MLB Week in Review (Sept. 1-7)

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As the Season continues to close out there is still some time to look back at some of the seasons from certain teams. There are a handful of teams left battling for a realistic shot at the wild card spot but many more are beginning to drop out of the race. They may not be mathematically out of the postseason but in the way that many have played will not make the postseason. Many of these teams just learned of their fate as their attempt at a late run has all but been taken away. Then there are those teams who have been out of the postseason race for a few months. Then there are the Boston Red Sox who have seemingly been out of the 2012 postseason race since the end of the 2011 season. At the beginning of September in the 2011 season the Red Sox looked to be on their way back to the postseason for another year. It was not the division title they wanted but it was the wild card spot that would give them a shot. Then it all fell apart as the team dropped their 15 game wild card lead going 7-20 in the last month of the season. It was the biggest collapse in MLB history as the Red Sox had let a massive lead slip away in the last month of the season. They went into the offseason still wondering what happened when reports surfaced that players had been in the dressing room drinking beer and eating chicken while the game was going on. The report seemed to be a sign that players in Boston simply didn’t care about the team even if they were pitchers that were not playing that day or the next day. As these reports became a big story the Red Sox began looking for someone to fix the issues and replace the now retired Terry Francona. In came a well-known hard nosed manager Bobby Valentine who had a reputation of running a no-nonsense team while also gained a reputation for not being a favorite of players. The Red Sox were hoping that Valentine would change the team and continue their winning tradition without the lack of discipline on the team. For the Red Sox the 2012 season started with some promise as they were expected to fight in the Al East once again. Everything they had hoped for did not come to fruition though as the Red Sox struggled out of the gate. Since the start of the season the Red Sox have continued to struggle sitting at the bottom of the division the entire year. Nothing was fixed as the BoSox have been an absolute disaster all season. The rough start added to the loss and insult of one of the Red Sox fan favorites Kevin Youkilis was a clear sign that the strong seasons from Boston could be coming to an end. Many people have blamed Bobby Valentine for the continued collapse but it has not been only his fault. Granted Valentine clearly is not the man for the job in Boston but the players need to take a big chunk of the blame. For a long time the Red Sox have been a team full of individuals. There are the few team players like Kevin Youkilis but most of the Boston players are more about themselves than the team. Terry Francona somehow made it work but Francona is a special manager. The Red Sox need a change in attitude but it cannot be forced like Valentine attempted to do. The solution could be bringing in former batting coach and current Blue Jays manager John Farrell as the rumours suggest. Still the Red Sox with or without a manager change need a big change as the old days of struggling could return unless they figure it out in 2013.

As the Red Sox struggle the AL East would seemingly be a two team race as the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees fight it out for the division. To add to the confusion in the AL East these teams are not the one fighting it out for the division. Instead the usual basement dwellers in the Baltimore Orioles have come alive in 2012 to get into the hunt for the division. It was not always this way though ass the Yankees seemed to be on the path to yet another division title while the O’s and Rays seemed to be in for a fight for the wild card. Then injuries hit the Yankees as some of their best players began to fall and the team began to lose. As the Yankees lost their grip on the division lessened. The Orioles took advantage as the expected trip up by a team that was never supposed to be good has yet to come. As the O’s and Yankees now fight it out in the last month of the season there is a possibility that the Orioles will go from worst to first in the toughest division in baseball. They have also buckled the trends of baseball as they do not have the biggest payroll and are not fazed by a division that produces champions almost yearly. With one month left there is plenty of baseball to play but for once the AL East race could take a focus for the actual race and not for the teams that are likely to take two spots in the postseason. It has been a wild year in the East and with one month left it will only get better as the postseason approaches.


MLB Postseason Race


American League
Division Leaders:
1. Texas Rangers (.594)
2. New York Yankees (.565)
3. Chicago White Sox (.540)


Wild Card:
4. Oakland Athletics (.562)
5. Baltimore Orioles (.558)


In the Hunt:
6. Tampa Bay Rays (1.0)
7. Los Angeles Angels (2.0)
8. Detroit Tigers (3.5)
9. Seattle Mariners (10.5)
10. Boston Red Sox (14.5)
11. Toronto Blue Jays (14.5)
12. Kansas City Royals (15.0)
13. Cleveland Indians (18.0)
14. Minnesota Twins (21.0)


National League: 
Division Leaders:
1. Washington Nationals (.616)
2. Cincinnati Reds (.597)
3. San Francisco Giants (.565)


Wild Card:
4. Atlanta Braves (.568)
5. St. Louis Cardinals (.536)


In the Hunt:
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (1.5)
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (1.5)
8. Milwaukee Brewers (6.0)
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (6.5)
10. Philadelphia Phillies (7.0)
11. New York Mets (9.0)
12. San Diego Padres (9.5)
13. Miami Marlins (12.0)
14. Colorado Rockies (17.5)
15. Chicago Cubs (22.0)


Out of the Running:
16. Houston Astros (31.0)


Key Scores:
Detroit Tigers 5 – 1 Chicago White Sox
– The Tigers and White Sox continue their late season battle for the AL Central as the Tigers continue to try to take the division and a postseason spot with a win against their division rivals


Los Angeles Angels 8 – 3 Oakland Athletics
– The battle for second place in the AL West continues one and with it comes one of the two wild card spots in the American League as the two California teams fight it out with the Angels getting the better hand this day


Philadelphia Phillies 6 – 2 Cincinnati Reds
– The Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of a late season surge and are looking to be the next great story in the MLB as they took on the division leading Reds to continue their move up the rankings and closer to the wild card spot


Baltimore Orioles 10 – 6 New York Yankees
– The Yankees are a very injured team and have been on the downslide for the last few weeks and while they do that the Orioles have caught up as the win against the division leaders put the Orioles in a tie for first in the AL East


Next Week:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants (September 8th; 4:05 pm EDT)
– The NL west is up for grabs as the Dodgers and Giants fight for the postseason spot after the Dodgers began the season great but slowed down and the Giants came on late to create a great divisional race


Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels (September 10th; 10:05 pm EDT)
– The Season is coming to a close and so division rivals get their chance to make an impact in the division and that is what the A’s and Angels are doing as they face off once again to take the second place spot in the division and possibly a wild card spot


Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds (September 12th; 7:10 pm EDT)
– The Pirates started the season great and looked to be on the road to the postseason but lately have struggled as they try to get back on track towards a wild card spot when they take on the division leading Reds


Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves (September 14th; 7:35 pm EDT)
– The Atlanta Braves are slowly losing their chance at the division as they look to start a comeback with their last chance to make a dent in the Nationals lead as they face off in another big divisional series

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