There is an absolute crapload of sports to review from the past weekend, so I’m going to split it up into three sections: baseball, football, and “other” sports. Sorry Capitals and D.C. United.
Here’s your baseball fix for the last weekend of the season. I’ll come back with Nationals and Orioles season reviews sometime (probably not today, because I feel no need to post five times in one day).
News now, recaps later.
The Orioles and Nationals both finished their seasons with sweeps, but the O’s were doing the sweeping and the Nats were getting swept. The Nats finished the season even at 81-81, while the O’s finished at 74-88. Coincidentally, the most the Orioles were over .500 at any point in the season was 14 games, and then they tanked and finished 14 games under .500. Terrible.
Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies kept his hitting streak alive, so we’ll have to wait until next year to see him put his 36-game streak on the line. The streak is the ninth longest hitting streak in Major League Baseball history, and it’s the longest since Paul Molitor got to 39 in 1987.
Also, the Padres managed to finish 82-80 and avoid falling bass-ackwards into the playoffs.
The playoff match-ups are set, with the American League pitting the White Sox against the Red Sox and the Angels against the Yankees. In the National League, it’s the Cardinals against the Padres and the Braves against the Astros. The games begin tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon and will air on Fox and ESPN.
And in funny news, the Yankees are mad at their former manager (and current Rangers manager) Buck Showalter for pulling his top players when Texas was beating the Angels, 4-1, in the third inning. The Angels went on to win, 7-4, and it cost the Yankees home field advantage in the division series. Way to go, Buck! Read all about it.
The Nationals were swept at home in three games by the Phillies, losing 4-3, 8-4 and 9-3. While the Phillies clung to playoff hopes until just a few minutes after their regular season ended, an Astros win over the Cubs ended that.
There’s not a whole lot to say about the series, really.
Hector “Wildness” Carrasco took the loss in the last game to fall to 5-4 and bump his ERA over two, Cristian Guzman somehow ended with a .219 batting average after hovering below .200 for most of the year, and 32-year-old Rick Short finished his debut season in the Majors with a .400 average (6-for-15) and a 1.404 OPS. Can he please have a full season in the Majors now? Anyone?
By the way, 81-81 was good enough for dead last in the National League East, if anyone’s counting. While the record is a success for a team that was, well, the Expos for the previous 35 years, it sucks that they could only muster the place in the standings befitting of the Expos.
The Orioles swept the Devil Rays in Tampa Bay, 7-6, 4-3 and 6-2, and the Orioles kept from having their fourth 90-loss season in five years. I guess that’s something to be proud of.
Unfortunately, Miguel Tejada couldn’t get the last two RBIs he needed to get to 100, so his streak of five straight 100-plus RBI seasons has ended.
Jay Gibbons and Melvin Mora both finished on high notes, though, with Gibbons hitting his 26th homer of the year on Sunday and Mora hitting his 27th. Gibbons finished the year with an .833 OPS, which should be good enough to earn him a permanent spot in the Orioles 2006 outfield.
Bruce Chen, who was arguably the best pitcher on the O’s staff this season, finished out 2005 with his 13th win. He was 13-10 on the year with a 3.83 ERA.
Chris Ray, who may take over the closer job if B.J. Ryan bolts (and Ryan’s been very open about his desires to play home games at a place like Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium, even if it means becoming a setup man), pitched a third of an inning to finish his solid rookie season with a 2.66 ERA.
Tonight’s match-up is no one against no one, at nowhere. Turn out the lights when you leave.