Around the NL East - Nationals clinch playoff berth, Phillies still in Wild Card #2 hunt, Ike Davis on the trading block, Marlins front office on the chopping block

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: Manager Davey Johnson of the Washington Nationals waves to the crowd after the Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 to clinch a playoff spot at Nationals Park on September 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

I have a good feeling about this season's playoffs. Provided that the Braves successfully get their foot into the real, four-team playoff, I think some good things are bound to happen.

How did I come to this conclusion? I have a bunch of vacations planned for this October, which happen to fall on the meat of the playoff time. The laws of the world have had it in my life that whenever I leave Atlanta is typically when all sorts of cool and good stuff happens in Atlanta. So while I'm out of the country, I'm fully expecting the Braves to be winning games, and me not being able to watch or listen in on the action, kind of like some kind of reverse-punishment/reward.

Welcome back to the basement.

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Nationals clinch post-season berth for the first time since 1933 - Nats Enquirer
This could have come from any source, but I liked Nats Enquirer's headline the most. But yes, with win #91, the Nationals "clinch" a post-season berth, and I put that in quotes, because technically the two wild card teams are in the "postseason" as well, even if one of them goes home after just one game. Unlikely as it may seem, wouldn't it be funny if the Nats just forgot how to play baseball and ended up losing the play-in game?

MLB sacrifices prestige, individuality and frankly, quality for efficiency - The Bog
The Nats celebrated their playoff berth with gear that simply stated "POSTSEASON." I imagine the Wild Card #2 also gets this apparel, despite the fact that they stand the biggest chance of playing just one game too. The rationale behind is that MLB has all sorts of limitations and restrictions on the design, meaning it doesn't matter if you're the #1 seed who clinches early or the #5 who clinches on a game 163 tie-breaker, you're all wearing the same design.

Ryan Zimmerman finally gets to go to the playoffs - Nationals Journal
Since 2006, Ryan Zimmerman has absorbed and endured 573 losses on some dreadful Nationals teams. But with the clinching of a playoff spot, Zimmerman finally is guaranteed to see some postseason baseball for the first time in his career.

Even if his shoulder is full of crud and will need surgery in the offseason - Nats NQ
Details are sketchy, but all we all know is that at its worst, Zimmerman isn't even a replacement-level caliber player.

But it's okay while he gets addicted to coritsone - Nats Insider
To anyone keeping count, this makes the fourth coritsone shot that Zimmerman has taken this season, in order to get up to playing standards. But again, after 573 losses, Zimmerman will do just about anything to be apart of this, even if sounds like it could be potentially detrimental.

Davey Johnson acts like he's been there before, because he has - MASN
Upon doing what nobody else could in seven years prior, Davey Johnson has pretty much played off all the praise and adoration heaped upon him for helming such a successful ballclub. But with due cause, because the Nationals are the fourth team that Davey Johnson has managed to go to the playoffs with the Mets, Reds and Orioles in prior years.

Danny Espinosa also has some pretty significant shoulder issues - Nats Insider
Initially feared to be a torn labrun that has been killing his production and making Dan Uggla feel good about himself, ended up being a deep bone bruise, after an MRI. He'll still be able to play, thanks to Ryan Zimmerman's new best friend: cortisone.

In two nights, apparently Drew Storen might have taken his job back - Nationals Journal
Tyler Clippard blows a save in his second outing of the same day. The next night, Drew Storen is summoned to close out the Dodgers, and dispatches Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez on 13 pitches. Suddenly, the media thinks he should be the closer for the playoffs instead of the guy who had been doing it most of the season.

Chien-Ming Wang signals the Nats are now trotting out the B-team - Nats Insider
With the playoffs guaranteed, the Nationals are now going into coast mode. Starting with the widely ineffective Chien-Ming Wang getting a start instead of Jordan Zimmermann.

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Do the Phillies deserve to be in the hunt for the second wild card? - Phillies Nation
No. The second wild card is stupid. Next.

Stating the obvious - Philly.com
Ryan Howard needs to put up some ridiculous numbers in order to come close to matching his contract dollars worth. The sky is also blue, the ocean is filled with water, and humans breathe air to live.

The reincarnation of Jimmy Rollins sounds a lot more like Jimmy Rollins plays when he wants to play - Crashburn Alley
It's proabably because I don't watch enough Phillies baseball, but it seems too coincidental at the rate of Jimmy Rollins' hot and cold streaks really seem like they're relative to his personal behavior at the time. But for what it's worth, after getting benched for loafing on the basepaths, Rollins has coincidentally improved suddenly.

Chase Utley taking more grounders, gets questioned by Ike Davis - Phillies Zone
Apparently, the Mets' Ike Davis can't really believe the idea of Chase Utley at third base as well. But I'm sure Chase Utley can't really believe the idea of Ike Davis not doubling up his own strikeout totals each year, either.

Watch these Phillies pitchers playing chess and one of them get absolutely owned - Phillies Nation
Somehow, I'm really not that surprised by this end result, and the reveal of who the players were.

TGP "celebrates" Chipper Jones only like TGP can - TGP
I know a lot of you guys might loathe such behavior, and fling the 'ol classy vernacular about, but I actually think TGP is at least sticking to who they are; like most Philadelphians they're fairly loyal to their teams (as long as they're relevant), but the one constant is that they simply hate everyone else. How they feel about Chipper Jones, I felt about Roger Clemens, and I flat refused to cheer or clap for him when he retired various times. Goodbye tour or not, Chipper Jones shouldn't really expect much of anything positive from Philadelphia if TGP is an accurate representation of the rest of Philadelphia.

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Marlins front office in pretty much, disarray - Fish Bytes
Naturally, only Jeffrey Loria is aware of what's going to happen in coming weeks, and he's not telling anyone.

President of Baseball Operations, Larry Beinfest supposedly going to be fired - Palm Beach Post
Of course, nobody is saying anything, but this seems like the surest bet of all the names to be propsed for the chopping block.

Beinfest throwing defensive stones regardless - Sun Sentinel
If he's going to get the boot, may as well go down swinging, huh?

Naturally, even Ozzie's name is not safe either - Fish Stripes
Not only is there an idea swirling of already giving Ozzie Guillen the axe, but that he would be replaced by former Marlin, and World Series MVP for the 2007 Red Sox, Mike Lowell.

Speaking of Ozzie, no week is safe from having some grand old entertainment from him - Marlins Diehards
First, we start off with him slamming ESPN's Buster Olney via Twitter

And then he chimes in on Yunel Escobar's gay-slur incident - Palm Beach Post

"To be honest with you, in my house we say that word every 20 seconds. I got three kids. It’s HOW you say it," Guillen said.

I hope Ozzie doesn't get fired. I never tire of stories like this every week.

Oh yeah baseball. Jose Reyes's error #500,000 in baseball history - Sun Sentinel
Much like in the movie Mr. 3000, this is probably not true, because some nerd will always be combing through the books to verify and validate, but for the time being, it's still nice to think of Jose Reyes being the guy to get stuck with number half a millionth error.

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Johan Santana nominated for Roberto Clemente Award - MLB
He might have more or less completely fell apart after the no-hitter earlier this year, but that hasn't stopped Santana from being an outstanding citizen off of it.

Knuckleball fraternity all rooting for R.A. Dickey to win NL Cy Young - NY Post
Former knuckleball pitchers like Phil Niekro and Tim Wakefield are providing their cases on why R.A. Dickey should win the NL Cy Young. Naturally, Dickey doesn't seem to really care, and is more focused on winning baseball games.

R.A. Dickey sort of compares himself to Roy Hobbs - NY Daily News
R.A. Dickey is going to appear in a baseball movie, a documentary about knuckleballs, aptly entiteld "Knuckleball! The Movie," and was recently asked if he had a favorite baseball movie himself. Exhibiting good taste, Dickey responded with The Natural, and likened himself to Robert Redford's portray of Roy Hobbs, citing that like Hobbs, he reached his peak later in life than most traditional hotshot prospects.

Frank Francisco has elbow tendinitis - MetsBlog
Unlike a lot of the maligned Mets bullpen, Francisco is signed through 2013. At this point, it's hard to say there would be much objection if the team shut him down for the remainder of the year.

Mets supposedly open to trading Ike Davis - AA
This really isn't that big of a surprise, considering Davis' seemingly unfixable holes in his swing, and the fact that Lucas Duda would be immediately put into first base in his place.

But Ike is accused of being a hard partier and uncoachable, and Ike naturally doesn't like such allegations - NY Post
It's kind of funny why anyone would even accuse such things when they're trying to gauge trades. Why would any other team be interested in picking up a guy with a wrap sheet of being known as a night owl and difficult to coach?

Mets make it official, sign deal with AAA-Las Vegas 51s - AA
The Mets AAA club prepares to head west and join the Pacific Coast League, where the ball will fly, hitters' numbers will soar, and pitchers numbers will look like garbage. Oh, geography.

And what to expect out of Cashman Field - Mets Minor League Blog
I've been to Cashman Field a few times, mostly when I'd been getting burned at the tables, inebriated, or both, and I needed three hours to let everything settle back down. For starters, it doesn't look like a ballpark at all from anywhere on the road. It's like a big sand-colored dungeon, and the field and seats have absolutely nothing special about them. The place is hot as hell in the summer, and the sun will make it hell on the outfielders when tracking fly balls, and almost all ads are casinos. Which then remind me that I need to get back to whatever casino is my fancy, and lose more money.

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