2006_09_syankeeslogo.jpg-Yankees 4 Tampa Bay 1: While New York spent most of September marching toward another division championship, there was one thought in the back of their minds. When will Mariano come back? Rivera had been sidelined since the end of August with a forearm strain and everyone knows that he is truly the indispensable Yankee come October. While we won’t know for sure until tomorrow, his return seems on track. Rivera struck out the side with a broken-bat single and a hit batter wedged in between.

Friday’s game was also interesting because of the debut of Gary Sheffield at first. Sheffield only had one ground ball hit to him, but he did make two nice scoops to save errors for Derek Jeter and Miguel Cairo. With only nine games left, will the Yankees see enough of Sheffield at first to feel comfortable starting him there in the playoffs?

Nationals 3 Mets 2: Alfonso Soriano kept his bid to become the first ever 45-45 player in baseball going with a stolen base, but the focus of this game was on El Duque. Hernandez looked dialed in for October, giving up three runs over seven innings while striking out eight. His ERA isn’t pretty this year, but the Mets should feel good about giving him the ball in a big spot.