At Bat: Mark Teixeira has become a bigger injury liability than Greg Oden. The New York Yankees first baseman will once again return to the bench after re-injuring his left calf. He first strained the left calf on Aug. 28, missing games till a return this past Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
The return was short lived as he immediately injured the same calf in his return by sliding into first to avoid a game-ending double play, but was called out. Replays later showed Teixeira was safe and had the right call been made the Yankees would’ve tied the game.
Instead, the headfirst slide will once again keep Teixeira off a baseball diamond for another 10 to 14 days. If everything heals properly, Teixeira could be back before the season finishes, giving him enough time to get back in playing form before the playoffs open up. But at this point, the Yankees are anything but a lock for the post-season.
New York only has a one game lead over the Orioles and just a two game lead over Tampa Bay. The Yankees have one more three game set with the Rays, but with the way both Baltimore and Tampa Bay are playing, New York could be in some big trouble.
Not only are they losing a great defensive and gold glove player in Teixeira, but not having him in their lineup as a switch hitter takes away a significant amount of fear opposing pitchers have when going up against this New York lineup.
Since Teixeira went down, the Yankees have gone 3-7—all against the Orioles and Rays. With the expansion of rosters teams are now able to stay with the Yankees late in games and with division rivals Toronto and Boston out of post-season play, they will definitely look to play spoilers.
There are still games to play, but not many folks and with the way New York is playing and pitching right now, I don’t see Yankee pinstripes in October. Tampa Bay will top both New York and Baltimore for the division with the latter taking one of the Wild Card spots.
On Deck: By the time this is posted, the series between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers will be half over. But, nevertheless, it begs a spot in this week’s edition as this is the final time the two teams atop the AL Central will meet; pending both make the playoffs.
These two teams have been in contention for the division crown since the first pitch of the MLB season was thrown. Yet, neither team has run away with it as many expected Detroit to do so after the All-Star break.
The White Sox can’t win in Detroit, as they’ve only been able to muster out one win in the nine played at Comerica Park. Meanwhile, anytime the White Sox basically hand over the division to the Tigers they don’t seem to want it. After the Tigers swept Chicago in Detroit over the Labor Day weekend, tying the Sox for first, the Tigers never grabbed the reigns and ran off with the division. Instead, for a week both teams would win or lose on the same day – expect the Monday after the sweep when the Sox reclaimed the lead – as neither team could get any kind separation or closure on the other.
Chicago finds themselves back just two games up after splitting the first two games of the series. A win the next two nights would bode will and give the Sox a great opportunity to capitalize on a division title since the Tigers all but refuse taking a lead whenever the Sox have given the chances all season long.
In the Hole: A scene in baseball that is disturbing for any fan is attendance, especially for those teams in their respective pennant race. There’s a lot of bashing and disrespect towards White Sox fans here at Midway Madness for the Sox empty seats, yet there are plenty more that are just as bad, if not worse than our fair-weathered fans here in Chicago.
The Orioles had great attendance in their last series, but that had a lot to do with the fact the Yankees were in town for a weekend set. But their last home series – against Chicago – Baltimore never filled the stadium more than 30% capacity.
Just like Baltimore, the Washington Nationals have a chance to make a rare playoff appearance, but also cannot fill the stadium daily. The greatest capacity the Nats had in their recent four-game sweep of the Cubs was 55%. It’s somewhat expected that a first-place team won’t draw much fans for a bottom of the barrel team like the Cubs, – and fans do show up when playoff contenders visit – but with both Baltimore and Washington not your regular October invitees, it makes no sense why these stadiums are not filled to standing room only every night.
However, the team with the most annoying fans lies in sunny Oakland, California. Not only do they have a team in serious contention of a post-season berth, but they also have some of the best baseball weather in the country. Almost every home game is sunny and comfortable, but not even a winning club can bring fans to the gates? Pathetic.
What makes this sadder than it should is a team like the Cubs – who haven’t won a World Series since 1908, a pennant since 1945 and currently on a seven-game post-season losing streak – draw more fans even when hosting inferior opponents. In a series against the Colorado Rockies their average attendance was at 80% capacity. A previous series with the Astros saw a capacity at just under 80%. These are the three worst teams in of all baseball, yet when they show up at Wrigley, the fans still come without any promotional ticket deal needed. Step up your game fans, especially you White Sox fans with Detroit in town.
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