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David Brown

Morning Juice: Phillies turning into heartwarming fall story

Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m., at least until our old man kicks us out of the basement because we don't want to work at the steel plant for the rest of our lives like him, let's rise and shine together for the silliest and Philliest moments in the big leagues.

Today's Roll Call starts in South Bend, Ind. Philadelphia where the crowd at the Bank, usually with lustful vengeance in their hearts, is instead filled with pre-playoff mirth.

Game of the Day: Phillies 6, Braves 2

Win one against the Chipper: Sensing a playoff spot is upon the Brotherly Fightingly City, fans held baseball player appreciation night at Citizens Bank Park. There, Fightin' Phils towel-wavin' folks showed the love to many an ath-el-lete. Pat Burrell, hitting a patriotic, if limp, .176 since Aug. 1, got a standing "O" from the folks after hitting a key three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. A Cubs player in another game on TV, Jason Marquis, got a huge hand (not from a back-handed smack, either) for hitting a grand slam to help the Mets lose and inch the Phils closer to a playoff berth. And then ... there was Rudy.

Ru-dy, Ru-dy!: No, Guiliani wasn't in the house. Fans were chanting the first name of middle man Rudy Seanez after he wriggled out of a jam in the top of the eighth. In response, he lighted every candle in the tri-state area and then sneaked into the stadium to sleep on a cot in the bullpen. Even though Ned Beatty never thought he would amount to anything, Seanez has played for nine teams over 17 years and is working on his degree in playing for every team twice.

Sacking Ga. Tech The Phils have won 10 of 11, have a Magic No. of 3 to clinch a postseason spot and a Magic No. of 4 to win the NL East for the second straight season. They are an astounding 14-2 (I'm astounded!) against the Braves. Chipper can't recall when the Phils bought the Braves from Ted Turner, 'cause it sure seems like they own 'em. "I can't remember a team beating us like this," Jones said.

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Feelin' Rundown (Monday's other contests)

Cubs 9, Mets 5: First it was King Felix and now it's Marquis de Sod with the slam. If allowing a grand slam to a pitcher is good luck, the Mets are bound to win the whole thing this season. But we know it's not good luck, don't we? ... The Cubs actually clinched home field throughout the NL portion of the playoffs with this win. False alarm yesterday.

Reds 7, Marlins 5: The Fish have almost tanked. School's gonna be out, for-evah. The scales have tipped against them. Sleeping with each other. Up the creek without a paddle. Floundering. Filet o' self. Out of water. Ex-stream. Found gill-t. No more angles to play. Lured away. Abated and tackled. Done Fish, Shoo Fish, Dead Fish, Adieu Fish. Flushed down the toilet. Reel cold-blooded, man. Sea ya' later. Wave good-bye. Fin.

D-backs 4, Cardinals 2: To help the D-b's move within two games of Los Dodgers, Brandon Webb crosses the "C" and loops the "Y" with his 22nd win (unless you're a Timmy! guy). ... Redbirds are on the verge of going talons-up at the bottom of the wild card race cage. Well, at least they can read the newspaper account of how it happened while they're down there.

Indians 4, Red Sox 3: The Tribe has the AL's best record since July 10. If we were splitting the season like in the minors, or in 1981 during the strike, that would mean a little more than it actually does.

Royals 6, Tigers 2: Like a zombie in a George Romero movie, the Royals burst through the Earth and claw at the Tigers, demanding their right to fourth place in the AL Central. ... Leyland's Magic No. is Six.

Rays 4, Orioles 2: Unless you're descended from Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, you can now count down on one hand the Rays Magic No. to clinch the AL East. It's like your own personal widget, only there's no downloading. The scoreboard says it's "5" but it's actually "4" because the Rays won the tiebreaker with the Red Sox, which I believe is the most players (1) from Woonsocket, R.I. (Rocco Baldelli). What luck.

Athletics 4, Rangers 3 (11 inn.): Half a furlong to go and Jack Cust sits near the cusp at 190 strikeouts. Ryan Howard's record (199) is within reach (or without reach, if you will). Let's all help him reach it with some positive — or is it negative? — thinking.

Angels 2, Mariners 1: Maybe it's because of my anti-hyphen prejudice, but I'm surprised at how well this Ryan Rowland-Smith has pitched, especially since moving to the starting rotation. Not sure about the Nate Robertson glasses, though.

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Photo of the Day: Was it Mr. Met? Did he do this to you?

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Mets outfielder Ryan Church (left) cares for teammate Carlos Beltran, whose tummy hurts after downing a Shea Stadium hot dog circa 1986

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Fantasy Freaks

David DeJesus (KCR) 4-4, 2 R, RBI

Brandon Webb (AZD-b) 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, Win

Ervin Santana (LAAoA) 8 IP, 5 H, ER, 9 K, Win

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Fantasy Flakes

Grady (Indians) 0-5, K

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Words of Mouth

"When I hit it, I said 'Yes!' Then I looked up and I was out." — Rangers catcher Gerald Laird, thinking for a moment that he had won the game with a hit.

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