By Sam McPherson
The Major League Baseball postseason chase is officially on for 18 teams, while at least 12 teams are looking towards 2017 already. Here are the highlights from last week’s game action!
Ichiro Suzuki becomes 30th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits, thanks to Coors Field triple
There’s really no way to qualify or quantify just how good Suzuki has been since he came to the United States in 2001 to swing his bat for the Seattle Mariners. He will be 43 years old in October, but Suzuki still can hit as he showed the world on Sunday in Denver at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies.
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With a .314 career batting average and a .317 average this season as well, Ichiro will someday find himself in Cooperstown. Remember, he also had 1,278 hits in the Japanese professional league before coming to play MLB. Add it all up, and he’s pretty much one of the greatest hitters we’ll ever have the honor to watch play this game.
Beware the Cubs in the ninth inning come October
We don’t want to beat the same drum over and over again, but it’s hard to ignore the Chicago Cubs’ ability to rally late in games this season. They did it again last Wednesday at home against Ichiro and the Miami Marlins. Trailing by two runs in the ninth at Wrigley Field, the Cubs loaded the bases with no one out thanks to a double, a single and a walk. After Dexter Fowler’s sacrifice fly and Kris Bryant’s strikeout, the Marlins chose to intentionally walk Anthony Rizzo to load the bases with two outs, protecting a 4-3 lead. But Miami closer A.J. Ramos couldn’t find the strike zone after that, walking Ben Zobrist to tie the game and then letting the winning run score for Chicago by throwing a wild pitch.
Bronx Bombers continue to shed players, star power and salary
It was an odd week for the New York Yankees. The team is within striking distance of an American League playoff spot, but the Bronx Bombers traded away a lot of talent before the trade deadline before also announcing the retirements of designated hitter Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira.
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In 12 seasons with the Yankees, A-Rod won two MVP awards and hit 351 home runs while helping the team win the 2009 World Series. As for Teixeira, he was also a big part of that last New York championship, while winning three Gold Gloves and earning two All-Star nods in his eight years with the Yankees. Both players will be missed by Bronx fans.
Woeful Phillies manage to beat Giants twice in a row despite S.F.’s All-Star starters
In back-to-back games in Philadelphia last week, the fourth-place Phillies won games started by Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. On Tuesday, Philadelphia hitters knocked MadBum around for 10 hits and eight runs in just five innings, and on Wednesday, Cueto gave up four runs in just 7 2/3 innings. The Giants lost both games, as they continued their second-half slide: Since the All-Star Game, which Cueto started for the National League, San Francisco has won just six of 21 games. Giants fans know it’s bad when the lowly Phillies are beating the team’s two best starting pitchers so easily in consecutive games.
Coco Crisp may not be Ichiro, but he still makes plays for the A’s
He’s never been an All-Star player, and he only has garnered MVP consideration once (2013, finishing 15th in the vote) during his 15-year MLB career with Cleveland, Boston, Kansas City and Oakland. But Coco Crisp can play baseball with the best of them, even at age 36 and coming off an injury-wasted 2015 season. See this big play from last Thursday’s game in Los Angeles against the Angels.
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Remember, Crisp was the starting center fielder for the 2007 Red Sox as Boston went on to win the Series that year, and he was the clubhouse backbone of three straight Oakland playoff teams from 2012-2014. Coco still has what it takes today: His .723 OPS is just slightly lower than his career .731 mark, and clearly, his legs can still carry him in the outfield fast enough to let his glove do some serious HR robbing. Just ask Ji-Man Choi.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.