MLB Week in Review (July 28-August 3)

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Rivalries in sport are the lifeblood of any league as they create the most passionate fans and the best games. Most leagues have these bitter rivalries that last for years and even decades and they can be formed for a number of reasons. In the MLB this is no different as rivalries drive the league and make for some of the best baseball every year. In the MLB the rivalries also have a little more history behind them due to the rich history of the league. Still the MLB has seen new rivalries creep up and old rivalries continue on for a number of different reasons. The biggest reason is usually geographic as teams that play close together generally do not like each other. In the MLB this is generally seen when interleague play begins as teams from the same state and sometimes the same city face off. These are the rivalries of legends because they split families and friends between the two teams. Rivalries like the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox or the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. These rivalries are intense but are made only because of the geographic relation to each other and not much more. Then there are the league rivalries between teams in the American or National League that are formed in a much different way. These rivalries are formed through the postseason as teams who face off against each other in the playoffs regularly begin to form bad blood. Rivalries like the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics have formed through years of playing in the postseason against each other, despite the lack of a rivalry in the last few years. These rivalries use the history of the postseason and every year they face each other the legend grows. Finally there are the divisional rivalries that are at home in the divisions of each league. Many may consider every team in the division to be rivals but there are only a handful of true rivalries in the divisions. These rivalries are formed from the simple fact that the teams play each other constantly every year. As they continue to play each other events happen in games and create bad blood. Then there is the race for the division title as certain teams are always at the top of the division near the end of the year. This creates even more bad blood as games become more important and players play harder than ever to see who can come out on top. These are some of the biggest rivalries in the league as they include the Yankees-Red Sox, Dodgers-Giants, and Cardinals-Brewers. The MLB has seen all of these rivalries once again in 2012 but there are also some new rivalries that are beginning to make themselves known in the divisions. In the AL East a battle between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays could be the beginning of another East rivalry, and the O’s are hoping for it. In the AL West the Texas Rangers are beginning to see a new rivalry get even bigger with the Los Angeles Angels. In the National League East the emergence of the Nationals has given rise to a new rivalry with the Braves that could become something much bigger. These rivalries and many more will take on a new meaning in the coming months as only two months stand between some teams and the postseason. As the postseason approaches the rivalries in the division become that much more important as teams begin to play their divisions more and more. All of these rivalries will mean more as well with teams looking for only a few wins to keep pace and they will try to get them while taking on their rivals. The two months left in the season will be exciting and rivalries will play a big role as teams continue to fight for the postseason.

The Trade Deadline has passed by now with teams picking up some key pieces on their postseason runs. Teams began adding that one pitcher or that one bat that could possibly give them the boost they need to get into the playoffs. The teams rushed to get these players in the last two weeks before the deadline but there is still room for more trades this year. Last week saw the non-waiver wire trade deadline come and go with a number of trades improving some teams and leaving other teams with more money in the offseason. There is still a chance for trades after this deadline with the waiver wire trade deadline still to come. Waiver Wire trades are a bit of a science as the teams must place a player on the waiver wire, where any other team could pick up his contract, before they are able to see a trade. This can be dangerous for teams as they could lose a player without getting anything in return if a team decides to pick them up while on the wire. This causes many big names not to be traded in this style but this year there was a major name to be talked about on the waiver wire. After an unsuccessful attempt to trade Cliff Lee before the trade deadline the Philadelphia Phillies placed him on waivers. They decided to gamble with the veteran pitcher mainly due to the big contract that Lee has. The Phillies were hoping that no team would want to take on the contract and he would clear waivers and then be eligible for a trade. It did not exactly work according to plan though as the Texas rangers made a claim forcing the Phillies to either trade Lee to the Rangers or to keep him on their team for the rest of the year. This was just one of the few players that could be available on the waiver wire as teams make a last effort to add someone before the postseason.

 

MLB Standings

 

American League

East:

1. New York Yankees (.590)

2. Tampa Bay Rays (.528)

3. Baltimore Orioles (.519)

4. Boston Red Sox (.495)

5. Toronto Blue Jays (.481)

Central:

1. Chicago White Sox (.552)

2. Detroit Tigers (.528)

3. Cleveland Indians (.472)

4. Minnesota Twins (.434)

5. Kansas City Royals (.419)

West:

1. Texas Rangers (.590)

2. Oakland Athletics (.547)

3. Los Angeles Angels (.533)

4. Seattle Mariners (.463)

 

National League

East:

1. Washington Nationals (.594)

2. Atlanta Braves (.575)

3. New York Mets (.486)

4. Miami Marlins (.458)

5. Philadelphia Phillies (.443)

Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds (.613)

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.571)

3. St. Louis Cardinals (.538)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.457)

5. Chicago Cubs (.413)

6. Houston Astros (.327)

West:

1. San Francisco Giants (.538)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.533)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (.519)

4. San Diego Padres (.417)

5. Colorado Rockies (.365)

 

Key Scores:

Los Angeles Dodgers 10 – 0 San Francisco Giants

– The Dodgers took a chunk out of their longtime divisional rivals as they exploded against Barry Zito for 10 runs while shutting down the Giants offence to draw closer to the top spot in the NL West division

 

Oakland Athletics 4 – 3 Tampa Bay Rays

– The Oakland Athletics continued on their strong run towards the playoffs as they were able to beat the Tampa Bay Rays during their tour of the AL East continuing on a great record against one of the best divisions in baseball

 

Texas Rangers 11 – 10 Los Angeles Angels (10th)

– It is quickly turning into one of the best divisional rivalries in baseball as the Angels and Rangers fight it out in the AL West with results like this comeback victory by the Rangers who were down 7-1 in the 5th only to win it in the 10th inning

 

Tampa Bay Rays 2 – 0 Baltimore Orioles

– The Rays and O’s are fighting it out in the AL East to earn a wild card spot down the stretch as the Rays took one game form the Orioles and moved ahead of the Orioles and look to continue to do so throughout the last two months

 

Next Week:

Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (August 4th; 7:15 pm EDT)

– A classic rivalry of two beer towns will take place once again as both teams look to make one final run at the playoffs with both sitting on the outside looking in right now although the Cardinals are in the same spot as last year when they won the World Series

 

Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics (August 6th; 10:05 pm EDT)

– It may not be the most storied rivalry but the A’s and the Angels are beginning to play meaningful baseball with the Angels looking to the wild card spot for the first time in years and the Athletics making an unexpected run at the postseason

 

San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals (August 8th; 8:15 pm EDT)

– The past two World Series champions go head to head as both are looking for another berth in the postseason with the Giants looking to pull ahead in with the division lead and the Cardinals looking to make yet another last minute run

 

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (August 10th; 7:10 pm EDT)

– The Mets have been playing much better this year but are still out of a playoff spot as they take on the Braves who a5re sitting ahead of them in the division as the Mets look to take a chunk out of the wild card lead

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