1. The New York Mets lose, and it will be dramatic. Bartolo Colon was magical, the red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera homered again, Rene Rivera homered to make it 3-0, and nobody seemed to care or remember that Terry Collins had benched the struggling Jay Bruce. Then the Big Man gave up a two-run home run to Anthony Recker. Yes, that Anthony Recker, the backup catcher who hit .125 for the Mets last season. Then the Braves tied it. There was an error by James Loney, and then Collins maybe overthought things, as he replaced Addison Reed with Josh Smoker to face Freddie Freeman, who singled. Then Jeurys Familia came on for a five-out save, but he allowed a stolen base and a sacrifice fly and gave up a run in the ninth.
That wasn't the worst part. In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets put two runners on with two outs, and Yoenis Cespedes launched a ball toward the outfield fence ...
MLB play of the year nominee by Ender Inciarte: Takes a three-run homer away from Cespedes for the final out of the game.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 22, 2016
More moments like this please 🙌🏼⚾️— Ender Inciarte (@Enderdavid18) September 22, 2016
Mas momentos como este por favor!! @ Citi Field https://t.co/sfbYQ9RMTu
We owe Dave Stewart an apology. The Shelby Miller trade did end up affecting a playoff race.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) September 22, 2016
This was just a crushing loss for the Mets. They didn't lose ground in the wild-card race because the Cardinals and Giants also lost, but dropping three in a row at home to the Braves stings. I'm with Buster: This is on the very short list of plays of the year. Will it end up costing the Mets a playoff spot?
2. Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber help their Cy Young cases. With apologies to Kyle Hendricks and others, it's starting to feel like a Scherzer-Jon Lester fight in the NL. Lester is 8-0 with a 1.06 ERA over his past 10 starts and is second to Hendricks in ERA and tied with Scherzer, who beat the Marlins in an 8-3 victory, with 18 wins. Scherzer leads the NL in strikeouts, innings, WAR and WHIP. Is that enough to overcome Lester's edge in ERA (2.36 to 2.82)?
Kluber fanned nine in 6 1/3 innings as the Indians beat the Royals. The AL race might come down to Kluber (18-9, 3.11, 224 K's) and Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08, 174 K's). Right now, the Indians would face the Red Sox in the division series (both teams are neck-and-neck with the Rangers for best record and home-field advantage, however), so I say we postpone the vote until after the playoffs.
3. Gary Sanchez belts two more home runs. The Yankees, incredibly, are once again just 2 1/2 games back of the second wild card. They beat the Rays 11-5 on Wednesday, even though Masahiro Tanaka allowed four home runs in one inning. Sanchez now has 19 home runs in 45 career games, the fewest games ever for a player's first 19 home runs. Sanchez is not only making a great run at Michael Fulmer for AL Rookie of the Year, but he might also get some down-ballot MVP votes. The Yankees' playoff odds are at 6 percent.
Gary Sanchez HR per at-bat rate in 2016: 1 every 8.7 AB— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 22, 2016
Babe Ruth HR per at-bat rate in 1927: 1 every 9.0 AB
4. The five-run error. This was a tough one for the Orioles, as they dropped a third straight game to the Red Sox 5-1. The Red Sox were down 1-0 in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two outs. Brad Brach got Sandy Leon to hit a slow grounder to first baseman Chris Davis, but Davis laser-beamed a sidearm throw too far in front of Brach, which allowed two runs to score. With catcher Leon running, Davis had time to not rush the throw. To make things worse, Brach then threw a first-pitch cookie to Andrew Benintendi, who lined it out to right field for a three-run homer.
Benintendi has hit .317/.360/.524 in his limited time in the majors, but that at-bat shows why he's going to be such a terrific hitter. When I talked to him at the Futures Game, he quibbled with the suggestion that he's a patient hitter. "Everybody says that, but I don't think I'm that patient," he said. He draws his walks, but a smart hitter knows when to be aggressive, and he jumped all over that 94 mph fastball from Brach. The Orioles have to be feeling a little tight, with their wild-card lead down to one game over the Tigers and Astros (who swept the A's behind Evan Gattis' two home runs, so they've picked up three games on the O's in three days). Chris Tillman will try to rescue the series on Thursday, when he faces David Price. (Here's more on Benintendi from Scott Lauber and why he could be a big factor in the postseason.)
5. Yasiel Puig does everything. He homered, made a leaping catch as he ran up the fence and sent Madison Bumgarner a "#DONTLOOKATME" T-shirt as the Dodgers beat up Matt Moore (six runs in 1+ innings). Here's the catch with audio from Vin Scully:
"Viva Cuba. Viva Yasiel."— ESPN (@espn) September 22, 2016
Yasiel Puig at the wall. Vin Scully on the call. It doesn't get much better than this: https://t.co/UPBJ5bXGT4
I'm pretty sure they didn't have hashtags when Scully started calling Dodgers games back in 1950.