This and almost every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts with the beep, beep, beep of Red Sox Nation's truck, in full reverse and headed for the playoffs.
Style points: With the arguable exception of winning a Stanley Cup, the most difficult team accomplishment in sports is a regular-season baseball championship. The major league marathon is six months and 162 (or 163) grindy games long. With that in mind, the Red Sox should be congratulated for the AL wild card spot they clinched, because the Rangers lost to the Angels, in the recent wee hours.
"Hell, yeah," David Ortiz(notes) shouted, calling for a clubhouse attendant to give him a pair of goggles for a party that came hours later. "We worked our way to be in this situation. Even not winning this game tonight, you move into the playoffs so there's a celebration."
And yet, there's something really unattractive about how they're heading for the playoffs.
Call for backup: It's not just losing twice to Blue Jays at home while the Rangers, tanks empty, went all the way to California to get chopped into little pieces by the Angels. It's not just how they can't seem to beat the Yankees — at all — anymore, and struggled to gain a split with the Royals. It's the reasons all of this is happening.
Cracks in the Green Monster: It's Josh Beckett's(notes) back, it's Mike Lowell's(notes) cortisone shots and Tim Wakefield's(notes) inability to move. It's not trusting Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) in the playoffs as far as anyone can throw his winter coat. It's Jason Varitek(notes) hitting one homer in the past 2 1/2 months and being replaced, but not quite all the way, by Victor Martinez(notes).
All the more reason to slap them five for finding a place in the playoffs. But at this attrition rate, they won't be there for long.
* * *
Feelin' Rundown (each one of these teams backed into their parking spaces):
Rockies 7, Brewers 5 (11 inn.): There's an Iannetta in 'team,' as long as he hits game-ending homers to save Huston Street(notes), the Big Tipper, from a three-run blown save. ... The Rockies lead the wild card by three games with five to go and, almost as intriguingly, trail the Dodgers by just three with a series at L.A. to go.
Padres 3, Dodgers 1: Manny is busy being taunted by a foam rubber monk, so let's leave it to the emcee.
Vin Scully, homeboy, on KCAL:
"With Colorado winning, it looks like a very quiet dressing room in San Diego for tonight. ... The sobering thought about the ballclub: I mean, here we are talking about 'who they're going to play in the first round.' I mean, they lost two out of three to Washington. They lost three out of four to Pittsburgh. And now, they're on the very edge of losing six out of eight on a road trip they thought would be a red-carpet trip all the way around. And that's baseball."
Tigers 6, Twins 5 (Game 2): Sometimes, you get the Twinkie.
* * *
1-2-3 (the rest of the games in three or fewer words):
Giants 8, D-backs 4: Playoffs?!?!
Phillies 7, Astros 4: Happ(y) means Feliz.
Nationals 4, Mets 3: Nats are better.
Reds 7, Cardinals 2: Redbirds getting sleeeeeeeepy.
Cubs 6, Pirates 0: Cubs within 7 1/2.
Yankees 4, Royals 3: A.J. creams 'em.
White Sox at Indians, ppd (rain): Doubleheader today. Oy.
Rays 3, Orioles 1: O's twelfth nightmare.