First of all, Orlando Hernandez threw an eephus pitch in Friday night’s Mets game, to the Braves’ large pinch hitter Daryle Ward. Result: biiiiiiig swing and a total miss, causing much amusement and reminiscing among the Mets announcers and making El Duque the official mascot of this website. Man, I hope he pulls that out in the playoffs.
The Twins pulled off an absolutely insane comeback to win the AL Central over the Tigers today, which is great news not only for anyone who loves a great sports story, but for the Yankees. Twins fans are going to be talking about this year until they’re drooling into their nursing home pillows, and a lot longer than that if you happen to believe in an afterlife. First of all, awesome, and second, I told you -- not about the Twins, though I was pulling for them, but about how you just can’t be too impressed by a team whose putative ace is Kenny Rogers. The Detroit GM could have asked any New Yorker over the age of, say, 17 about this, and saved himself a lot of trouble and money. And I know there’s no better way to make yourself look like an idiot than to try and predict a short playoff series… so I’m not going to start now, I guess… but, honestly, I will be flat-out stunned if the Tigers beat the Yankees. Anything can happen, sure, of course, but you’ll have to scrape my jaw off the floor with a spatula.
Beyond that, I have no clue, but I’ve got to say, The Twins are trailing acres of magic pixie dust right now. Brad Radke is a lunatic, but in a really impressive way: he pitched most of the year with a torn labrum (all you need to know is it’s in the shoulder, and it sounds painful) because he planned to retire at the end of the season; now he’s also pitching, and pitching pretty well, with a still-healing fractured shoulder. Meanwhile, Johan Santana hasn’t lost a game at home this year… at all. Which is one of those stats that normally would sound a lot more significant than it actually is, what with wins not being a very accurate means of evaluating a pitcher -- but in this case, he's just that good.
In the NL, I once again find myself struggling to stay awake every time the Padres are on my TV screen for more than 20 seconds or so. I don’t know what it is about that team, but I’ve always been utterly unable to care about them one way or the other, or even pay attention. The 1998 World Series was fun for me, but objectively, it was fairly boring baseball, because that Padres team was vastly, cosmically, overmatched. I do retain fond memories of David Wells (because really, if you can live that lifestyle, and still have an excellent career, and pitch a perfect game, you’re kind of my hero), but beyond that… I don’t know, am I missing something? Come to think of it, in my entire life I don’t think I’ve ever even met a Padres fan. The Dodgers are certainly a more interesting team, but if there’s any justice in this world the Mets will flatten them like pancakes, Pedro be damned. And finally, after the last few weeks, it’s hard to feel that the Cardinals actually deserve to be in the playoffs at all; but they do have Albert Pujols, and if anyone can win three games more or less single-handedly you’d have to assume it’s him.
As for the Yankees’ latest, and last, meaningless regular season game, it was great to see Bernie Williams get that two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth, pinch-hit double today (not to mention manage). Not only because you had to be happy for him, but because potentially, he could do some damage in that role in the playoffs. Bernie Williams may not be Bernie Williams anymore, but he’s still Bernie Williams, if you know what I mean.