MLB Week in Review (July 21-27)

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As the MLB Season creeps into crunch time teams are put into certain spots in the psyche of the MLB world. Some teams become the basement dwellers who will have no hope of making the postseason. These teams begin to look to the future around this point in the season as they concentrate on prospects that they can bring up to get some experience in the majors. For these teams there is little hope and so they look to next year and beyond for their team. Then there are those who are in the hunt, which is especially true this year as more teams that ever are within striking distance of the two wild card spots available in 2012. For these teams the remaining season is more important than ever as they look to make their last push into the postseason. Then there are those teams that are so far ahead of everyone that their hopes of the postseason are all but met. For these teams the rest of the season is still important but it can act more as a warm up to the postseason. These teams begin to look at what they can improve on to make a run at the World Series. For all of these teams July 31st is a big day as teams come to the Trade Deadline. After 4:00 pm on July 31st teams are no longer allowed to trade players, the only exception is a waiver wire trade. For many this date is essential to their season as teams become sellers and buyers leading up to the trade deadline. For those who are out of the postseason race there superstars may be up for grabs. These teams look to add prospects into the team in order to improve for the future. To add these prospects they offer up many of their veteran players to unload the salaries and get young. For those who are in the heart of the race these veteran players are the people they are looking for. Teams that are fighting it out for the postseason are looking for the few pieces they can add to give them that last push. Many of these teams are missing only a few impact players on their teams and they look to the trade deadline as a way to fill those holes as they race to the postseason. For those teams in the driver’s seat the trade deadline can be a way to get that one last piece of the puzzle that will give them a shot at the World Series. For these teams it is not imperative that they find someone at the trade deadline but if the right deal comes up they will take it to improve their team. The action has already started this year for the trade deadline as teams have been active and big names have changed hands. A trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros was the first big trade to kick off the trade deadline frenzy. This trade was an attempt by the Jays to add pitching to a devastated roster as they received J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. In return the Astros, who are out of the playoff hunt, received a handful of prospects to grow their farm system. It was the first trade that really go the ball moving as other pieces soon began to fall. Four Days after the Toronto-Houston another big deal was struck but it was more about the name than the ability in the trade. The New York Yankees traded a few prospects to the Seattle Mariners for longtime Japanese great Ichiro Suzuki in a move that seemed more sympathetic than anything else. The Yankees essentially added Suzuki to give him a shot at a title as he has lost much of what made him great in the past. The deals continued to roll as the Pirates added Wandy Rodriguez for their postseason run and the Dodgers added Hanley Ramirez in an attempt to catch the Giants for the division. A few names have already gone down but there are plenty more to go with Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Chase Headley, Hunter Pence, and many more on the market there are sure to be a few more trades before the July 31st deadline as teams continue to push to the postseason.

With close to two months left in the MLB season the postseason races are beginning to heat up as teams look to get one of the coveted spots in the playoffs. There are the usual suspects in the race as the AL East continues to be in the mix while the National League continues to see San Francisco in the mix. There is also a major change this year as there will be more teams than ever in the hunt with the addition of the second wild card. This year there will be two wild card spots available with both wild card teams playing a single game elimination to start the postseason. As a result of this second spot in the postseason more teams will have the opportunity to earn a playoff spot. The race will be longer than usual as one team cannot lock up a spot and force the rest to look to next year. Instead the two wild card spots will hope to bring some thrill to September baseball and possibly reflect the crazy last night of the 2011 season. It has already shown it’s worth with new teams in the hunt this year that had been previously out of the race. Instead of teams like Pittsburgh and Oakland looking to next year they began to make a push for the postseason this year and are now at the centre of the postseason race. It will be a great last two months as some teams have already fallen out but more teams than ever could be playing for a playoff spot in September.

 

MLB Standings

American League

East:

1. New York Yankees (.606)

2. Baltimore Orioles (.520)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (.510)

4. Toronto Blue Jays (.505)

5. Boston Red Sox (.490)

Central:

1. Chicago White Sox (.545)

2. Detroit Tigers (.530)

3. Cleveland Indians (.500)

4. Kansas City Royals (.414)

5. Minnesota Twins (.414)

West:

1. Texas Rangers (.592)

2. Los Angeles Angels (.550)

3. Oakland Atheltics (.545)

4. Seattle Mariners (.441)

 

National league

East:

1. Washington Nationals (.596)

2. Atlanta Braves (.556)

3. New York Mets (.480)

4. Miami Marlins (.455)

5. Philadelphia Phillies (.450)

Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds (.596)

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.576)

3. St. Louis Cardinals (.540)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.455)

5. Chicago Cubs (.408)

6. Houston Astros (.337)

West:

1. San Francisco Giants (.556)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.535)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (.500)

4. San Diego Padres (.426)

5. Colorado Rockies (.378)

 

Key Scores:

Detroit Tigers 7 – 1 Chicago White Sox

– In the battle for the AL Central the White Sox were sitting pretty until Detroit began to come alive in the second half as they have been able to catch the White Sox and this win helped as they climbed into a tight race for the Central

 

Oakland Athletics 5 – 4 New York Yankees

– The Yankees are one of the strongest teams in the MLB right now but that didn’t phase the A’s as they competed the sweep of the Yankees to continue their hot streak as they sprint to the finish in the AL wild card race

 

Washington Nationals 5 – 2 New York Mets

– Stephen Strasburg continued his strong year with rumours swirling that he may be shut down near the end of the year to save his arm but in the meantime he was able to pick up a win to keep Washington’s lead in the NL East

 

Los Aangeles Dodgers 5 – 3 Sand Francisco Giants (10th)

– The Dodgers Giants rivalry has once again heated up in this second half with San Francisco at the top of the West division and the Dodgers looking to get back and the win in the 10th inning looks to launch themselves into a good last two months

 

Next Week:

Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles (July 28th; 7:05 pm ET)

– As the AL Wild Card race heats up the A’s continue their tour of the AL East where some of their biggest competition for one of the two wild cards rests including the Orioles who will be looking make up ground against the hottest team in baseball

 

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs (July 30th; 8:05 pm ET)

– The Pirates finally have a great chance at earning a playoff spot and will look to add to their lead in the NL Wild Card race as they take on the once again struggling Cubs who have nothing to lose in this game

 

Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers (August 1st; 8:05 pm ET)

– The Los Angeles Angels are looking good this year and may even be able to make the Wild Card after years of sitting just outside but they will not stop there as they look to close-in on the AL West leader the Texas Rangers who have slowed down since a hot start to the season

 

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (August 3rd; 7:10 pm ET)

– It is going to be a tight race down the stretch for most playoff races and in the NL Central it could be tightest race as Pittsburgh looks to get back to the top of the division and will take on the Reds in hopes of getting there

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