MLB Week in Review (August 17-23)

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The MLB is revving up for the playoffs race as teams get ready to fight for their chance to play in the postseason. There are plenty of teams that will likely not make it but for the few that have a chance, these next weeks are more important than ever. Teams need to muster everything they can get to try to earn wins and climb into a playoff spot. Every team will be looking to get something that can put them over the top of the other teams. They are looking for that x-factor that can push them just enough to earn a playoff spot and take a trip to the postseason. This can come in many forms but one thing that many teams are seeing is the use of their young stars to give the team a boost. Last year it was Manny Machado who would come in late in the season for the Baltimore Orioles. Machado would make his mark in the majors immediately hitting two HRs in his second MLB game. Machado would move on to be one of the best young players in the MLB with great defence and some major power. He would also help the Orioles to the postseason helping them to earn the wild card playoff spot. As teams looked on they would see a rookie take over a team and help them to the postseason and all would begin looking in their own backyard for someone similar. Teams were looking for those special players that could help them be a postseason team and age did not matter anymore. The youth movement in the MLB has been taking over as young players are having a bigger impact than ever. This year the next Manny Machado, Mike Trout, or Bryce Harper could be playing right now or could be waiting in the wings until rosters expand. Players like Yasiel Puig, Wil Myers, and Xander Bogaerts are making their names known in the league this year. More importantly all are making an impact for a team that is right in the hunt for the postseason. These players can be the difference for these teams when it comes down to the end of September these players could be the X-factors that teams need. They are young players that have plenty in the gas tank even after a full season playing in the minor and major leagues. They will have enough left to try be relied upon in the postseason as the veterans may begin to wear down. If these young players are good enough they could end up being the players who make the biggest impact on the postseason as any of the young players this year could be the story of the postseason. On September 1st all of the young stars in the MLB including players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Oscar Taveras, Francisco Lindor, and Archie Bradley could all see their chance to crack an MLB lineup. If they are called up they may be looked at to provide something extra to teams in the playoff hunt. All teams in the hunt will be looking for that something extra as they try to get something over the other teams fighting for a playoff spot. The league is gearing up once again for a great chase as the last month of the season is full of the unexpected. New stars will emerge and stories will develop as September baseball is around the corner with plenty of teams still in the hunt for the MLB postseason.

 

Extra Innings:
(Thoughts on the past week in the MLB)

4K for Ichiro
Ichiro Suzuki has been known as one of the best hitters in baseball with an awkward swing that seems to make contact more often than not and this past week he would enter a special group of hitters earning his 4,000 hit

Immaturity Shining Through
Yasiel Puig has been one of the most exciting rookies in the league but this week he would show his age and would show the reason why young players are risky as he would be benched after arriving at the ball park 1.5 hours late showing his immaturity

The Punishment
Ryan Dempster would keep A-Rod in the headlines as he would hit the third baseman in his first at bat in what many saw as a sort of frontier justice for his PED use in an act that would earn Dempster a 5-game suspension

Big Loss for Braves
In a scary moment for the Atlanta Brace Jason Heyward would take a pitch off of the helmet that would ricochet and hit his jaw causing a fracture and taking out one of their key players for the postseason after Heyward would undergo surgery this week

 

MLB Standings

American League
Division Leaders:
1. Boston Red Sox (.581)
2. Detroit Tigers (.586)
3. Texas Rangers (.586)
Wild Card:
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.579)
5. Oakland Athletics (.559)
In the Hunt (GB):
6. Baltimore Orioles (2.0)
7. Cleveland Indians (2.5)
8. New York Yankees (3.5)
9. Kansas City Royals (7.0)
10. Seattle Mariners (11.5)
11. Minnesota Twins (14.0)
12. Toronto Blue Jays (15.0)
13. Los Angeles Angels (15.5)
14. Chicago White Sox (19.0)
15. Houston Astros (29.0)

 

National League
Division Leaders:
1. Atlanta Braves (.602)
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (.591)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (.591)
Wild Card:
4. St. Louis Cardinals (.586)
5. Cincinnati Reds (.566)
In the Hunt (GB):
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (7.0)
7. Washington Nationals (8.5)
8. Colorado Rockies (13.5)
9. New York Mets (13.5)
10. Philadelphia Phillies (14.5)
11. San Diego Padres (15.0)
12. San Francisco Giants (16.0)
13. Milwaukee Brewers (16.5)
14. Chicago Cubs (18.0)
15. Miami Marlins (24.0)

 

Scores:
Washington Nationals 8 – 7 Atlanta Braves (15th)
– The Nats still have a chance to make the postseason this year but they need to put together a great last month and this game would be a good start as the Nats beat the division leading Braves after a marathon 15 inning game

New York Yankees 9 – 6 Boston Red Sox
– The second inning would see Ryan Dempster hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch showing that the rivalry between the two teams is alive and well but A-Rod would get the last laugh hitting a HR off of Dempster in the sixth that started a 4-run rally

New York Mets 5 – 3 Atlanta Braves
– The Mets would get a glimpse of their future against the Braves as they would bring out 23-year-old starting pitcher Zack Wheeler who would have a great start and show the Mets fans what they can hope for in the future

New York Yankees 4 – 2 Toronto Blue Jays
– The Yankees would continue their domination of the Blue Jays in this win but more importantly Ichiro Suzuki would become only the third player to earn 4,000 hits over his professional career

 

Next Week:
Detroit Tigers vs. New York Mets (Saturday August 24th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The game may not have huge postseason implications but the pitching matchup is something to see as Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer go head to head as the Tigers look to continue to extend their division lead while the Mets look to finish the season with some success

Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Sunday August 25th; 2:15 pm ET)
– Two powerhouse teams this year face off as both teams look to continue their lead in their respective divisions as Atlanta and St. Louis are both on their way to the postseason but both need to extend their leads in tight races

Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Tuesday August 27th; 8:15 pm ET)
– The NL Central division is going to come down to the end of the season with three different teams looking to get the division lead and two will face off in a rivalry that has been going all year between the Reds and Cards

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Friday August 30th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Cards will once again be involved in a key series next week when they take on the Pirates as the central division continues to be one of the best division races in the league making an important week for the Cards

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