- Yankees 8-Rays 4; Pavano's stuff just ain't there:
It's strange because a pitcher who comes back from Tommy John surgery tends to throw harder than he did before, but that hasn't happened with Pavano. The only things I can surmise are that he's still building arm strength or there's something not right with him and he doesn't want to say. If this is what he's got to work with now, he's going to have trouble securing anything more next season other than a Mark Prior-type contract in which the team that signs him is going to bring Pavano to camp to see if he can give them anything. If he thinks a month of starts is going to guarantee him anything more than a short-term contract laden with incentives, he's in for a big surprise, but in looking at how he's pitching, it shouldn't be any surprise at all.
- Astros 4-Cubs 0; can the Astros pull this off?
The Brewers have ten games remaining with the Cubs and Phillies; the Phillies have those games with the Brewers, plus three with the Mets; and the Cardinals have ten with the Diamondbacks and Cubs. After all the ridicule the blazing hot Astros endured little more than a month ago for "needlessly" trading for veteran help, it's legitimately possible that they could still be alive for a playoff spot going into the last weekend with the Braves and no one other than the Astros thought that would be possible.
- Nationals 9-Phillies 7; Charlie Manuel's reliever-abuse is showing:
Eyre came over from the Cubs and, after being a lefty specialist used for one or two batters at a time for the last several years, has found himself pitching multiple innings to lefties and righties; he's pitched well, but how long before the wear and tear of this sudden change causes an injury, ineffectiveness or both? Manuel can argue that it's being done out of necessity, but he still hasn't shown any restraint in the use of his relievers from the time the season started until now and with the Phillies three games behind the Mets, they're not going to be able to give any of those pitchers any rest.
Just like last season in which the Phillies bullpen heroically and selflessly sacrificed their bodies for the good of the cause of their comeback, the pitchers aren't going to complain and say they're unable to pitch when the team needs them; but because the Phillies authored such a miraculous comeback over the Mets in 2007, it's forgotten how they flamed out in the playoffs and were swept away by the Rockies before they even knew what happened.
Part of the reason for that was because the comeback attempt was so intense on a night-by-night basis that the playoffs was almost a letdown after they finally caught and passed the Mets; the adrenaline that was carrying them petered out; the same thing is happening now and it's because of the way Charlie Manuel handles his bullpen that the Phillies are staggering toward the finish with 22 games left. They're running on fumes with no rest stop in sight and they're in big trouble because those pitchers can only reach back so far until there's nothing left to give, and what should frighten Phillies fans is that they may have reached that point.