It’s a matchup that has schedule-makers’ mouths watering.
A final regular-season series between a pair of probable wild card teams, the victor of which will likely host next week’s one-off play-in game.
But instead of talking about his club’s three-game set against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick is talking about the fans in a less-than-flattering way.
“Hopefully our fans come out and show some intensity because personally I felt like this past series against the Mets … there just wasn’t a lot of energy in the ballpark,” Ludwick told reporters. “That’s why home-field advantage matters. Energy from the fans gives the players energy. We feed off that. We’re looking forward to it as players and hopefully the city is looking forward to it and hopefully we can make a run at it.”
The Reds enter Friday’s three-game series trailing the Pirates by one game in a race between division rivals, both of which are hoping to host the single-game National League wild card playoff on Oct. 1.
The winner of that game will advance to the NLDS.
SELIG GOES OFF
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig didn’t hold back on John Feinsteins’s CBS radio show Wednesday.
The league’s top boss weighed in on everything from Oakland’s unsuitable stadium situation to the struggling Tampa Bay Rays – and a few things in between.
“It’s a pit,” Selig said of the Oakland Coliseum. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years.
The home of the A's and Oakland Raiders is having plumbing problems again.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last weekend that heavy rain caused flooding in the A's coaches' bathroom. Further, A's catcher Kurt Suzuki said sewage was flowing out of the faucets at the stadium, the second such incident the team has faced this season.
As for the Tampa Bay Rays, a club averaging less than 20,000 fans a game, Selig didn’t offer much hope moving forward.
“That’s just disgraceful,” the79-year-old said. “I don’t know how much blunter I can be than that.”
Selig steered clear of talk surrounding Alex Rodriguez, who is in the process of appealing a massive 211-game doping ban.
“I’m not going to comment on Alex,” Selig said. “A lot of people have asked me that question and that’s a fair question and a tough question – but certainly one worthwhile. But I’m satisfied that I’m going to let circumstances play out here.”
There’s speculation Selig could retire following the 2014 season after saying as much in an interview with CBS Sports in April.
PERALTA TO RETURN
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta will complete his 50-game suspension and rejoin the team Friday, according to CBS Sports.
Tigers general manager David Dombrowski confirmed Peralta's activation, according to MLB.com.
Peralta has been out for nearly two months after Major League Baseball suspended him for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
At this juncture, although the Tigers have not confirmed it, Peralta would likely be eligible to be part of the team's post-season roster.
Because his role at shortstop has been taken by Jose Iglesias, Peralta could potentially platoon in left field with Andy Dirks.
Prior to his suspension, Peralta, 31, was hitting .305 in 104 games.
TROUT’S AGENT: NO TALKS
All-star outfielder Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels have yet to discuss a long-term contract, his agent told the Los Angeles Times.
"I'll answer one question on contract talks -- there have been no discussions," Craig Landis, Trout's agent, said. "Obviously, Mike's future is extremely bright. We'll be patient. Mike's a young guy. However it goes, he's going to make a lot of money and be a great player."
The 22-year-old Trout emerged as one of the best young players in baseball last year. He was named the unanimous winner of the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year Award and finished second in the league's MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera.
This season, he picked up where he left off a year ago, batting .324 with 26 home runs, 92 RBIs, 33 stolen bases and an American League-leading 108 runs.
Trout's 2013 salary is $510,000 after the Angels chose to renew his rookie deal at just $20,000 above the league minimum after a stellar 2012 season.
"It was one of those things where (the Angels) own you. They can do whatever they want, and you have to accept it," Trout said. "Everyone goes through it. I'm waiting patiently -- my time will come."
BRIEFLY: Oakland A’s catcher John Jaso is a long shot to return in time for the playoffs after suffering concussion-related symptoms since July, CSN Bay Area reported … Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier could miss the post-season after suffering a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury, according to ESPN … Boston Red Sox centre fielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup Wednesday night following a 16-game absence stemming from a compression fracture in his right foot.
-With files from Sports Xchange