Well, the regular season is over. Not too many people imagined the Rays winning 100 games and the division. Not bad for a transition year when your key starters from the previous season had been traded, sent off to free agency, or under the knife. We have a few days to enjoy watching other teams and fanbases sweat it out before the ALDS starts on Thursday.
Do you have friends who are fans of other teams but want to “adopt” a team for the postseason? Do they need to get caught up on key Rays bullet points? Well I’d send them this new Andrea Arcadipane video for a crash course:
This article from Deadspin doesn’t contain anything not already familiar to Ray fans; just more evidence that the wider baseball world is paying more attention.
From Marc Topkin, is this the best team in Rays history? ($)
Tyler Kepner of the NY Times looks at Rays hitting, with extensive comments from Chad Mottola and Brandon Lowe ($).
The Rays are getting us ready for the postseason. They are giving out yard signs and other postseason swag at several drive up locations, and there will be away game ALDS watch parties at the St. Pete Pier and the Tampa Theatre, two great locations. Details on their website.
Around the League
Someone in the MLB offices was on top of their game when they scheduled every Game 162 at the same time yesterday. With the National League West and the American League Wild Card still not decided, this generated a lot of excitement:
Of course we now know that at the end of the day, the standings didn’t change. The Giant hung on to win the National League West. Yankees and Red Sox both won to maintain their Wild Card slots. There will be no Game 163, let alone complex three-way tie-breakers.
Old friend alert. While 100 Rays wins has made it hard to be too angry at anything, I am still irritated that the Rays let Charlie Morton walk. Yeah their pitching has been fine but it would have even been better with Morton in the rotation:
At 37 years & 330 days old on Friday, Charlie Morton will be the 3rd-oldest pitcher in Braves' franchise history to start a postseason game, younger than only:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 2, 2021
1982 NLCS G2 Phil Niekro: 43 y, 191 d
2005 NLDS G2 John Smoltz: 38 y, 144 d https://t.co/kwAH3zY23H
I still can’t believe that Brewers reliever Devin Williams broke his hand punching a wall and will miss the postseason. Even more unbelievable is that he punched the wall after the division clinching celebration — a happy time.
This New York Times article features players who are taking action on a range of environmental issues, some through a group called “Players for the Planet.” It features Nelson Cruz as one of the players who has been involved in beach clean-ups in the Dominican Republic ($).
The Padres have dramatically underperformed expectations; here is a detailed look behind the scenes ($).
To plan your baseball watching week, here’s what we have to look forward to:
WILD CARD GAMES
Tuesday, Oct. 5
• Red Sox vs Yankees (ESPN, 8 p.m. air time, 8:08 p.m. ET first pitch)
Wednesday, Oct. 6
• Cardinals vs Dodgers (TBS, 8 p.m. air time, 8:10 p.m. ET first pitch)
Thursday, Oct. 7
• ALDS A, Game 1 (FS1 or MLBN)
• ALDS B, Game 1 (FS1 or MLBN)
Friday, Oct. 8
• ALDS A, Game 2 (FS1 or MLBN)
• ALDS B, Game 2 (FS1 or MLBN)
• NLDS A, Game 1 (TBS)
• NLDS B, Game 1 (TBS)