- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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First base: Home-field disadvantage. Owners added the one-game wild-card game in part to reward teams that won a division title. However, they've just taken away some of that advantage by changing the layout of the Division Series from 2-2-1 to 2-3. Instead of starting at home, the higher seed will play the first two games on the road before heading. Look, it's not huge deal and might revert back to 2-2-1 next year, when the regular season begins earlier, thus providing more potential off days in October. Still, I don't see why 2-2-1 would have been an issue, even with the need to have fewer off days this season. But why do we need so many off days anyway? Obviously, teams play in different cities on back-to-back days all the time.
Also buried in that story is something that will get fans much more upset: Two Division Series games will shift from TBS to MLB Network, which is available in about 30 million fewer homes.
Second base: Reddick-hot. Josh Reddick plays for the Oakland A's, so he's not exactly going to be leading the SportsCenter highlights. But he's quietly putting together a nice season, hitting .283 with 10 home runs. His big home run off Alexi Ogando tied the game in the seventh inning Thursday and the A's then beat the Rangers in the 10th. The A's are a game over .500 at 20-19 and another key to their surprising success has been reliever Ryan Cook, who threw two hitless innings to get the win. Cook has yet to allow run and has allowed just four hits in 19.2 innings.
Third base: Feel-good stories. A couple of nice stories to highlight. The Blue Jays sent down former 35-homer man Adam Lind and called up Yan Gomes, who became the first Brazilian-born player to reach the majors. Gomes went 2-for-3 in Toronto's win over the Yankees. Gomes is a catcher/third baseman and not a top prospect, although he was hitting .359 for Las Vegas (of course, everyone hits .359 at Las Vegas). Gomes moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 12 and was drafted out of Barry University in Florida.
Rich Thompson is a 33-year-old outfielder who had one at-bat with the Royals back in 2004. He's been in the minor leagues ever since, including the past five seasons with Lehigh Valley, the Phillies' Triple-A club, where he became a fan favorite. Earlier this week, the Phillies traded him to the Rays, who called up him to the big leagues. On Thursday, he started in left field and picked up his first major league hit and RBI. Dreams do come true.
Home plate: Tweet of the day. Ahh, good ol' Jim Tracy.
— Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) May 18, 2012