MLB Week in Review (Sept. 22-28)

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The MLB season is close to finished with only half of a week left in the season as the postseason is right around the corner. With that there are only a few days left for teams to solidify their spots in the postseason. For the National League the postseason race is quickly closing as teams have already taken their place in the postseason. The divisional races were tight but almost all are now finished. The NL West was a tight battle between two long time rivals as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants fought it out for the division. The Dodgers started strong and looked like they were early favorites to win the division while the Giants were the opposite as they started terribly in the beginning of the year. As the season wore on both teams began evening out until the Giants began their run behind a reworked offence and a strong pitching corps. This week the Giants finished their run by clinching the NL West division and forcing the Dodgers into the wild card race. The NL Central was another tight race as the Pirates started the season looking like they could finally make the playoffs. As the season progressed the usual suspect rose up though as the Reds and the Cardinals began to take over. Ultimately it came down to this week when the Reds took the division leaving the Cards in the fight for the wild card. The only NL division that has not been determined is the NL East as the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves still fight it out for the division. The Nationals have been the surprise of the season as they have gone from worst to first and were one of the first teams to clinch a playoff spot in the MLB. Meanwhile the Atlanta Braves have kept the fight close continuing to be in the running. Both teams will make the postseason but one will be the top team in the National League and the other will host the National League Wild Card game. The NL Wild card is still up for grabs but only one spot is left with three teams looking to get that last spot. The Cardinals are sitting in the spot right now and are looking closer to taking the spot while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers sit on the outside and will need a little bit of luck to get into the postseason. The National League has essentially been figured out as only one spot remains and that will likely be taken in the next couple of days. In the American League everything is up for grabs as there are currently no postseason spots locked up. In the AL East there are two teams fighting for the division while another sits on the outside. The Yankees and Orioles have been fighting for the East all year and as the season came to the end the Orioles have pressed the Yankees more and more and could take the battle to the final days. Both teams will likely make the postseason but the position will be up for the fight as one team will likely make the wild card while the other will get the division. In the AL Central the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers have been back and forth for the division all year. The fight is a very close one as the Tigers sit in the top spot while the White Sox are on the outside. The stakes are high for this division race as the loser of the race will not make the wild card and will be out of the postseason. The AL West is the one division that is close to being finished as the Texas Rangers have stayed at the top of the division all year and have fended off the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. Now they sit ahead of both teams and will only need a few wins to take the division. The wild card in the American League is wide open with the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics holding the spots right now. Meanwhile on the outside the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels continue to look for wins and a little help to get their chance at the wild card game. The postseason is only days away and as the National League begins to figure out their matchups the American League is up for grabs. It will be an interesting last 5 days of the season as teams will finally solidify their spot in the postseason and begin to prepare for October baseball and one of the most exciting times in the 2012 season.

As the teams continue to fight for their postseason life players continue to try to help their teams get there. The best of these players are also doing everything they can to earn their own accolades as they do their best to earn the MVP. The MVP races are heating up in the National League and American League as the pools for both awards have been reduced to the select few. In the National League the MVP race will likely come down to Buster Posey and Andrew McCutcheon. Many will say Ryan Braun deserves a shot at repeating but voters will likely keep him out of the voting for his steroid issues last year. Andrew McCutcheon has been the leader of the Pirates and is a large reason to why they were the division leaders at the beginning of the season. Meanwhile The Giants were thrilled to have Posey back after a season that was ended early by injury in 2011. Posey has let the offence for the Giants and has helped them to the NL West crown and a postseason berth. This could be the difference in the MVP race as Posey has a better team and a chance at winning the World Series while McCutcheon doesn’t. It shouldn’t matter which team is better but voters might see it that way with Posey the frontrunner while McCutcheon has a good shot if the voters see past the bad team. In the American League the race is looking to come down to Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. Cabrera does have a massive leg up in the competition with the potential of a Triple Crown, the first since 1967. Cabrera sits in 1st for batting average (.346), 1st in RBIs (133), and 2nd in Home Runs (42- Josh Hamilton has 43). If Cabrera can win the Triple Crown there is very little stopping him from getting the MVP award as well. Rookie wonder boy Mike Trout may have something to say about that as he has done amazing things in his first year in the majors. There is no doubt he is the best player on the Angels and the things he can do on defence and on offence make him a strong candidate for MVP, also really the only candidate for Rookie of the Year in the AL. This award may also come down to which team, Detroit or Los Angeles, will make the playoffs although it could be a toss-up for both players. The MVP race and the Postseason race are both heating up and will come down right to the end for another great finish to the season.

 

MLB Standings

American League
Division Leaders:
1. Texas Rangers (.586)
2. New York Yankees (.580)
3. Detroit Tigers (.535)

 

Wild Card:
4. Baltimore Orioles (.573)
5. Oakland Athletics (.567)

 

In the Hunt:
6. Los Angeles Angels (2.0)
7. Tampa Bay Rays (3.0)

 

Out of the Running:
8. Chicago White Sox (6.0)
9. Seattle Mariners (16.0)
10. Kansas City Royals (19.0)
11. Boston Red Sox (20.0)
12. Toronto Blue Jays (20.0)
13. Cleveland Indians (23.0)
14. Minnesota Twins (23.0)

 

National League
Division Leaders:
1. x-Washington Nationals (.605)
2. y-Cincinnati Reds (.605)
3. y-San Francisco Giants (.586)

 

Wild Card:
4. x-Atlanta Braves (.580)
5. St. Louis Cardinals (.541)

 

In the Hunt:
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (3.0)
7. Milwaukee Brewers (5.0)

 

Out of the Running:
8. Arizona Diamondbacks (6.0)
9. Philadelphia Phillies (7.0)
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (9.0)
11. San Diego Padres (11.0)
12. New York Mets (12.0)
13. Miami Marlins (18.0)
14. Colorado Rockies (23.0)
15. Chicago Cubs (26.0)
16. Houston Astros (33.0)

 

x- Clinched playoff berth
y- Clinched Division

 

Key Scores:
Atlanta Braves 8 – 2 Philadelphia Phillies
– The Philadelphia Phillies had a great run at the end of the season that saw them make it to the heart of the wild card race but they fell just short of a great comeback with a loss to the Wild Card leading Braves who would eventually clinch a playoff spot

 

Cincinnati Reds 6 – 0 Los Angeles Dodgers
– The Reds did not start off the year in great shape as they were surprised by the resurgence of the Pirates but as the season moved on the Reds showed that they were the team to beat and a win against the Dodgers solidified their place at the top of the division

San Francisco Giants 8 – 4 San Diego Padres
– The San Francisco Giants were in one of the tightest division races in the MLB and a win against the Padres helped them to end the race as they clinched the NL West division and will look to make another run at the World Series

 

Oakland Athletics 9 – 3 Texas Rangers
– The fight for the AL West continues as the A’s continue to put distance between them and the rest of the people in the wild card race while a win against the Rangers keeps them in the hunt for the division crown

 

Next Week:
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays (September 29th; 1:07 pm EDT)
– It is an extremely tight race in the AL East as the Yankees need every win they can get to fend off the Baltimore Orioles as the Blue Jays look to play spoiler and give the O’s a chance to win the division

 

Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals (September 30th; 2:15 pm EDT)
– The Cardinals are looking for a repeat of the 2011 season when they made the wild card and took their momentum to the World Series and a win against the Nats could put them in the playoffs for good

 

Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (October 1st; 7:05 pm EDT)
– The AL Central is another tight race and the White Sox have no other options than to win the division as they are out of the wild card hunt and with only one game separating them from the Tigers every game becomes important

 

Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics (October 3rd; 3:35 pm EDT)
– At this point in the season the division race may be over between these two but the wild card race could still be going on and could come down to this game as the A’s will need every win to stay ahead of the rest of the teams

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