Dan Schlossberg's Weekend Report: Strange Things Happen In September • Latino Sports

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Dan Schlossberg’s Weekend Report: Strange Things Happen In September

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Forget Halloween — September is just as spooky for players, managers, and fans of major league baseball.

With so many postseason berths at stake, both contenders and pretenders are primed for a final push — the push that separates the men from the boys.

Teams like the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies, who spent the first five months spinning their wheels, are winning for a change because they’re loose, with nothing on the line except future contracts.

Teams like the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, who flirted with first place before focusing their gaze on wild-card spots, are losing because they’re so tight that their bats have already retired for the winter.

MVP contender Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face by a pitch

MVP contender Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face by a pitch

Giancarlo Stanton, the odds-on favorite for National League Most Valuable Player, had hoped his power would push the Miami Marlins into the wild-card picture before an errant pitch smashed into his face and sent him to the sidelines, probably for the duration.

Chris Davis, the Baltimore slugger who connected 53 times last year, has certainly been idled, thanks to a 25-game suspension for substance abuse. Fortunately for him, the Orioles already have an enormous lead in the American League East.

Just a day ago, Zack Greinke escaped the shadow of Clayton Kershaw for a day by pitching his Los Angeles Dodgers to a 17-0 slaughter of the Giants in San Francisco. In a game wrapped with postseason potential for both clubs, Greinke even managed to hit a home run.

In the same game, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy called to the bullpen for his son, inserting Brett in a difficult situation in a one-sided game. Only six previous times in baseball history has a father managed his son in the majors (most recently the Ripkens, both named Cal).

Derek is wearing his own patch Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Derek is wearing his own patch
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

And talk about strange: Derek Jeter’s uniform now bears a commemorative Derek Jeter patch — even though he is still playing. It’s part of the Yankees’ plan to honor their retiring captain, whose 20-year tenure in the Bronx is the longest in team history.

Also in baseball:

Lack of offense sabotaged the AL West title chase for the Oakland A’s, who entered play Sunday with a 16-25 record since the July 31 trading deadline . . .

Experts were wrong if they thought the AL Central race ended when the Detroit Tigers acquired David Price in midseason. The Tigers, up by five games July 31, were soon caught by the young-and-hungry Kansas City Royals . . .

Interim Texas Rangers manager Tim Bogar is one of the top candidates for the vacant managerial opening with the Houston Astros . . .

Milwaukee missed the boat in acquiring only Gerardo Parra and Jonathan Broxton at the trade deadline. Since that time, the Brewers not only blew a commanding lead in the NL Central but suffered a 3-16 streak . . .

Parra proved not quite enough in Milwaukee

Parra proved not quite enough in Milwaukee

Gene Michael, who’s held virtually every vital job for the New York Yankees, gets the credit for insisting that the Yankees make Derek Jeter their regular shortstop — even though he had made 56 errors in 126 games at Class A Greensboro in just three years earlier . . .

Amazing how Chris Young proved a dud with the Mets but a dynamiter with the Yankees . .

Mets sources say their $89 million payroll won’t increase unless attendance does . . .

Oakland third baseman John Donaldson, once a candidate for American League MVP, blames a flaw in his swing for a horrendous September slump . . .

Hard to spell, hard to pronounce, and an easy addition to the Pittsburgh pen, John Holdzkom stands 6-7 and throws 95 miles per hour — credentials that prompted his

Pirate rookie John Holdzkom had a difficult journey to the bigs

Pirate rookie John Holdzkom had a difficult journey to the bigs

promotion to the majors just four months after he was released by an independent team in Sioux City . . .

Fewer scheduled days off between playoff rounds will make life complicated next month, especially if any divisional or wild-card ties need to be resolved first . . .

The Mets have sold only a handful more tickets this year than they did last year . . .

Dave Stewart, a former World Series hero who most recently was a player agent, is a top contender for the open general manager’s job in Arizona, where former manager Tony La Russa is chief of baseball operations . . .

Big surprise: even though he missed a month at the start, Clayton Kershaw was the first pitcher to reach 19 wins this season.

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About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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