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⚾ Good morning to everyone but especially ...


The Phillies are heading back to the playoffs, and history suggests they could be in for a fun ride. Philadelphia clinched a postseason berth with a 3-2 walk-off win over the Pirates.

  • Rookie Johan Rojas provided the walk-off hit, the first of his career. Cristian Pache scored the winning run. 
  • The Phillies will be the No. 4 seed, meaning they'll face the No. 5 seed in the Wild Card Series.
  • Last year, Philadelphia went all the way to the World Series as the No. 6 seed before falling to the Astros

The Brewers, meanwhile, won't be the Phillies' wild-card opponent after Milwaukee clinched the NL Central -- and the No. 3 seed -- in dramatic fashion. More on that in a bit.

😁 Honorable mentions

🐻 And not such a good morning for ...

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It's been a rough couple of days for Chicago's ursine sports teams. Two days after the Bears' blowout loss to the Chiefs, the Cubs found another embarrassing -- but far more heartbreaking -- way to lose.

Outfielder Seiya Suzuki completely missed a routine fly ball in the eighth inning as the Cubs blew a six-run lead and lost, 7-6, to the Braves.

  • The loss handed the NL Central to the Brewers, even after Milwaukee lost to the Cardinals earlier.
  • Even worse, the Cubs are now one game back of the Diamondbacks for the second NL wild-card spot and just 0.5 games up on the Marlins (and 1.5 up on the Reds) for the third and final spot.
  • The Cubs had won 217 straight games when leading by six or more runs entering the bottom of the sixth inning. Their last such loss was in 2002.

😞 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 NFL Power Rankings: Dolphins into top five, Jaguars tumbling

Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

On Jan. 7, 2019, Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa met in the national championship. Two young kids, two bright futures. But there could only be one winner: Lawrence threw for three touchdowns, Tagovailoa was intercepted twice, and Clemson rolled Alabama, 44-16.

Tagovailoa played one more year for Bama, but a devastating hip injury ended his college career and dropped him to fifth in the 2020 NFL Draft. Lawrence shined for two more years at Clemson and went first overall in 2021. Tagovailoa and Lawrence have had ups and downs since, but both of their teams -- Tua's Dolphins and Trevor's Jaguars -- entered this season with high expectations. So far, only one is delivering.

Tagovailoa and the Dolphins are up to No. 4 in Pete Prisco's Power Rankings, while Lawrence and the Jaguars took the biggest drop of the week from 10th to 20th.

Here's the top five:

  1. 49ers (previous: 1)
  2. Eagles (3)
  3. Chiefs (4)
  4. Dolphins (6)
  5. Bills (7) 

Dolphins-Bills is an early contender for game of the year. Obviously, the Miami offense -- the league's best by a mile -- against the Buffalo defense is the biggest storyline. But the flip side is intriguing, too: Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense has been much improved after a Week 1 disaster, and the Miami defense has a chance to show its talented individuals can form a consistent unit. I think Pete is underrating the Dolphins, but time (Sunday) will tell!

You can see Pete's full rankings here.

🏌 Ranking the Ryder Cup field: Europe populates top, bottom

2023 Ryder Cup - Previews
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Ranking the field is never easy in golf, even if Kyle Porter makes it look that way. But it's especially difficult at the Ryder Cup where the team aspect makes the golf, and therefore the rankings, much more complicated than normal.

Yet Kyle is back with another excellent ranking, 1-24, and here's his top five ...

  1. Rory McIlroy (Europe) -- "McIlroy has had the best statistical two-year run of his career."
  2. Viktor Hovland (Europe) -- "He picked a great time to find his best golf."
  3. Jon Rahm (Europe) -- "Rahm has cooled off more than the other two but not enough to dissuade me from what I saw in 2021, which was a single golfer carrying an entire continent toward a finish line they never really sniffed."
  4. Scottie Scheffler (U.S.) -- "In this team format, Scheffler has a chance to truly excel."
  5. Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) -- "I think his nice finish to the season (top 15 in his last three tournaments) and overall Ryder Cup record (3-0-1) warrants this spot."

Fear not, U.S. fans: Europe may have Kyle's top three, but it also has his bottom three. Plus, there will always be surprises, breakouts and letdowns. Patrick McDonald has three sleepers for each side, including ...

  • McDonald: "Max Homa -- Despite being world No. 7 and a six-time winner, Homa is a prime candidate in my eyes. Fresh off his first top-10 major finish at The Open, Homa has since rattled off results of T6, T5, T9 and T7. As such, he rolls into Rome with some serious momentum. It would be putting it mildly to say he thrived at the 2022 Presidents Cup with a perfect 4-0-0 record in his U.S. team debut, and that may just be the beginning of his love affair for this type of stage."

I also enjoyed Kyle's story on former phenoms becoming sage vets and Patrick's deep dive into one of those players, Justin Thomas.

⚾ Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson dies at 86

Orioles legend Brooks Robinson died Tuesday at 86 years old.

  • The numbers are staggering. In his 23-year career, spent entirely with Baltimore, Robinson made 18 All-Star Games and won 16 Gold Gloves, two World Series, an MVP, a World Series MVP and an All-Star Game MVP.
  • He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 with 92% of the vote. I'm not sure how it wasn't higher.
  • An absolute wizard at third base, Robinson's 39.1 career defensive Wins Above Replacement is most ever at the position. The difference between him and No. 2 on the list (Adrián Beltré) is larger than the difference between Beltré and No. 13.
  • Robinson's 78.4 total WAR is seventh among third baseman and second among all Orioles, behind only Cal Ripken Jr.

As part of a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Robinson was "a model of excellence, durability, loyalty and winning baseball for the Orioles. ... I will always remember Brooks as a true gentleman who represented our game extraordinarily well on and off the field all his life."

On a personal note, my dad grew up in Baltimore as an ardent Orioles fan. He called Robinson "one of my childhood heroes." I'm sure an entire generation of Baltimoreans shares the sentiment.

⚽ Lionel Messi, Inter Miami in U.S. Open Cup final tonight

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When Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami, the club had never won a trophy. Then, one month after he joined, he led them to the Leagues Cup. And now, they're going for trophy No. 2 tonight in the U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+.

Yes, Messi has meant that much. He has transformed the club on and off the field, writes Pardeep Cattry. And the Herons hope he continues to do so tonight. Messi made a cameo in practice Tuesday, and manager Tata Martino said he'll wait "until the last minute" to see if Messi can play tonight.

Oh, and Messi's not the only star who could be missing.

If Messi can produce more magic, though, it would be career trophy No. 45. Jonathan Johnson ranked the top 10 trophies of Messi's career, and Chuck Booth looked at the key questions ahead of the match.

📺 What we're watching Wednesday

U.S. Open Cup final: Inter Miami vs. Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+