MLB Week in Review (September 14-20)

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With just over a week left in the MLB season the playoff picture is becoming much more clear with teams beginning to clinch. Two spots have been taken so far in the postseason while the remaining teams continue to drop out of the race. The Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be the first teams to punch their tickets to the postseason with plenty more to follow in the next week of games. The Red Sox and Dodgers have their own stories to the year but both began with everyone doubting that they would have an impact. The Boston Red Sox were coming off of a year where the franchise seemed to be in serious trouble. Reports of players eating and smoking in the locker room during games painted a picture of a franchise with serious issues. The Red Sox would bring in a new manager and the apparent rebuild would begin. It seemed like the Red Sox would need a complete change in their organization. Players had to be put in place and attitude adjustments would need to change. The process was expected to take at least a year as the Red Sox were predicted to sit at the bottom of the division by many. Then a great start would put the Red Sox near the top of the division alongside the New York Yankees like they had been for years. The Yankees would fall off as the season moved off though and would leave the Red Sox all by themselves at the top. Despite a small dip in play at points of the season the Red Sox would remain at the top and would clinch the first postseason spot in the American League and eventually the division. They would overcome what most thought would take them down as the Red Sox are here to stay and will make their run at another World Series to continue to prove everyone wrong. The Dodgers had a similar path as they were up against the defending champion San Francisco Giants. The Giants had ruled the West for the past few years and have taken it to two World Series Titles. The Dodgers have taken a backseat as they continued to be embroiled in an ownership battle. This offseason the battle would be finished with a new ownership group that showed their commitment in spending the 2nd most amount of money on payroll. The Dodgers were expected to do big things this year with an increased payroll that could compete with the New York Yankees. Then the hope fell apart with the Dodgers struggling to get anything going at the start of the season. The hype in the preseason seemed to be just that, hype, as the Dodgers looked to be out of the race early. Just as everyone counted them out the Dodgers began a run that coincided with the collapse of the Giants. The Dodgers would slowly take over the lead as the time passed and they would eliminate all challengers along the way. The Dodgers would clinch the division this week becoming the first division winner of the year and taking the first playoff spot of the year. Now the Dodgers and the Red Sox prepare for a run at the World Series with their spots secured in the postseason, although the Red Sox will continue to try to stay out of the wild card game. Meanwhile the rest of the races continue on especially in the wild card spots. The National League race continues on but barely as only three teams stand a chance of playing in the postseason as the Washington Nationals sitting 5 games back. The American League Wild card race is much more convoluted with Tampa Bay and Cleveland currently holding spots. With Texas struggling they have fallen out of the postseason and are hoping to get back and pick up their play to challenge Cleveland. There is not much time left for teams to make their final push to the postseason. As races begin to close every game is important as the final spots may just come down to the wire as the entire season may come down to the last week of the year.

 

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

Vlad Begins HOF Campaign
Vladimir Guerrero has announced his retirement and one of the greatest hitters to ever step into a batter’s box will officially begin his Hall of Fame campaign as he could be a first ballot hall of famer

Harvey to Rehab
The breakout star of the year Matt Harvey was shut down earlier this month with an arm injury and this week would decide to undergo rehab rather than surgery they would have kep him out for most of next year as he takes the quick but more risky route back

Classy move by the Nats
Tragedy struck in Washington earlier this week when a man opened fire on a the Naval base killing 12 and injuring three and the Nationals would try to honour the victims as best they could wearing Navy hats during BP to show that the city was thinking of all those affected

 

MLB Standings

American League
Division Leaders:
1. y-Boston Red Sox (.606)
2. Detroit Tigers (.584)
3. Oakland Athletics (.591)
Wild Card:
4. Tampa Bay Rays (.549)
5. Cleveland Indians (.545)
In the Hunt (GB):
6. Texas Rangers (0.5)
7. Baltimore Orioles (2.5)
8. Kansas City Royals (2.5)
9. New York Yankees (3.0)
10. Los Angeles Angels (8.5)
Out of the Running:
11. Toronto Blue Jays (13.5)
12. Seattle Mariners (17.0)
13. Minnesota Twins (18.5)
14. Chicago White Sox (23.5)
15. Houston Astros (33.0)

 

National League
Division Leaders:
1. Atlanta Braves (.595)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (.584)
3. y-Los Angeles Dodgers (.571)
Wild Card:
4. Cincinnati Reds (.571)
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (.571)
In the Hunt:
6. Washington Nationals (5.0)
Out of the Running:
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (10.5)
8. San Diego Padres (15.5)
9. Philadelphia Phillies (16.5)
10. San Francisco Giants (17.0)
11. Colorado Rockies (17.5)
12. New York Mets (18.5)
13. Milwaukee Brewers (19.5)
14. Chicago Cubs (24.0)
15. Miami Marlins (32.0)

x-Clinched Playoff Spot
y-Clinched Division

 

Scores:
Oakland Athletics 1 – 0 Texas Rangers
– The Rangers continued to struggle which is good news for the A;s as they would get closer to taking the division title while the Rangers slip away from the chance to take another division title and are now at risk of losing a postseason spot altogether

Los Angeles Dodgers 7 – 6 Arizona Diamondbacks
– This win would mean a lot more to the Dodgers as they would take the win and go for a dip in the D-Backs pool to celebrate the clinch of the NL West earlier than they had ever clinched before since moving to LA

Pittsburgh Pirates 10 – 1 San Diego Padres
– The Bucs are looking for that division title the win against the Padres would help them towards that as they continue to fight down to the wire to try to stay out of the unpredictable wild card game and put the Cardinals into it

Boston Red Sox 6 – 3 Toronto Blue Jays
– The Toronto Blue Jays could not play spoilers any longer as the Red Sox would win the game in a big way and would solidify their spot in the postseason that they clinched earlier in the week by clinching the division

 

Next Week:
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Saturday September 21st; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Pirates are hoping that this is not a preview of what’s to come as they seem to be on the path to the Wild card game against the Reds but a win will go a long way to trying to stay out of it and win the division

Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (Tuesday September 24th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The White Sox are clearly just spoilers now and they will hope to hand the Indians a loss in this game as by this time Cleveland may be looking to extend their lead in the wild card spot as they take advantage of the Texas Rangers collapse

Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Wednesday September 25th; 1:45 pm ET)
– The Cardinals know all too well how unpredictable the wild card game can be and they want to avoid that game as they hope to beat the Nationals and continue to lead the NL Central to avoid that single elimination game

Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers (Friday September 27th; 8:05 pm ET)
– The Rangers are hoping that by the start of the last weekend of the season they will still be in the fight after some poor play over the past few weeks and if they are this last series will be very important in trying to retain or regain the wild card spot

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