And The Regular Season is Over – Playoffs Begin in Two Days

The most overrated pitcher in baseball, David Price, looked like the most underrated today, as he led the Tigers to a 3-0 victory over the Twins, giving Detroit the American League Central Division title, and making the Royals a wild card team facing a one game and out meeting with the A’s, who avoided a collapse for the ages by beating the Rangers today, 4-0, behind Sonny Gray. By striking our eight in 7-1.3 innings today, Price led the AL in strikeouts with 271, two more than the Indians’ Corey Kluber. Price also evened his won-lost record to 4-4 since the trade that brought him to the Tigers.

With Jose Altuve going two-for-four in his final game and Victor Martinez oh-for-four,

Altuve wins the AL batting title with a .341 average to Martinez' .335. Altuve's .341 mark represent a 58-point increase over the .283 he hit last season, and is his first-ever .300 average for a major league season. In the Tigers' game, Miguel Cabrera also did nothing, going oh-for-four, and while Mike Trout also had a hitless day, he beats out Cabrera by two for the season's American League RBI title.
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By losing today, 4-1, to Seattle, who missed tying for a playoff spot by a single game, the Angels ended the year on a very bad note, losing their last three, their last five of seven, and nine of 14, failing to reach the 100 win mark, and with increasing pitching questions as the playoffs are set to begin. C.J. Wilson has been consistently inconsistent, but he will likely be Mike Scioscia’s game two pitcher against the winner of the Kansas City – Oakland single game playoff, and there is only hope that Matt Shoemaker will be fit and in form, starting game three on the road.

The big news on the National League’s final day was the no-hitter pitched by the Washington National’s Jordan Zimmerman, and as the playoff’s begin, Washington’s starting staff appears invincible, with Zimmerman healthy and pitching dominating ball, Stephen Strasburg never looking better than he has over the past two months, Gio Gonzalez again in excellent form, a new star in Trevor Roark, and at the bottom is the team leader in wins at 16-6, Doug Fister. No other team in baseball can match that five-man rotation.

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Also in the NL today, the Cardinals won the Central Division as they defeated the Diamondbacks, 1-0, and as the Pirates lost to the Reds. As the Pirates loss ended before the Cardinals' game was to start, 20-game winner and ace Adam Wainwright was scratched, so he can open the first playoff series. He thus fell one win short of NL wins' leader Clayton Kershaw. In the Pirates game, UCLA Bruin alumni Garrett Cole was on his game, allowing only a first-inning run and four hits, while striking out 12 in
seven innings of work. He left in a one-one tie, but the bullpen allowed three, eighth-inning runs, as the Reds won the game 4-1. Johnny Cueto got the win, and became the league’s third 20-game winner, and his seven strikeouts tied him with Strasburg for the lead high, three more than Kershaw.

Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau sat out the final game, while the Pirates Josh Harrison was hitless in four at bats, thus Morneau won the NL batting title with a .319 average, four points better than Harrison.

The Dodgers ended on a high note, beating Colorado 10-5, with Zack Greinke winning his 17th game. Late season pickup Roger Bernadina made the most of two at bats, with a single and his first home run as a Dodger, and driving in four.

The playoffs begin Tuesday, with the one game "series" between Oakland and Kansas City, with

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the winner beginning their best-of-five Division Series against the Angels on Thursday, when Detroit and Baltimore also begin their Division Series. the National League begins Wednesday, with the one game “set” between the Giants and Pirates, with the winner going to Washington to start their series on Friday, when the Dodgers also begin their series with St. Louis. That game will be a dream matchup of Clayton Kershaw against Adam Wainwright, who will likely finish one-two in the league’s Cy Young voting.

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