Well, I go out of the country for two weeks and a pennant race breaks out in the wild, wooly AL Central. This was definitely unexpected. The Twins were supposed to have had their epitaph written some time ago with Crede and Morneau (especially) going down for the season. Apparently, Detroit decided to play just well enough to get down to their level (which really is not that bad a place to be). Today's matchup pits Rick Porcello vs. Scott Baker in a homerdome hanky extravaganza. I've just finished reading "High Fidelity" on the plane. So let's proceed....top 5 play-in, play-off games/series based on my own unrevealed criteria.
5. 10/2/1995 The Mariners beat the Angels 9-1 behind the hard-throwing Randy Johnson. This, of course, was the Mariners first ever play-off game, and it only came about because of the Mariners recovering furiously from a 13 game deficit as late in the season as 8/2. From that point the Angels were 22-34 and the Mariners were 36-20. This culminated in the Mariners beating the Yankees in the ALDS on Griffey's mad dash commemorated in A&G sketch card 22.
4. 10/1/2007 The Rockies win 9-8 against the Padres for the wildcard. The game itself was high-packed with drama. To the background of Hell's Bells, Trevor Hoffmann took the mound and promptly blew the lead. The indelible image is of Matt Holliday scoring the winning run, flopping chinfirst into home. Did he or didn't he touch the plate?
3. 1962 The height of the rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers. At this time, the NL decided who would continue with a 3 game series. The first two games were split, leading to a 3rd game. The Dodgers held a 4-2 lead entering the 9th and promptly lost 6-4 as Walter Alston's handling of the bullpen during that inning could be routinely 2nd guessed. Relief ace, Ed Roebuck, was going on his 4th inning, but he had already pitched 4 innings two days ago and made another appearance the next day. The bases were loaded when "Wild" Stan Williams was brought in to allow a SF and two more walks. Thus, the damage was done with young Ron Perranoski and Sandy Koufax warming up in the bullpen. The Dodgers easily recovered to win the 1963 World Series.
2. 10/2/78 Yankees over Red Sox 5-4. Bucky Dent, Mike Torrez, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Billy Martin, Bob Lemon. Crazy pennant race.
1. 1951 Bobby Thomson hits one out off Ralph Branca. The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! He definitely knew which pitch was coming, I think. Even so, pandemonium on Coogans Bluff.