The ending of this season has more twists and turns than a San Francisco street. There. Wasn't that a cute analogy? It actually kind of makes you want to ralph. But anyway, the home stretch has been crazy. The Padres are dead. Wait. The Braves can't beat the Nationals as they walk the farm. The Red Sox are dead. Wait! If they beat the Yankees on Sunday night, they are only four games back! The Colorado Rockies are dead. Wait!. Yeah, they are pretty much dead. The Rays are going to come in first. Wait! The lead is back down to a half a game.
The Red Sox almost made it interesting in the wild card race. Dice-K had the Yankees looking foolish all night and held a 1-0 lead off of a gutty Phil Hughes, an unexpected starter who took Moseley's place in the rotation. But then A-Rod hit a bomb to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. The great Mariano Rivera came in to face the bottom of the Red Sox order which seemed like a lock. But Rivera wasn't invincible (and rarely is against Boston) and he gave up two runs to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Then Jonathan Papelbon, pitching what may be his last meaningful game in a Red Sox uniform, came in to shut down the Yankees. Jeter flew out and it looked like the Yankees' September not to remember would continue. But Swisher got a hit. Teixeira got a hit. Both were pinch run for. A-Rod got a walk. Robinson Cano, who never delivered in moments like this last year, hit a single to tie the score and the Yankees still had the bases loaded with one out. Just a sacrifice fly would end it. But Posada struck out and Berkman flew out and it was on to extra innings.
Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan tag-teamed the Red Sox in the top of the tenth and the Red Sox brought in Okijama who couldn't do anything right and the Yankees won a game that was as thrilling as any these two teams have ever played. But the loss most likely put the Red Sox in their okijamas for the off season as the Yankees only have to win one more game to clinch the wild card. While that is questionable in itself these days, they should at least win one of them some time this week.
Another twisty and turny area of contention is the home field advantage in the AL playoffs. The Yankees and then the Rays held the best record, but the Twins roared into that parade and it's pretty much a dead heat right now. And believe the Fan, nobody wants to give the Twins more games at home than on the road. The Twins won their 52 game at home on Sunday, which is as remarkable as Bautista's 52. If the Twins get home field advantage, the Fan is going to give them an edge in the playoffs.
You have to give credit to the Giants. They went into the lion's den in Colorado and took three out of four to close out the Rockies and put themselves in excellent position to take the NL West. Matt Cain pitched his heart out on Sunday to give the team that big edge. He was fantastic and pitched a complete game when Brian Wilson was gassed beyond fumes.
This coming week is going to be bittersweet. The end of a baseball season is like getting to the end of a great book. You are tearing through the final pages as the climax looms and yet at the same time, you start to dread it because you don't want such a good book to end. There is still a lot at stake out there this week and those pages will be devoured with interest.