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Well, at least the San Diego Padres can say they made it to the final weekend of the regular season before being eliminated. A chic pick to win the World Series, the Padres are 80-80 following a good September in which they flirted with contention for the last playoff spot in the National League. Changes are sure to be coming, just how extensive is unknown. There are still five playoff spots up for grabs and eight teams with a chance, although the odds are stacked against the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds in the NL, who each need to win their final two games and have the Miami Marlins lose their final two plus the suspended game (more on that later).
Mariners Keep It Interesting
Following a dramatic walk-off win that kept their season alive Thursday in the series opener against the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners had a fun Friday. Thanks to a grand slam by Thursday’s hero, J.P. Crawford, along with rookie Bryan Woo working into and out of trouble, the Mariners cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Rangers. The result kept the Mariners within one game of the Houston Astros for the final American League wild-card berth. The Astros beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 and now trail the AL West-leading Rangers by one game. Houston also trails the Toronto Blue Jays by one game after Toronto’s 11-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers, Astros, and Blue Jays can all wrap up a playoff berth Saturday, while the Mariners are hoping to sneak in with two more wins and at least one Astros loss.
HE. IS. THAT. DUDE. pic.twitter.com/kfiWirkrdI
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 30, 2023
Marlins Make More Magic
Hopefully, the Miami Marlins adopted the motto of “We’ll sleep when the postseason is over.” Following a late night in New York that concluded with the suspension of a game against the Mets in the ninth inning and a 2-1 lead, the Marlins overcame a 3-0 deficit with a four-run eighth inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3. The win gave the Marlins a 1½-game lead over the Cubs, who lost to the Brewers 4-3 in 10 innings, and the Reds, who crushed the St. Louis Cardinals 19-2, and reduced Miami’s magic number for clinching an NL wild-card berth to one. The D’backs, who lost to the Astros, are also on the verge of clinching an NL wild-card berth, with their magic number remaining at one. It remains to be seen whether the Marlins will have to go back to New York and complete the suspended game Monday. Will the game be restarted if it means only seeding is at stake for the Marlins and D’backs?
— MLB (@MLB) September 30, 2023
Giants Fire Kapler
Two years after leading the San Francisco Giants to a franchise-record 107-win season, Gabe Kapler is out as the team’s manager. Kapler was fired by Farhan Zaidi, the team’s president of baseball operations, before Friday’s game with one year left on his contract and the Giants with a 78-81 record, sitting in fourth place in the NL West 20 games behind the division champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants finished third in the NL West in 2022 at 81-81 and had an 8-16 run this month, taking them out of the NL wild-card chase after leading that race in August. It is the second time in four years Kapler has been fired, following two seasons (2018-19) and a 161-163 record with the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler was hired less than a month later by the Giants. Bench coach Kai Correa took over as interim manager for the final series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which made for a notable occurrence. Correa and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts became the first Asian managers or head coaches to square off in any of the four major sports.
Dodger Manager Dave Roberts and Giants’ interim skipper Kai Correa are the first managers/coaches of Asian descent to face each other in the Big 4 professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). pic.twitter.com/IVJVMtPLWJ
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 30, 2023
Witt Joins 30-30, 30-40 clubs
When he hit a two-run home run against the New York Yankees, shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. became the first Kansas City Royals player to join the 30-homer, 30-steals clubs. Of course, he also became the first in the 30-40 club, too, since he has 49 stolen bases. Only five players in MLB history have had 30-49 seasons. You know Witt will be going for that 50th bag in the last two games.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) September 30, 2023
Reds Promote Krall
Nick Krall, a longtime member of the Cincinnati Reds‘ organization and who has overseen the team’s resurgence, was promoted from general manager to president of baseball operations. Krall, in his 21st season with the Reds, has been GM since 2020 and engineered trades and made draft picks that have led to this year’s better-than-expected season. Also, assistant GM Brad Meador was bumped up to GM. While technically still alive for the final NL wild-card spot, the Reds guaranteed themselves a winning season with a 19-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, giving them an 82-78 record.
Female Ump Behind Plate For Triple-A Championship
Soon, there could be the first female umpire in MLB. That is because Jen Pawol, one of five female umpires in organized ball this season, was selected to be behind the plate and call balls and strikes in Saturday’s Triple-A championship game between the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles) and Oklahoma City Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers). Pawol, 46, is in her first season at Triple-A. None of the other four female umps are above Class A.
24 Minutes Trimmed Off Game Times
The biggest of the three notable rule changes for this season was the introduction of a pitch clock, which was implemented to reduce the length of time games are played. Consider that mission accomplished.
The average time of a nine-inning game is on track to finish at 2:40 in 2023, which would be a 30-minute decline since 2021 and 24 minutes shorter than 2022.
The 2:40 average time would mark MLB’s crispest time of game since 1985. pic.twitter.com/BtAzFMlVoN
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) September 29, 2023
Miggy Has Job After Retirement
In case you were wondering what Miguel Cabrera was going to do once his playing career with the Detroit Tigers ends Sunday, he already has lined up a new gig. Cabrera will be sticking around as a special assistant to Scott Harris, the Tigers’ president of baseball operations.
Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.
Following Sunday’s game, Miguel Cabrera's next chapter will be in Detroit as a Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations. pic.twitter.com/o0x6UquBZ5
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 29, 2023
Best Moments From Yesterday
Sunshine In The Rain
Sure, the Mets might have been pretty crappy on the field, but moments like these will go a long way to building fans for life.
POV: your favorite player surprises you with a signed baseball ? pic.twitter.com/sTCzwvZY03
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 29, 2023
Waino At The Bat
He pitched his final game last week, winning No. 200. But St. Louis Cardinals star Adam Wainwright still had one more thing to do before he retires — other than give a postgame concert, which he will do Saturday. He wanted one final at-bat. While he grounded out sharply to second, it was a cool moment.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 30, 2023
Home-state Kid Debuts For Brewers
There is a good chance Caleb Boushley is either sent down to the minors or designated for assignment Saturday as the Milwaukee Brewers do some juggling with their pitching staff so as not to let the Cubs see starters Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta before a potential rematch in the NL Wild Card Series, but what happened Friday at American Family Field will be etched forever in his memory. Boushley, who grew up in the tiny Wisconsin town of Hortonville and played at Division III school the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, was called up to the majors and wound up playing a key role in the Brewers’ 4-3 victory in 10 innings. Boushley blew the save when he yielded a solo home run to Ian Happ, but then got the victory in his debut when Carlos Santana walked off the Cubs in the 10th. One day with the team and he was a folk hero.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 30, 2023
What a moment. The entire Brewers team is standing in the dugout for Caleb Boushley’s on-field interview. And the entire town of Hortonville is right behind them after Boushley, a 29 year old rookie, gets the win with 2.1 innings in his MLB debut for his childhood fave team. pic.twitter.com/AOufVHCpvn
— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) September 30, 2023
Kodai Senga and Jeff McNeil playing Mario Kart on the Mets scoreboard ??
— MLB Life (@MLBLife) September 29, 2023
Ohtani Tops Jersey Sales
Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani leads MLB in a category that doesn’t rely on his immense talent. Ohtani’s jersey was the most purchased among all players. The MLB Players Association unveiled the top 10 and some of the names on that list might surprise you.
The 2023 Top 10 Most Popular Player Jerseys ?️ pic.twitter.com/M6gifa7nXV
— MLBPA (@MLBPA) September 29, 2023
Injuries and Other Moves
Right-handed starter Jon Gray (right forearm tightness) was placed on the 15-day injured list by the Rangers. Gray will not be eligible to return until the AL Championship Series if the Rangers advance that far.
Right-handed starter Julio Teheran was designated by assignment by the Brewers.
Right-hander Zach Davies, designated for assignment Wednesday by the Diamondbacks, was released by the team.
Articles You Should Read
Cy Yuk and Cy Young, LVP and MVP: Handing out MLB awards — Jayson Stark, The Athletic
Tales of Miggy Cabrera as told by friends and teammates — Jason Beck, MLB.com
Latin American players, musicians have a strong connection — Martin Gallegos, MLB.com
Baseball America names Minor League All-Star teams — Kyle Glaser, Baseball America
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