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  1. State of the Races

    Sep 26, 2011, 9:17 AM EST

    Photo finish

    This is pretty much all you need to know: Boston:  89-70 Tampa Bay: 88-71 Atlanta: 89-70 St. Louis: 88-71 Such wonderful symmetry, both in record and in dynamic. A faltering would-be giant above the guys everyone wrote off in August. A three-game sprint to Wednesday evening or — if things break just right — one-game…

  2. HBT Weekend Wrap

    Sep 26, 2011, 8:50 AM EST

    brad pitt moneyball getty

    The last weekend of the regular season brought us all kinds of interestingness: Walt Jocketty got a new deal from the Reds. Denard Span‘s fine in the kangaroo court may be five or six figures. You just don’t do that to a teammate, dude. Baseball wants the Dodgers sold. And if McCourt doesn’t do it,…

  3. John Lackey rips media in clubhouse after the game over a text message involving “personal stuff”

    Sep 26, 2011, 8:08 AM EST

    Lacky phone.bmp

    You might have figured that John Lackey, having actually pitched deep into a ballgame last night — a game the Sox ended up winning — would have been happy about it.  But happy he wasn’t, as was clear from the bizarre scene at his locker. After being asked about his rocky first inning — which…

  4. Jacoby Ellsbury saves Boston’s bacon with 14th-inning homer

    Sep 25, 2011, 11:52 PM EST

    Jacoby Ellsbury, Marco Scutaro

    This story could have been about Terry Francona dropping the ball.  Fortunately for the Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury was there to bail out his manager, with plenty of help from Boston’s bullpen. Ellsbury, who hit his 29th and 30th homers in a 6-2 loss in the first game Sunday, delivered a three-run bomb off Scott…

  5. Clayton Kershaw will earn the pitching Triple Crown

    Sep 25, 2011, 7:38 PM EST

    Clayton Kershaw

    The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw furthered his Cy Young case on Sunday by allowing two runs over 7 1/3 innings and beating the Padres in his final start of the year. Kershaw tied Ian Kennedy, who made his last start Saturday, for the NL lead with 21 wins. Justin Verlander has 24 wins in the AL,…

  6. Brian Matusz breaks Roy Halladay’s major league record

    Sep 25, 2011, 6:06 PM EST

    Brian Matusz

    But Brian Matusz is having an awful season.  How could he break a Roy Halladay record? Well, that’s because Roy Halladay once had a pretty terrible season himself. Starting against the Tigers, Matusz gave up six runs in five innings on Sunday, just slightly increasing his ERA from 10.68 to 10.69.  It’s the worst ERA…

  7. Cardinals gain a game on punchless Braves

    Sep 25, 2011, 5:39 PM EST

    Rafael Furcal, Albert Pujols

    The Braves were shutout by the Nationals in losing Sunday for the 10th time in their last 15 games, allowing the Cardinals to make up ground and climb to within one game in the wild card chase. Atlanta lost this one 3-0 after dropping Saturday’s game 4-1.  Ross Detwiler tossed six scoreless innings and combined with…

  8. Jacoby Ellsbury becomes Red Sox’s first 30/30 man

    Sep 25, 2011, 5:27 PM EST

    Jacoby Ellsbury

    The Red Sox may have collapsed, but their MVP certainly isn’t to blame. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a pair of solo homers Sunday off the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett to become the first member of the 30 HR/30 SB club in Red Sox history. It’s the 57th 30/30 season in major league history.  Matt Kemp and Ryan…

  9. Jim Thome plays third base for first time since 1996

    Sep 25, 2011, 5:19 PM EST

    Jim Thome

    For one pitch anyway. Jim Thome, perhaps appearing in his final game in Cleveland for the Indians, took to his old position for one pitch in the ninth inning Sunday, playing third base for the first time since Sept. 29, 1996. Thome had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.  He left to…

  10. Red Sox fall, Rays climb to within a half-game

    Sep 25, 2011, 5:12 PM EST

    A.J. Burnett

    The Red Sox dropped yet another game in the first of two against the Yankees on Sunday, falling 6-2 despite a pair of homers from Jacoby Ellsbury.  Meanwhile, the Rays beat the Blue Jays 5-2 and are now just a half-game out in the wild card chase. If the Red Sox falter again tonight, they’ll…

  11. Colby Rasmus: “I still got a lot of stuff going on through my head from being in St. Louis”

    Sep 25, 2011, 4:53 PM EST

    rasmus jays reuters

    The eight-player trade that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto back in late July was supposed to have a liberating effect for the young center fielder. His relationship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had reached a tipping point, and most assumed that the 25-year-old would begin to flourish in a new, less mentally-taxing environment. So…

  12. Carlos Gonzalez unlikely to play again this season

    Sep 25, 2011, 3:16 PM EST

    cargo getty

    From Troy Renck of the Denver Post comes word that Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is unlikely to return to the playing field this season. CarGo is still battling soreness in his banged-up right wrist and had a wisdom tooth extracted last week. He could probably push through the discomfort and function as a pinch-hitter or…

  13. Clay Buchholz could return to the Red Sox on Wednesday

    Sep 25, 2011, 2:32 PM EST

    clay buchholz ap

    It appears Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz will indeed return to the major leagues before the end of the regular season. Just before. According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Buchholz is scheduled to pitch an inning Monday in the Red Sox’ fall instructional league down in Fort Myers, Florida. If the appearance goes…

  14. Tweet of the Day: Brad Pitt, sabermetrics’ biggest beneficiary

    Sep 25, 2011, 1:29 PM EST

    brad pitt moneyball getty

    “Moneyball” opened in theaters nationwide on Friday and brought in $6.8 million within 24 hours. It’s on pace to gross more than $20 million by the end of the day Sunday, the highest total ever for the opening weekend of a baseball-related drama. Not that any of this was unexpected. Take a best-selling book, make…

  15. Mets likely to tender a contract to starter Mike Pelfrey

    Sep 25, 2011, 12:10 PM EST

    pelfrey getty

    Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey has registered an underwhelming 4.58 ERA and 1.44 WHIP across 190 2/3 innings this season, failing in many ways to build on his breakout 2010 campaign. But the arbitration-eligible starter is likely to be back in New York’s rotation next year anyway. According to beat writer Andy McCullough of the Newark…

  16. Cardinals’ offer to Albert Pujols likely to remain in the range of $22 million per year

    Sep 25, 2011, 11:35 AM EST

    Albert Pujols

    The Cardinals tried to lock up first baseman Albert Pujols last offseason with a nine-year offer worth between $22 million and $22.5 million annually. Since the day that proposal was rejected by Pujols and his agent Dan Lozano, talks have not restarted. But they will in early November, when baseball’s best hitter will be just…

  17. Joakim Soria done for season due to hamstring strain

    Sep 25, 2011, 10:23 AM EST

    soria wide getty

    From Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star comes word that Royals closer Joakim Soria is unlikely to pitch in the final four games of the season due to a hamstring strain that he suffered last weekend. Soria was able to play catch on flat ground Friday without feeling discomfort, but the Royals’ medical staff…

  18. Bud Selig threatens to terminate Dodgers from MLB if Frank McCourt does not sell

    Sep 25, 2011, 9:18 AM EST

    mccourt reuters

    The only thing that can save current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a high-dollar and stable new television contract — one that will bring financial security to a club buried in bankruptcy court. Well aware of that fact and still craving an ownership change, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has made his most aggressive…

  19. Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

    Sep 25, 2011, 8:22 AM EST

    damon ap

    Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon went 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI in a 6-2 defeat of the Blue Jays on Saturday evening in Tampa Bay. A few hours earlier, up north at Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Bombers put a 9-1 hurting on a Red Sox team that has now played 5-17 ball…

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