Monday, October 5, 2009
Twins- Tigers in One-Game Playoff Tuesday; A-Rod Sets Records; Fielder Delivers on Final Day
Players of the Day for Sunday, October 4, 2009 American League The Tigers and Twins both won their final games of the season (Tigers 5 White Sox 3; Twins 13 Royals 4), setting up a one-game playoff for the AL Central and advancement into the playoffs. The game will be played on Tuesday, October 6, at the Metrodome. If the Twins lose, it would be the final game ever to be played there. A win assures that the Twins would play at least one game against the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Whichever team wins on Tuesday, they will play the first two games of the playoffs at Yankee Stadium, where Alex Rodriguez went off the charts in the final regular season game on Sunday. Amazingly, A-Rod did all of his damage in one eventful, record-setting inning. Trailing the Rays, 2-0, in the 6th, the Yankees had two men aboard when Rodriguez stepped into the batter's box. From there, he launched a drive to deep left-center for his 29th home run and a 3-2 Yankee lead, but the best was yet to come. The Yankees 3 more runs in the inning before A-Rod came back to the plate, this time with the bases loaded. Needing 4 RBI and a home run to reach 100 RBI and 30 homers for the 13th time and 12th consecutive year, he blasted one to right center, his 18th career grand slam, setting an American League record for RBI in an inning, topping the old mark of six, which was held by 12 different players. The Yankees won the game, 10-2, completing the season with the best record in the majors, at 103-59. With the Yankees heading to the playoffs again, Rodriguez must be given strong consideration for the MVP award. His 30 homers and 100 RBI were accomplished in less than a full season, as A-Rod missed all of April and the first week of May while recovering from hip surgery. The Yankees were 13-16 when Rodriguez re-joined the team on May 8. From that point on, the Yankees' record was 90-43, so the impact of having the 12 time all star and 3 time MVP in the lineup was obvious. National League Prince Fielder did all he could on the final day of the season to catch Albert Pujols in the home run race and Ryan Howard in the run for RBI. Since the Brewers aren't going to the post-season, Fielder tried his best to make an impact, going 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and 3 RBI in Milwaukee's 9-7 win over St. Louis. The two bombs weren't enough to catch Pujols, who went 1-for-5 and finished the season with 47 homers, tops in either league. Fielder did grab second place, however, with 46 (Howard has 45). The three RBI tied him with Ryan Howard at 141. Pujols was third, at 135. With the effort, Fielder has to be considered a strong candidate for MVP, though with both Pujols and Howard helping their teams into the playoffs, it's unlikely that the award would go to anybody other than those two.