It didn't make big headlines on the East Coast because West Coast games end so late, but Andres Galarraga highlighted the week with his 30th home run Tuesday to join Dante Bichette, Larry Walker and Vinny Castilla and give the Colorado Rockies four players with 30 or more homers.
The only other time that happened was in 1977, when Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker and Ron Cey combined to hit 125 and lead the Los Angeles Dodgers into the World Series.
No doubt, Dodgers fans would be quick to point out that their heroes didn't have the benefit of Denver's rarefied air to set the major-league record for most 30-homer performances, but that should not detract from Colorado's 1995 power surge. The four Rockies, after all, did it in the 132nd game game of a shortened season, which is 30 games short of a full season.
If you thought you were the only one completely confused by baseball's new postseason format, it must have been a relief to find out that even Major League Baseball hasn't gotten it down yet. The Cincinnati Reds found out a day later that they had clinched the NL Central crown on Thursday, lending credence to the notion that baseball planners made the whole thing way too complicated. . . . If the Houston Astros don't end up with the wild-card berth, they won't be able to blame the schedule. The Astros open a three-game series against the low-flying Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at the Astrodome, while their wild-card rivals -- the Rockies and Dodgers -- go head-to-head in L.A. . . . It appears that the Pirates ownership situation will be resolved and the team will remain in Pittsburgh for the time being. Newspaper heir Kevin McClatchy announced Friday that he would be able to bring together sufficient funds to make the deal and will make a formal offer for the club today. If it goes down that way and the Seattle Mariners do not go up for sale, Washington businessman William Collins may have to wait for the next expansion to bring a team to Northern Virginia.
Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves has been one of the winningest pitchers over the past five years, but he has something to prove in playoff competition. He is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA lifetime in the playoffs but will enter October on a regular-season roll. He is 11-2 since June 26. Glavine has had better luck in the World Series, where he's 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA. . . . Yes, that is the Florida Marlins in third place, and if they play well against the slumping Montreal Expos over the next few days, they could end up in a head-to-head battle with the Philadelphia Phillies for second place this weekend.
"In Anaheim, 25 people were rushed to the emergency room for choking at the same time," said comedian Jay Leno during his "Tonight Show" monologue the other night. "They were identified as the California Angels." No joke. The Angels ended a nine-game losing streak yesterday, but have just nine wins in their past 36 games. Unless they do something dramatic during the final week of the season, they will be remembered for one of the biggest folds in baseball history. They open a crucial two-game series against the Mariners tomorrow night. It was originally scheduled as a three-game series but was reduced to two when the schedule was condensed to 144 games. . . . Tuesday's stadium referendum in Seattle may have been too close to call, but the Mariners may cause a dramatic shift in public opinion if their late-season surge carries them into the World Series.
Cleveland slugger Albert Belle couldn't have too much competition for AL Player of the Week. He continued his run at the Indians record book with seven home runs and 10 RBIs, Saturday setting a club record with his 97th extra-base hit of the season. So why doesn't this guy ever smile? . . . The Chicago White Sox and Orioles are suddenly fighting to avoid the distinction of being the most disappointing team of 1995. Both have won four of their past five games, but the White Sox have an outside chance of overtaking the Kansas City Royals and finishing second. The Royals won yesterday to end a six-game losing streak.
Cal Ripken's three-game, 11-RBI performance from Thursday through Saturday helped to raise the spirits of Orioles fans and put his overall numbers back where they belong. He has 17 home runs and 85 RBIs in 139 games, a pace that would have carried him to 20 homers and 99 RBIs over a full 162-game schedule. That should be enough to quiet any suggestion that he take off a day or two next season. . . . The AL East champion Boston Red Sox will get home-field advantage for the divisional series, but they may not care. Through 136 games, they had a 41-27 record at home and a 41-27 record on the road. Yesterday, they broke the tie with a loss at home.