Tidbits: No. 23 does it again
Blake, Gibson at heart of two Dodger Stadium miracles
23-Skidoo: Seeing Casey Blake cross the plate with the winning run of the Dodgers' 3-2 miracle in Game 2 of the National League Division Series immediately caused people to flash back to another Dodger Stadium miracle.Blake wears uniform No. 23 -- the number on Kirk Gibson's back when he hit that legendary game-winning pinch-hit homer off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
95-and-bust: In 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays defended their World Series title after having qualified for the postseason with a regular-season record of 95-67.Since then, this fall's Dodgers and Red Sox are the 12th and 13th 95-win teams to make it to the playoffs. None of them have won the World Series (and only three made it to the Classic: the '06 Tigers, '02 Giants and '01 Yankees). Thorn in the throne: Neither Albert Pujols, the National League home-run king with 47, nor Carlos Pena, who tied Mark Teixeira for the American League lead with 39, hit a homer beyond early September. The difference is that Pena wasn't trying, his season ending with a CC Sabathia pitch that broke two of his fingers on Sept. 7. Pujols last connected on Sept. 9. Including the first two games of the NL Division Series, he has gone 85 at-bats without a home run. Who'll get one first, Pujols or Manny Ramirez, who hasn't homered in 43 at-bats since Sept. 18? Ouch! About the hardest thing Ramirez hit in Game 2 was the head of St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. Ramirez clipped Molina's helmet on a ninth-inning backswing, halting play for a few minutes while the receiver got some TLC from his trainer and cleared his head. Molina said afterwards that he was fine. Also that Ramirez didn't apologize for the incident, and didn't really need to. "Those thing happen. No big deal," said the receiver. Wasn't in the Cards: The Cardinals' loss in the second game of the Division Series was anything but usual, as they had been perfect in seven opportunities before then. Color-coded: In television graphics and in-stadium displays, you might've noticed that the familiar silhouette-batter MLB logo has undergone some changes for the postseason. The familiar blue-and-red scheme has been replaced by yellow-and-burgundy. It's the new chic-side of MLB. A representative of the Commissioner's Office said the hues were changed temporarily to reflect "fall colors. We could have a third variation for Spring Training, with spring colors." Traffic-flow to traffic-low: In Game 2, the Dodgers stranded their first baserunner when Rafael Furcal singled with two outs in the sixth and Matt Kemp followed by bouncing into an inning-ending force. By that point in Game 1, the Dodgers had left 13 runners on base and the two teams had combined for a record 23.
Jim Banks is regional editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.