Plenty of question marks for potential playoff teams
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
By John Kruk, ESPN The MagazineWhich of the teams likely headed to the playoffs have the most to figure out in the next two weeks? All of them except the Boston Red Sox.
TOUCH 'EM ALLWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Home Run Tracker|
|Miguel Cabrera, DET||31||Masterson||Top 4: 0-1, 2 Outs. 1 on.|
|Cody Ross, FLA||24||Hamels||Bot 5: 1-1, 0 Outs. None on.|
|Carlos Guillen, DET||11||Gosling||Top 5: 1-0, 0 Outs. None on.|
|Carlos Guillen, DET||10||Masterson||Top 3: 0-0, 1 Out. 1 on.|
|Matt Wieters, BAL||8||Richmond||Top 5: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.|
ON DECK: THURSDAY'S BEST MATCHUPSRangers at A's, 3:35 p.m. ET Texas isn't going to make the playoffs. Still, Scott Feldman will continue his quest to 20 wins. Feldman (17-5) is 9-1 since the beginning of August. The 17-win total is second in the AL behind the Yankees' CC Sabathia. Tigers at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET The Tigers and Twins both held serve Wednesday, which means Justin Verlander takes the mound Thursday with Detroit still holding a 2½-game lead in the AL Central. Verlander has lost his past two decisions and has given up five runs in each of his past two outings. Padres at Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET The Rockies, who have spent much of the month keeping a close eye on the Giants, must now pay attention to the Braves, who trail by four games in the wild card. Jason Hammel has been hit hard in three starts against the Padres, posting a 7.30 ERA and .357 batting average against in those three outings. For the rest of Thursday's schedule, click here.
BBTN ON THE AIR: THURSDAY
|10 p.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Buster Olney, Fernando Vina, Orestes Destrade
|12 a.m. ET
|Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Fernando Vina, Orestes Destrade
BBTN MINUTE: BULLPENS CAUSE FOR CONCERN
WEDNESDAY'S BEST AND WORST
|• The Twins are trying to close on the Tigers, but Detroit keeps winning. Carlos Guillen had a big hand in the Tigers' 11-3 thrashing of the Indians, homering twice in a 3-for-4 night. He drove home four runs in the victory.||WORST|
|• Brad Lidge blew his majors-leading 11th save, coughing up a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth against the Marlins in the Phillies' 7-6 loss. Lidge, who did not blow a save all of last season -- including in the playoffs -- has an 0-8 record this year to go with his 11 blown saves.|
NUMBERS TO KNOWVicente Padilla struggled through the first four months of the season before the Rangers designated him for assignment on Aug. 8. Like Brad Penny and John Smoltz, a move to the National League has been a great remedy. In five starts for the Dodgers, Padilla is 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA; all three wins have been on the road, where he will attempt to defeat the Nationals on Thursday and keep the Dodgers on top in the race for home-field advantage in the NL. The key to Padilla's success with the Dodgers has been an improvement in his curveball. He's been throwing the pitch more frequently and recording strikes more than two-thirds of the time when he throws the curve. And when the opposing hitters make contact, they're reaching base less than half as often as they did when Padilla toed the rubber for the Rangers.
|Padilla's curveball (2009)|
|With Rangers||With Dodgers|
FANTASY: PREVIEW OF THURSDAY'S GAMES
AJ Mass examines the nine games on Thursday's slate.Mass ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Thursday. Daily Notes
HUNT FOR OCTOBERHere's the latest in the wild-card races:
|NL WILD CARD|