I remember, not so long ago, ESPN broadcast baseball games all day on Labor Day. In fact, I remember watching the Cardinals/Astros game on Labor Day 1996, which was (a) a great game, (b) a game the Cardinals won, and (c) when I knew the Cardinals would win the NL Central that year.
Thanks to the first weekend of CollegeFootball now extending from Friday to Monday, as sponsors continue to grovel at the altar of Ba'al - WHOOPS, I mean The Almighty Dollar - there was no baseball on TV today locally. Except Padres/Giants. Whoopee.
So I'm limited to seeing the score crawl across the screen. 3-0 Cardinals doesn't tell one much, other than the Cards won. Then the line comes up - 'Carpenter - CG, H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K' - and I think, wow. That's fantastic, and will certainly help my UCB Fantasy League team in the playoffs (sorry Dan, it's not your year).
In an unrelated story, Carlos Pena breaking two fingers today pretty much ends my chances of winning my work rotisserie league. I was in second, and closing, going into today. CC Sabathia pitches for the team I'm chasing. Coincidence? I think not!
I read the game summary, and was floored. 99 pitches? Two balls hit OUT OF THE INFIELD the entire game against him? My gosh, that's incredible. Carpenter has thrown only one other 1-hitter, a memorable game against his original team, the Blue Jays. He had a certain motivation in that game - he was healthy, Toronto kinda gave up on him - and he dominated them. This game? Carpenter proved, again, how good he is this season.
I just wish I could have seen it.
And again, people who think Lincecum is a slam-dunk to win the Cy Young in 2009 aren't really paying attention. That's no disrespect to Tim Lincecum, but an acknowledgement of how good Chris Carpenter has been this year.
So, the Cards inch closer to their first playoff appearance since winning the whole thing 3 years ago. Let's go to the tote board:
Magic Number Watch:
Clinch Division: 14 (Cubs beat Pittsburgh 4-2)
- Milwaukee: 10
- Houston: 10 (Beat Philadelphia 4-3)
- Cincinnati: 7 (Lost to Colorado 4-3)
- Pittsburgh: ELIMINATED
I've adjusted my numbers from the last post due to a math error on my part. Based on these new numbers, the Cubs victory over Pittsburgh eliminates the Pirates from the divisional race. But, we have a nice parting gift: they're still alive for the Wild Card.
Smoltz vs Manny Parra tomorrow. Parra's pitched better against St Louis then he has vs the rest of the league, and the Brewers beat Smoltz in his last start.
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