Baseball Report

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The wild, wild west, as in the National League West, has gone from almost a sure thing for the San Diego Padres to win, to a division that is up for grabs in less than a month.

With three weeks left to play, the Padres and San Francisco Giants began this week tied for first place, with the Colorado Rockies just 1 1/2 games behind. On Aug. 22, the Padres led the Giants by six games and the Rockies by 11.

But San Diego recently lost 10 straight, Colorado won 10 in a row through Sunday, and the Giants started the week on a 7-2 stretch, including three wins in four games at San Diego. The Padres snapped Colorado’s 10-game streak on Monday night with a 6-4 win to move in front of the Giants by a half-game and the Rockies by 2 1/2 games.

The Padres started a three-game series at Coors Field this week, where the Rockies have been red hot this season. Colorado had a 50-22 record at home going into the series, including seven straight. The Rockies also had the best divisional record among the contenders at 33-24, compared to the Padres’ 32-31 mark and the Giants’ 30-30.

San Francisco began a three-game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers this week.

There’s a good chance that the West probably won’t be decided until the final weekend, when Colorado visits St. Louis in a four-game series while the Padres and Giants play three games in San Francisco.

In the NL East, Atlanta and Philadelphia will play six of the last 12 games against each other beginning next week, in what will surely decide the division winner. The runner-up will be in the hunt for the wild-card entry into the postseason along with at least one team from the West.

Rose returns to Cincy

It’s been 25 years since Pete Rose set the record for most career hits with No. 4,192, but Rose has made few appearances at the ballpark over the years due to his lifetime ban for gambling on baseball.

But Rose made an on-field appearance in Cincinnati on Saturday as the Reds commemorated the anniversary. Rose wore a No. 14 jersey and stomped on first base, where he was joined by former Reds players.

Rose, 69, isn’t allowed to work in baseball or do anything more than a fan, but Major League Baseball gave permission for him to go on the field for the celebration. He finished his career with 4,256 hits.

StatsWatch

The Cincinnati Reds are getting closer to clinching their first division title in 15 years. Here’s a look at their postseason history since 1970:

  • 1970 — lost World Series 4-1 vs. Baltimore.
  • 1972 — lost World Series 4-3 vs. Oakland.
  • 1973 — lost NLCS 3-2 vs. New York Mets.
  • 1975 — won World Series 4-3 vs. Boston.
  • 1976 — won World Series 4-0 vs. New York Yankees.
  • 1979 — lost NLCS 3-0 vs. Pittsburgh.
  • 1990 — won World Series 4-0 vs. Oakland.
  • 1995 — lost NLCS 4-0 vs Atlanta.

Diamond Notes

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa got an autographed ball and lineup card from Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox before Sunday night’s game. La Russa, who ranks third in career regular-season wins, went up against Cox, who ranks fourth, for the last time in the regular season. Cox is retiring at the end of the season. In 161 meetings in the regular season, Cox holds a 94-66 edge over La Russa…Mike Lowell told the Boston Herald that he plans to retire at the end of this season.

“I’m retiring,” Lowell said. “I just don’t want to make it a song and dance, because I don’t think that’s necessary. I’m going to retire. This is going to be my last year.”

Lowell is batting .223 with four homers and 21 RBIs whiled used sparingly. His career average is .278, and he has 222 career home runs with 947 RBIs…Colorado’s 10-game winning streak that ended on Monday night was the third-longest in team history. The Rockies won 11 straight in June 2009 and 11 in a row in Sept. 2007, when they went on to play in the World Series.

Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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