MLB Week in Review (August 25-31)

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The MLB has officially entered its last full month of the regular season as the postseason runs kick into overdrive. Teams have at this point figured out where they stand as some teams are looking to 2013, others are looking to the postseason, and even more are fighting until the last day. As the teams begin to prepare more for their eventual fate the September 1st date become that much more important. It is not just a date for playoff teams or for teams out of the playoffs as every team in the MLB looks to that date with some sense of hope. September 1st is the day that the MLB rosters get expanded from 25 to 40 players. The MLB roster is made up of 40 players that are signed to major-league contracts. Out of these 40 players there are only 25 of them with the major league club at any given time. The other 15 members of the 40-man roster generally play in the minor leagues for most of the season. These 15 players also act as relief for the major league club as they can be called up to the major league club and option back to the minors at any time throughout the season. On September 1st, though the MLB team roster expands to include every man on the 40-man roster as an extra 15 players are added to major league teams. This means that dugouts and bullpens will be a little more crowded for the rest of the season. MLB teams enjoy this period for a number of different reasons and it usually depends on what situation the team is in at the beginning of September. For those teams in the postseason and having a good shot at keeping their spots the September 1st deadline is about relief. The teams that are looking to make a World Series run are the teams that will be in need of their star players more than anyone. The expansion of the rosters gives these teams the chance to bring in more players that can split up starts and give the star players their rest. This manifests itself in the pitching staff more than anywhere as bullpens grow to spread out the use of shut down pitchers. Of course most of these players will not get a good number of starts until the team has made the postseason but it still provides a safety net for the upcoming run. Teams that are fighting for a spot use the expansion of the roster for a chance to add more firepower to their lineups. This is the time that these teams get to see some of their best prospects step and hopefully give them the added boost they need to earn a spot in the postseason. It is also to provide some extra help for players that have gone through the grind as they can get a few extra days to refresh. For those teams that are all but mathematically out the expansion of the rosters is all about the 2013 campaign. For them it is a chance to see some of their top prospects and how they adjust to the major leagues. It is also a chance for their prospects to get a taste of the major leagues in order to better understand where they need to get to and what they need to improve to become a permanent roster player. This is a very important time for these teams as they need to find out what they have for the upcoming year to get a better sense of what they need to do to avoid the same situation in 2013. September 1st is an important day for all of these teams as each one of them has different reasons to expand their roster with the season winding down in the last month.

The MLB and its fans are eagerly awaiting the September month to start as the thoughts of last year are clearly in the heads of everyone. This time last year was the start of the epic collapses of the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. It was also the beginning of the meteoric rise of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays. It was this time last year that the MLB saw their best playoff race in years begin to take fold yet nobody realized it at the time. This year the expectations are raised as fans hope for yet another fantastic finish to the MLB season. As of right now that may just happen, although it may not come down to the very last day like it did in 2011. In the American League there are three teams under 10 games back while another four are less than 15 games back. Any one of these teams can make a run in this last month and knock off the Athletics or Orioles. The biggest battle will be in the AL East as the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays continue to fight it out for second place and a berth in the one of the two wild card spots. In the National League the competition is getting intense with 7 teams under 10 games back. Likely though many of the teams will be out as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers are the only real threats to the wild card. Still with only four teams truly in the mix the fact that they are all so close makes the race that much better. This year the postseason race is a tight one and with only one month left to go the race may be able to rival 2011. It will be an interesting last month with plenty to look forward to as teams march towards the postseason and the World Series.

 

MLB Standings

 

American League

Division Leaders:

1. Texas Rangers (.595)

2. New York Yankees (.573)

3. Chicago White Sox (.550)

 

Wild Card:

4. Oakland Athletics (.565)

5. Baltimore Orioles (.557)

 

In the Hunt (GB):

6. Tampa Bay Rays (2.5)

7. Detroit Tigers (3.0)

8. Los Angeles Angels (3.5)

9. Seattle Mariners (10.0)

10. Boston Red Sox (12.0)

11. Toronto Blue Jays (13.0)

12. Kansas City Royals (13.5)

13. Cleveland Indians (18.5)

14. Minnesota Twins (20.0)

 

National League

Division leaders:

1. Cincinnati Reds (.609)

2. Washington Nationals (.611)

3. San Francisco Giants (.561)

 

Wild Card:

4. Atlanta Braves (.561)

5. St. Louis Cardinals (.538)

 

In the Hunt (GB):

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (0.5)

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (1.5)

8. Arizona Diamondbacks (5.5)

9. Milwaukee Brewers (7.5)

10. Philadelphia Phillies (8.0)

11. New York Mets (9.0)

12. San Diego Padres (9.5)

13. Miami Marlins (12.0)

14. Colorado Rockies (17.0)

15. Chicago Cubs (19.5)

 

Eliminated:

16. Houston Astros (31.0)

 

Key Scores:

Oakland Athletics 4 – 2 Tampa Bay Rays

– The A’s are sitting in a playoff spot for the first time in years while the Rays are just looking to get back in the wild card but a loss to Oakland put them slightly further back in what promises to be a very exciting race

 

St. Louis Cardinals 4 – 3 Pittsburgh Pirates

– The Cards are looking to repeat last year and earn a wild card spot while the Pirates are looking to take the spot away to finally get back to the postseason as both battled it out with the Cards coming out on top in this game

 

Los Angeles Angels 6 – 5 Boston Red Sox

– The Red Sox are simply looking to be spoilers this year and they almost played that role against the Angels who are in the wild card hunt but Torii Hunter came through in the clutch with a walk-off SAC fly

 

San Francisco Giants 8 – 4 Houston Astros

– As the Giants continued to win and pad their lead in the West but the bigger story was that the Houston Astros became the firs team mathematically eliminated from the playoffs despite being out much earlier in reality

 

Next Week:

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves (September 1st; 1:05 pm EDT)

– The Phillies have made a late season surge and are now 8 games out of the wild card as this series against the Braves, who hold one of the two wild card spots, will be very important if the Phillies wish to be in the postseason this year

 

Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics (September 3rd; 4:05 pm EDT)

– This battle of two California teams has been a tight one this year as both are fighting for a wild card spot and second in the division as the A’s currently hold the spot with the Angels sitting 3.5 games back making this series an important one for both teams

 

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (September 6th; 7:05 pm EDT)

– The Baltimore Orioles are on the verge of having their best season in a decade and making the postseason but that won’t stop them from trying to unseat the division leading Yankees in an attempt to win the division

 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants (September 7th; 10:15 pm EDT)

– The Dodgers and Giants are continuing a long-standing rivalry and a battle that has been going on all year as the Dodgers will look to take the win and get closer to the wild card and the division lead

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