Deep thoughts: Sept. 17

Jack McKeon and the Fish are fading.

? The Marlins looked like a shoo-in for the National League Wild Card after taking the first two of a four-game series against the Astros this week. Since then, they have lost four straight, including Saturday’s crushing 10-2 loss against the Phillies.

Through eight innings, Dontrelle Willis was rolling along, on pace to become baseball’s first 22-game winner. But it came crashing down on the D-Train in the ninth. The Phils sent 15 batters to the plate, and scored 10 runs on eight hits and four Marlins errors.

The Marlins now sit 2 1/2 games back in the NL Wild Card race, with Houston leading the way. The Phillies are a half-game back.

? We may be witnessing the biggest collapse in baseball history. On Aug. 1, the White Sox led the Indians by 15 games in the American League Central. That lead is now down to 3 1/2 after Johan Santana smoked the Pale Hose, and the Indians beat the Royals. Santana struck out 13 batters, then Joe Nathan fanned the side in the ninth.

The Indians and White Sox begin a crucial three-game series on Monday, and if the White Sox lose from here on in, the Tribe will lead the AL Central on Thursday morning.

? Indians GM Mark Shapiro did a great job of fleecing the Expos in the Bartolo Colon deal. Cliff Lee is 17-4, and Grady Sizemore is batting .291 with 20 taters and 77 ribeyes.

? The Tribe have won four straight and nine of 10, negating the Yankees’ hot week. New York has won six straight and eight of 10. Shawn Chacon gave the Yankees’ tired bullpen a much-needed rest by pitching eight innings in New York’s 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

? AL MVP watch: A-Rod went 0-for-4 and struck out thrice, while Big Papi went 1-for-4. A-Rod did start a sick DP to end Saturday’s game.

? The A’s have fallen, and they may not get up. They trail the Tribe by five games in the Wild Card race, and are two behind the Angels in the AL West standings. I am guessing the A’s are really missing Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson right now.

? Saw "The Aristocrats" with my wife on Saturday. The "joke" stinks. The movie wasn’t all that, but Bob Saget did make me laugh my coolie off.

? Yawn, the Cardinals clinched the NL Central — and in front of the Cubs’ faithful. Ouch, that’s got hurt Cubbie fans.

? I am still sticking with my Red Sox-Marlins World Series prediction, but it sure looks like the NL playoffs will be dubbed the Cardinal Invitational.

? Wait to go, cousin Hank: Blalock’s RBI double with one out in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Rangers to a 7-6 victory over the Mariners on Saturday night.

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