Frantic FinalesWednesday, October 03, 2012
More than 2,400 major league games have been completed, and yet a few races still carry great intrigue here on the final day of the 2012 regular season.
The National League is all set, with the Reds, Giants and Nationals having already captured division crowns and the Braves locking up the NL’s first Wild Card spot last week. The Dodgers lost on Tuesday night to the Giants, handing the second Wild Card spot over to the Cardinals.
But there’s chaos over in the American League.
The A’s have earned victories in the first two games of their season-ending series against the Rangers, pulling into a tie with Texas atop the AL West. And the Yankees hold only a one-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East after both teams won on Tuesday. The losers of those two races will meet Friday in the one-game Wild Card playoff. The winners advance straight to the divisional round.
Wednesday should be an absolute blast.
Dickey Pitched Injured, Needs Surgery
You wouldn’t know it by his consistently outstanding pitching lines, but Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey revealed Tuesday night that he pitched with a torn right abdominal muscle for basically the entire 2012 season and will undergo surgery on October 18 to have it repaired.
"I was on my knees about it many times, hoping that it wasn't going to get more significant than it was," Dickey told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. "My wife and I prayed quite frequently together about that because I was in the middle of a good season."
The 37-year-old knuckleballer wound up posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 34 appearances (33 starts) this season, fanning 230 batters and walking just 54 in 233 2/3 innings. One of the best stories in all of sports, he’s a strong candidate for Cy Young Award honors in the National League and should be drafted with confidence in the early rounds of fantasy drafts next spring. The abdominal surgery won’t require more than a couple months of rest and rehab.
Updating Miggy’s Triple Crown Case
Another thing to watch on Wednesday -- beyond the playoff races -- is Miguel Cabrera’s ongoing quest for baseball’s first Triple Crown since 1967.
The Tigers slugger went 2-for-3 with two RBI on Tuesday night against the Royals, lifting his batting average to .331 and his RBI total to 139. He has 44 home runs.
The Angels’ Mike Trout is second in batting average at .325.
The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton is second in RBI at 127 and second in homers with 43.
National League Quick Hits: The out-of-contention Brewers will start Josh Stinson over Yovani Gallardo on Wednesday against the Padres … Mat Latos limited the Cardinals to one run over five innings Tuesday in a Reds victory … Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes had three hits and stole a base in Tuesday’s win over the Mets … Adam LaRoche cranked his 33rd home run of the season Tuesday in the Nationals’ defeat of the Phillies … Phillies rookie Darin Ruf is batting .355 with a 1.138 OPS and three home runs through his first 11 major league games … Starling Marte had three hits and stole a base in Tuesday’s win over the Braves … Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is unlikely to play in Wednesday’s season-finale after aggravating his injured groin on Tuesday night … Kevin Correia registered five quality starts in his final six outings for the Pirates … Johnny Cueto has been named the Reds’ NLDS Game 1 starter … Tom Koehler will start for the Marlins in Wednesday’s season-finale against the Mets … Braves righty Ben Sheets informed reporters Tuesday that he plans to retire after this season ... The Nationals have tabbed Gio Gonzalez as their starter for Game 1 of the NLDS … Adam Greenberg struck out on three straight pitches Tuesday in his first official major league at-bat … Lance Berkman’s surgically-repaired knee did not respond well to a recent batting practice session … Marlins youngster Jacob Turner posted a 2.27 ERA over his final five starts this season … Jimmy Rollins (calf) will sit out Wednesday’s season-finale … The Reds will move speedy prospect Billy Hamilton from shortstop to center field next season … Henry Rodriguez (elbow) hopes to begin a throwing program in November.
American League Quick Hits: Rays right-hander James Shields struck out a franchise-high 15 batters Tuesday night against the Orioles but got no run support and was stuck with a hard-luck loss … Royals closer Greg Holland collected his 16th save of the season in Tuesday night’s defeat of the Tigers … Terry Francona is currently considered the frontrunner for the Indians’ managerial opening … Orioles slugger Chris Davis has homered in six straight games … White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy struck out eight Indians in his final start of the year on Tuesday … Dayan Viciedo smashed his 24th home run of 2012 in Tuesday’s loss to the Indians … Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez finished his regular season with four straight quality starts … Will Middlebrooks (wrist) took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list in late August … The Royals are expected to decline Joakim Soria’s $8 million option for the 2013 season but will work to re-sign him … Alex Rios will not play in Wednesday’s season-finale … Mike Moustakas (groin) and Eric Hosmer (shoulder) have been shut down … Rangers setup man Mike Adams won’t be available for the first round of the playoffs due to ongoing complications with his thoracic outlet syndrome … Max Scherzer twisted his right ankle during the Tigers’ on-field celebration Monday but should be fine for the playoffs … White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is scheduled to undergo hand surgery on Thursday … Edwin Encarnacion is doubtful for the Blue Jays’ season-finale on Wednesday because of a trapezius muscle strain … Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos needs Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.