Thursday, September 18, 2014

CJ Wilson Blanks Mariners, Angels Clinch AL West; Charlie Blackmon, Justin Morneau Bury Dodgers in 16-2 Rout

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 17, 2014

American League

CJ Wilson
Struggling to keep pace with Oakland and Kansas City - the co-leaders in the wild card race - the Seattle Mariners managed just one hit off Angels' starter, CJ Wilson, and two relievers in a 5-0 Angels win that clinched the AL West division.

Wilson (13-9) worked over the Mariners' lineup for the first seven innings, allowing the one hit - a two-out single in the fifth by Justin Smoak - walking two and fanning seven.

Having thrown 95 pitches, Wilson turned the ball over to reliever Joe Smith for a perfect eighth inning. Huston Street closed out the game by getting the Mariners in order in the ninth, sparking a celebration over the West division title, the team's first since 2009, breaking a string of four years in which the Angels, longtime leaders in the division, did not make it to the post-season.

LA has a three-game edge over Baltimore for the best record in the AL, which, if they maintain it, would give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

In the wild card race, Kansas City won, 6-2, over the White Sox, while the Oakland A's fell to Texas, 6-1, creating a tie for the league's two wild card spots. Seattle is two games back and the only team with a realistic chance of catching either of the two current leaders. Cleveland is five games out; the Yankees and Blue jays are six games back. All of the teams still in contention have 11 games remaining on the regular season schedule.

The Royals are just 1/2 game behind the Tigers in the Central, so Detroit and the Royals could swap places any number of times during the rest of the season.

National League

Charlie Blackmon
Justin Morneau
Clinging to a slim lead in the division, the LA Dodgers' road to the NL West title hit something of a speed bump Wednesday in Denver, as the Colorado Rockies banged out 21 hits in a 16-2 win.

Leadoff hitter, Charlie Blackmon, went 5-for-5 (all singles), scored four times and drove in a pair of runs. First baseman, Justin Morneau, was 3-for-4, with a double, home run, single and a sac fly, driving in six runs.

On the season, Blackmon has 18 home runs and 70 RBI. Morneau has 16 dingers and 79 RBI.

The defeat was the second straight for the Dodgers, and cut their lead in the division to just two games over the Giants, who took a 4-2 win at Arizona.

It's too early to start looking at magic numbers for the Dodgers, as they could still be caught by the Giants and pushed into the wild card maze. The same is true for St. Louis, which holds a 2 1/2 game lead over the Pirates in the Central.

San Francisco holds a 2 1/2 game edge on the Pirates for the first wild card. Likewise, Pittsburgh leads Milwaukee by 2 1/2 games for the second, and final, wild card spot.

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