Let’s give this daily column format thing a try

We’re on the next to last day of the regular season–unless something whacky happens and forces a one game playoff on Thursday evening. It would be cool, but I have a feeling everything gets sorted out between Atlanta/St. Louis and Boston/Tampa Bay.

  • Last night’s 5-2 win down in Tampa was a big one for the Rays. They’re now all squared up with the Boston Red Sox for the wild card spot with two games to go. I said at the beginning of the season that I didn’t see it as easily as just putting the Red Sox and Phillies in the World Series like all the ESPN and prognosticators did. I felt all along that one would make it, and one would not. At some points in this season, I felt it would be the Red Sox. Now it’s looking like the Phillies and the Red Sox will start winter early. This is what the season is all about. These two teams have battled for 161 games–and with two left the season will be decided. It is what keeps me checking baseball box scores on my phone even with Monday Night Football on. It’s where guys really earn their statistics. It’s where the drama of October really starts. It’s going to be a fun couple of days, and ultimately I feel that the Red Sox will somehow escape the fryer because so many outside of Boston would love to see the Rays do this thing.
  • Another point on the Rays: how many people thought their proverbial ‘window’ slammed shut for the most part after last season? That’s what makes this run so improbable. I thought they would need a year to reload the gun. When Evan Longoria got hurt I was even more certain of it. Longoria came back and earned a full season’s worth of stats in about 3/4 of a season’s games. He’s been good, don’t let the batting average fool you. Desmond Jennings arrived as a bonafide star. The Rays have some magic brewing down there in Tampa.
  • Another golden opportunity missed by the St. Louis Cardinals last night. And it might have been the death blow. Cliff Lee went out and got himself his 17th win of the year, 4-2 over the Braves in Atlanta. The Cardinals rallied to take a 4-4 game into the 10th inning against the Astros, only to lose the game in the bottom of the 10th inning on a single by Angel Sanchez (a .237 hitter) to lose 5-4 a 104 loss team. Who gave up the single? Former Astro Octavio Dotel. The Cardinals are out of gas. But I still think that Atlanta loses one of the next two and St. Louis wins both of their final to give us our one and only one game winner take all playoff on Thursday.
  • Ozzie Guillen traded to Marlins? In all my time watching baseball I had no idea that a manager could be dealt in a trade. I thought it was a joke or publicity stunt when I got an ESPN alert text on my phone. But it appears it’s very real. And how else would Guillen leave the White Sox than in controversy? Maybe it’s not much of a take but if he is headed to Miami, he’s moving into a brand new stadium and inheriting a good young roster with a star shortstop that needs rejuvenated. Also it’s no coincidence that yesterday Jack McKeon announced his retirement after this season. An interesting chain of events and the first move in the start of managerial musical chairs before the offseason even begins.

It’s going to be a whirlwind of a few days here for baseball fans. Keep it locked on your MLB At Bat app or however you follow the game for a few more evenings. The drama is what it’s all about this time of year and you’re going to to see some high drama. Anyone remember Neifi Perez’s homer that damned the Giants in 1998 at Coors Field? I do.