on short rest was Graves, for Jack McKeon's 2003 Reds.
• That lack of rest is really bothering this man, too, isn't it? Sabathia's ERA over those three starts is 0.83. "What he's done is, he's gone to his changeup more [in these starts]," said one scout. "And he's been really effective with it from both sides of the plate."
• Since Aug. 31, the Brewers are 5-2 when Sabathia starts -- and 6-14 when anybody else starts.
MORE PENNANT PULSATIONSMemo to the Brewers, Twins and White Sox: Milwaukee became the 15th team in the wild-card era to be forced to go down to the final day of the season to clinch a playoff spot, and either the Twins or White Sox will become the 16th. So is that a disadvantage? The jury is out. The 14 previous teams that qualified on the final day then played a combined 24 postseason series -- and went 11-13 in those series. Seven lost in the first round. Four got bounced in the LCS. Two lost in the World Series (2007 Rockies and 2005 Astros). And only one of them won the World Series -- the 2006 Cardinals.
• A couple of the Mets' claims to infamy: They're the first team in history to blow leads of 3½ games or more with 17 games to play in back-to-back seasons. And Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci reported during the TBS telecast that the Mets are also the first team to get eliminated on their home field on the last day of the season two years in a row. Ouch.
• A moment of silence for the Mets bullpen. Over those final 17 games, that 'pen had a 6.56 ERA and allowed eight homers in 46 2/3 innings -- including those deadly back-to-backers Sunday to Wes Helms and Dan Uggla. Not counting Johan Santana's complete game Saturday, manager Jerry Manuel used an average of 4.4 relievers per game during that stretch and used six or more relievers in seven of 16 games.
• In their final 15 games, the Mets went 3-0 in Santana's starts -- and 3-9 when anybody else started.
• The last time, before Sunday, that the Twins threw a shutout in their final game of the season: 1992, also against the Royals, in a game started by Mike Trombley and finished by Rick Aguilera. But this note might not last long: If the White Sox win Monday, Scott Baker's gem WON'T be the Twins' final game of this season anymore.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His book, "The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy.
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PENNANT PULSE 2008
Every day until the end of the regular season, an ESPN.com writer will write about a hot topic related to the pennant races.
• Sept. 28: Rogers: White Sox turn to Buehrle
• Sept. 27: Nelson: Mets on the brink
• Sept. 26: Crasnick: Wet, wild final weekend
• Sept. 25: Neyer: Twins in position in AL Central
• Sept. 24: Crasnick: Spoilers await contenders
• Sept. 23: Keri: Don't count out Diamondbacks
• Sept. 22: Stark: Good (and bad) relief in NL East
• Sept. 21: Shea: Cubs, Rays make it official
• Sept. 20: Nelson: It's Rays' day
• Sept. 19: Crasnick: Phils' time of year
• Sept. 18: Neyer: Three teams, two spots
• Sept. 17: Keri: Twins slipping up at wrong time
• Sept. 16: Klapisch: Mets repeating '07
• Sept. 15: Crasnick: Rays great at home
• Sept. 14: Stone: Watch Angels' bullpen
• Sept. 13: Nelson: Let's play two!
• Sept. 12: Stark: Brewers going flat
• Sept. 11: Klapisch: Astros hand ball to Oswalt
• Sept. 10: Rogers: Not '69 again for Cubs
• Sept. 9: Neyer: No sure thing from NL closers
• Sept. 8: Keri: Red Sox charging to top
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