Entering Wednesday, the NL wild-card situation was almost as confusing as advanced physics, full of crazy-sounding but totally realistic possibilities. Five teams were fighting for two spots, and three (3!) tiebreaker games were possible.
Wednesday’s results somewhat clarified the situation:
— The Cubs and Brewers both won and clinched playoff spots.
— The Rockies helped their chances with a 14-0 blowout against the Phillies
— The Dodgers fell one game behind the Rockies in the NL West with a 7-2 loss to the Diamondbacks.
— And the Cardinals’ postseason odds really fell with their 2-1 loss to Milwaukee.
Events unfolded in bizarre fashion. The Brewers’ victory, keyed by a solid Jhoulys Chacín start (one earned run in five innings) and two Travis Shaw RBIs, clinched both Milwaukee and Chicago playoff spots.
Meanwhile, the Cubs blew a five-run lead against the Pirates before winning 7-6 in 10 innings.
In Denver, German Marquez made history by striking out the first eight batters he faced (see below) and the Rockies had 16 hits and four homers in their blowout win.
So the NL playoff/wild-card race has been reduced to this: If the Cardinals finish with a better record than the second-place finisher in the NL West, either the Rockies or Dodgers, they’ll be a wild-card team. If not, either Colorado or LA will be the wild-card.
Yet Wednesday just slightly simplified the wild-card situation. The Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers and Rockies are still vying for division titles. Yes, it will be an interesting weekend.
Studs of the Night
Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers cracked a pair of home runs and had four hits and six RBIs in a 19-3 rout over the Orioles.
Nationals center fielder Victor Robles had four hits, including a homer, and five RBIs, plus a stolen base, against the Marlins. According to Stats.com , the 21-year-old rising star is the youngest player ever to do all that in one game, surpassing Jimmie Foxx, who was a couple of months older when he did it in 1929.
Duds of the Night
Orioles starter Ryan Meisinger gave up five earned runs and recorded only one out against the Red Sox.
Marlins reliever Brett Graves gave up four earned runs on four hits and a walk in one inning of work against the Nationals.
Rockies starter German Marquez struck out the first eight batters against the Phillies to tie an MLB record in the modern era (since 1900). He finished with 11 strikeouts, and pitched seven scoreless innings in Colorado’s win.
8 straight Ks to start the game?
Sheesh, @germanmarquez5. https://t.co/6Dw3Kbamaf pic.twitter.com/e48C6otUm2
— MLB (@MLB) September 27, 2018
Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil lays out to rob Ender Inciarte of a hit.
We have no words to describe this. Just enjoy. #RealDeal pic.twitter.com/hSVAaNXIex
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 27, 2018
Phillies (78-79) at Rockies (87-70), 3:10 p.m. ET — Every game is a must-win for the Rockies as they battle the Dodgers for the NL West crown. They face struggling Phillies starter Jake Arrieta, who has given up four or more earned runs in six of his last eight starts.