And the season is over.
The 4-game series this week was between Rich and Mark. Both teams were already eliminated. In game 1, Mark was ahead 3-2 when Josh Donaldson crushed a Jake Odorizzi (8-17) fastball over the fence for the lead, and it was enough. Rich ended up winning, 5-3, behind Jack Flaherty (13-8). Ken Giles got his 13th save. Hyun-jin Ryu (11-10) pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings, giving up 3 hits, and Mitch Garver hit 2 homers (26) to beat Mark and Lance Lynn (11-11), 8-0, in game 2. Game 3 was more of the same, as David Price (8-10) combined with Francisco Liriano and Kenta Maeda to shut Mark out again, 7-0. Luis Castillo (13-12) took the loss. Rich then put up 8 runs in the 2nd inning of game 4, highlighted by a Carlos Correa 3-run shot (24). Mark clawed back, though, scoring 2 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, 2 in the 7th, and 4 in the 8th to tie it at 9 (Rich put up another run in the 6th), but after all that, Mike Trout clinched the sweep with a solo homer (41) in the top of the 9th. Ken Giles (3-2) got the win and Chris Bassitt (2-6) took the L.
Paul came into the week needing 2 wins to avoid losing 100 on the year. To do it, he was going to have to beat Phil, who came into the week in 2nd place in Division 1. Paul started off the week on the right foot, taking game 1, 5-1, on 7 strong innings by Anthony deSclafani (7-12). Homers by Starling Marte (17), Wilmer Flores (10), and Carlos Santana (26) helped to beat Clayton Kershaw (10-8). Phil’s only run came on a triple and error by Francisco Reyes, which allowed Hanser Alberto to come all the way around the bases. In game 2, Paul jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but as it has gone this year for Paul, Phil tied it up by the 3rd and scored two more runs in the 4th to take the lead. Paul was not to be denied, however, as Carlos Santana hit a grand slam in the 5th to give the lead, and eventually the game, to Paul. Yu Darvish (7-8) got roughed up a bit for the loss, while Joe Musgrove (5-10) got the win. Cam Bedrosian got his 4th save. Game 3 was another football special. Carlos Santana hit two more homers (29) and Paul put up 7 runs in the 4th inning, but it wasn’t enough. Phil scored 3 runs in each of the 3rd, 5th, and 6th, added a single run in the 4th, and 4 more in the 9th to take the game, 14-11. The winning hit in the 9th was a 3-run bomb by Yordano Alvarez (24). Felix Pena (1-0) got the win, while Junior Guerra (3-3) blew the save and took the loss. Now that his team had a taste for winning, Phil cruised to victory in game 4, 7-2. Jeff Samardzija (13-5) pitched 7 strong and Bob Woodruff (4-16) took the loss. Yordano Alvarez went deep again (25) for Phil. Game 5 was tied, 5-5, going into the bottom of the 8th, after Paul had taken an early lead and Phil had eventually tied it in the top of the 8th. In the bottom of the 8th, the first two batters struck out, but Carlos Santana walked. Jose Altuve singled Santana to third. Javier Baez was walked intentionally. Phil’s manager left Justin Verlander (17-6) in the game, and Austin Nola scorched a two run single through the left side of the infield. Scott Oberg came in an promptly uncorked a wild pitch to score Baez. Cam Bedrosian (2-5) pitched a scoreless 9th to win the series for Paul.
John was fairly comfortable in first place when he squared off against Tim. Game 1 was a pitcher’s duel between Lucas Giolito and Dustin German, and the score was tied after 9, 1-1. In the top of the 10th, Victor Reyes led off with a triple against Daniel Norris (0-1). James McCann doubled in Reyes, and later, Yoan Moncada hit a sacrifice fly to score McCann. The bullpen held and Willie Harris (8-2) got the win and Yoni Chirinos got his 1st save. John then proceeded to blow Tim’s doors off in game 2, 9-2. JD Martinez hit two homers and Walker Buehler (8-14) got the win. Big Maple (7-11) took the loss. Game 3 was another tight one. Tim took the lead, 2-0, on a 2-out single by Kolten Wong in the 3rd inning. Jorge Polanco hit a solo homer in the 8th (14), but Tim held on for the 2-1 win. Brad Keller (13-9) beat Noah Syndergaard (8-10), and Jared Hughes notched his 4th save. Game 4 featured a strong performance for John by Mike Soroka – 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 run. Rick Porcello matched Soroka – 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 run. In the top of the 9th, Jorge Soler led off with a double against Daniel Norris. Dee Gordon pinch ran for Soler. Ketel Marte grounded to third, and Hunter Dozier looked Gordon back to second before throwing out Marte. Josh Bell then struck out. Trevor Gott (1-0) relieved Norris, and was greeted by a single by Alex Gordon to break the tie. Nick Anderson came on for John to nail things down. He struck out pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt. Pinch hitter Kyle Schwarber singled. Pinch hitter Jean Segura then singled Schwarber to third. Bryan Reynolds struck out, bringing up Kolten Wong. Anderson (3-4) uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Schwarber and sending Segura to 2nd. Wong then singled in Segura for the ballgame. John had a few words with his team in the clubhouse after the game, and they responded in game 5. Anibal Sanchez (11-7) limited Tim to no runs, 2 hits, and 1 walk over 7 innings and Jorge Polanco had 3 hits to beat Sandy Alcantara (9-10), 2-0. Nick Anderson successfully saved his 7th game to give John the series win.
Coming into this last week, Robert and Chris were tied for first place in Division 2. Chris was home for 5 games against Dougald, who was trying to play the spoiler. In the first game, Madison Bumgarner (9-10) got rocked for 8 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, as Dougald won, 9-2. Kyle Hendricks (12-10) got the win and Tom Murphy hit two homers (17). In game 2, Dougald scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning on a Brett Gardner homer (15). Chris managed to tie it in the bottom of the 2nd on solo homers by Willson Contreras (25) and CJ Cron (7). Unfortunately for Chris, that was all the scoring he managed on the day. Mark Canha hit 2 homers (14) and Zack Greinke picked up his 15th win against 7 losses, as Dougald won, 6-2. Stephen Strasburg (11-14) took the loss. Cheering was heard in bars all over Robert’s city. In game 3, Chris mashed 7 runs in 3 innings and withstood 4 runs (on a Brandon Lowe grand slam, his 16th) in the top of the 9th by Dougald to win, 11-6. Craig Morton (14-4) over Shane Bieber (9-11). In game 4, Chris put up 2 runs in each of the 2nd (homer by Willson Contreras – 27th) and 3rd inning (back to back homers by George Springer – 40 – and CJ Cron – 9), but Dougald answered with 3 runs in the 4th on homers by Justin Turner (13) and Bryce Harper (26). The game stayed 4-3 until the bottom of the 6th, when Chris scored 3, highlighted by back to back homers by Xander Bogaerts (23) and David Dahl (19). Sonny Gray (19-8) held Dougald down through 8 with 10 strikeouts to win, 7-3. Matt Boyd (12-9) pitched 4 2/3 innings in the loss. Chris really wanted a win in game 5, and he started fast, with 2 runs in the first on a Jason Castro homer (4th). Dougald tied it in the 2nd with a Mike Yastrzemski long fly (10). In the bottom of the 3rd, Anthony Rendon led off and got hit by a Kyle Hendricks (12-11) pitch, injuring him for 3 games. David Fletcher pinch ran and then scored on a Xander Bogaerts homer (24). That was all the scoring Chris needed, as Madison Bumgarner (10-10) combined with the bullpen to hold Dougald scoreless the rest of the way. In the 8th inning, Jason Castro was hit by a Seth Lugo pitch and will miss 10 games. Shane Greene picked up his 8th save. The 3-2 series win leaves Chris at an overall record of 84-60.
Robert very much did not want to have a playoff game, and needed 4 wins at home against Bob to clinch the division. Game 1 was a barn burner. Bob scored single runs in the 2nd and 3rd on homers by Pete Alonso (40) and Anthony Rizzo (24), respectively. Robert tied it with 2 runs in the 4th, but Bob came right back and put up 4 runs in the top of the 5th on another homer by Rizzo (25) and a 3-run shot by Nick Castellanos (7). But Robert bounced right back in the bottom of the 5th – Omar Narvaez led off with a triple off of Aaron Nola (11-10). Ronald Acuna struck out. Jarrod Dyson singled in Narvaez. Eugenio Suarez walked. Miguel Sano struck out. Nelson Cruz then walked to load the bases. Bob left Nola in to face Joey Gallo, who made contact and ripped one into the right field stands for a grand slam (39), ending Nola’s day. Robert then added 3 more in the 7th on homers by Miguel Sano (25) and again by Gallo (40). In the top of the 8th, Nick Castellanos led off against Bob against Emilio Pagan (1-1) and singled to third, followed by a two base error by Suarez to put Castellanos at third. Pete Alonso walked. Giovanny Gallegos relieved Pagan to face Roberto Perez. Perez blasted a 3-run shot (his 13th) to make the score 10-9. But that’s where the score would remain as Robert took game 1. Gallegos earned his 4th save. In game 2, the things remained scoreless until the 4th, when Robert scored 5 runs off of Gerrit Cole (10-15) and another off of reliever Daniel Hudson. The scoring was highlighted by homers by Suarez (35) and Howie Kendrick (22). Jacob deGrom cruised to his 20th win, giving up just 3 hits and 2 runs and striking out 12 in a complete game as Robert won, 9-2. Game 3 was an all-timer. Robert scored 2 in the bottom of the first off of Masahiro Tanaka and Bob answered with a solo homer by Alonso (42) in the 2nd and back to back homers by Ozzie Albies (19) and Castellanos (8) in the 3rd. Bob tallied two more in the 4th on homers by Rizzo (26) and Kris Bryant (26). Bob then scored 2 MORE runs in the 7th on a Nick Ahmed homer (7). Robert’s team is nothing if not resilient, however. In the bottom of the 7th, old friend Nelson Cruz launched a 3-run shot to make the score 7-5. In the bottom of the 9th, Steve Cishek tried to nail down the game, but hit Miguel Sano to lead things off. Nelson Cruz then lined out, bringing up Joey Gallo. Gallo turned around a Cishek fastball and tied the game with his 41st homer. The score then remained tied until the 19th inning! In the bottom of the 19th, Adalberto Mondesi led off with a triple off of Mike Morin (0-2). Joey Gallo then hit a grounder to Ozzie Albies at 2nd. Mondesi thundered to the plate and Albies threw home to save the game…Mondesi was…OUT on a nice tag by JT Realmuto. Fernando Tatis then came to the plate with a syringe hanging out of his posterior and JACKED a homer to win the game, 9-7. Aaron Bummer (5-3) picked up the win. Robert’s team was gassed after that game, and Bob took care of business in game 4, scoring early and often to earn an 11-4 win for Jose Berrios (10-18). Corey Seager (15), JT Realmuto (14) and Jackie Bradley, Jr (13) homered for Bob as Marcus Stroman (12-15) took the loss. Game 5 was pivotal. A win would clinch the division for Robert, while a loss would force a one-game playoff with Chris. Bob got things rolling with 2 runs in the top of the first off of Mike Minor (13-10). In the bottom of the first, Aaron Nola (11-11) got Ronald Acuna to ground out. Jarrod Dyson singled. Eugenio Suarez singled, pushing Dyson to second. Miguel Sano then hit a 3-run homer (26). Nelson Cruz then homered (37). Joey Gallo struck out. Fernando Tatis walked. Yimi Garcia relieved Nola to face Howie Kendrick, who homered (23). Omar Narvaez homered (20). Acuna struck out to end the inning, but Robert put up 7 runs. It was all over at that point but the shouting. Sano hit another homer (27) and Gallo hit 2 more (43) as Robert rolled to a 14-5 victory and clinched the division by 1 game with the 4-1 week.
Phew. Exciting stuff.