You may have noticed--or maybe not--that there has been no talk of magic numbers here at SBW. We don't like to buy into that chatter with more than two weeks left in the season, unless a team is so far ahead , they can clinch earlier... and that definitely isn't the case with either of our teams this year, who both could very well end up need to win games during the last weekend of the season to determine postseason positions.
Case in point: The Cubs blew another game, this one in a most Cub-like fashion, 4-3. The key play was a tailor-made double play ball in the bottom of the 9th that took a bad hop on Cedeno at short and allowed the Reds to tie a game the Cubs had led 3-1 when the inning started. Shortly after that, Woody gave up a run-scoring single to end it.
Cedeno's got as good a glove as anyone--it's his hitting that makes me nervous, though the Cubs were only ahead in this one because of his 2-run double earlier. Bad bounces are bad bounces, and that's what this was. Blame Woody for this loss, with an assist from Jim Edmonds, whose 9th inning error put one of the runs in scoring position. That's 7 losses in the last 8 games, though I know no one needs to be reminded. Piniella didn't talk to reporters after this one, though I'm not sure how that helps or hinders anything. The Cubs players still insist they are a great team having a bad run. OK, we believe you. Now, let's get back to winning.
Unbelievably, the Cubs are stil 4 games up in 1st place, as the Beermakers lost to the Lowly Padres. The Cubs are still have a very good chance to make the postseason one way or another, but what kind of psychological state will they be in when they get there?
The Sox came very close to sweeping the Angels, but lost 3-2 on a strange play in the 8th. The Angels had the bases loaded with one out, and JeDye made a good catch of a tough fly ball, but was unable to nail the runner tagging from 3rd base. The strange part is that the ball was in foul territory, and JeDye could have let it drop harmlessly, and let pitcher Ehren Wasserman continue to take his chances against Garret Anderson, who is slow and a great double play candidate, but also is traditionally a great RBI man (Let us not forget his surprise HR Derby win during the 2003 MLB All-Star gala at The Cell.)
JeDye's move is getting some heavy media analysis today. I think for his great offensive contributions and sometime sterling defensive play, he occasionally under-plays balls hit into his range, and also occasionally has what you might call brain-farts in the field. Still, I don't think this was a brain-fart. I think with the Sox having a strong bullpen and two more at-bats left in this game, JeDye absolutely made the right decision. The Sox just couldn't stage a comeback this time around. In any case, the Piranhas lost again (!). The Sox are looking good, and the Piranhas are looking like the plain old Minnesota Twins.