MLB Week in Review (July 26-August 1)

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The trade deadline in many sports is one of the premiere events of the season as teams trade major pieces as they prepare for a playoff run or for a new season. In the MLB it is quickly becoming one of the most exciting times of the year, and at no better time with the league entering the dog days of summer. This year the day took on a new level as two top pitchers were on the block and their teams were ready to let them go. On one end there was the Tampa Bay Rays who were sitting far away from the division battle in the east and on the bad end of a trend that seemed to see them getting older and not competing as well with the top teams in the league. The Rays were likely looking to get younger and had one major piece that they could offer other teams to get a number of top younger guys. That piece was 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price and there were plenty of teams willing to deal for the lefty. On the other side, although not too far away, were the Boston Red Sox who have gone from World Series Champions last year to basement dwellers this year. As they look at the end of their season fast approaching they were looking to get rid of some of their bigger contracts and get younger after years of being a veteran team. They also had a good piece to give to teams as 3-time all-star lefty Jon Lester was reportedly available. With both teams out of the playoff race and a number of other teams trying to get some help as they head to the playoffs there were plenty of suitors for either lefty. As the trade deadline approached the rumours began to swirl about who was in on either pitcher. Little did many expect that two teams that seemed set in their rotation for the postseason ended up winning the bids to get the pitchers. The Oakland Athletics have had one of their best season’s to date and are dominating in the American League. Far ahead of anyone else in the league and in the division it seems almost certain that the A’s are heading to the postseason, barring a massive collapse. A lot of the season has been due to the one-two punch of Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray, both with sub 3.00 ERAs this year. Then the A’s added Jeff Samardzja, a great young pitcher stuck on a bad team in Chicago. It seemed as though they were set to make a run into the postseason with these three pitchers but they were not happy to stop there. They pulled off one of the more surprising trades of the day to kick things off when they traded their top hitter and young Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Jonny Gomes and Jon Lester. The addition of Lester gave the A’s a rotation to be feared in the postseason race and in the postseason as they have four good pitchers that will not give opponents many breaks in important games. Meanwhile the Red Sox got younger with Cespedes and received one of the premier power hitters in the game to add to their offensive arsenal. It seemed like a good deal for both sides and began a rapid trade deadline day. Detroit got involved on the day as well when the team known for having a rotation that includes Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Justin Verlander got even stronger in the rotation. In a three team deal Price was sent to Detroit while Drew Smyly, and Willy Adames went to Tampa. Meanwhile in the same deal Austin Jackson was sent from Detroit to Seattle and Nick Franklin went to Tampa from Seattle. The two trades were some of the biggest in recent memory at the trade deadline and likely struck fear into the American League as two of the best teams in the league just got a lot more powerful. The postseason run is now officially underway as the non-waiver trade deadline is past and teams look to the home stretch to get into the postseason.

 

Extra Innings
(More on the week that was in the MLB)

Golden Voice will Return
Announcers in baseball are some of the most hallowed names in the sport and everyone has their favourite but not one person disagrees that the best is Vin Scully for the Dodgers and to the joy of many the 86-year-old announced that he will be back in the booth next year

Positive News for Steroid Era?
A Hall of Fame rule change took a backseat this week as the change will reduce the amount of time someone is on a ticket but allow for a second chance vote from the expansion era committee to come sooner which could be good for steroid era players

The Shift Debate
With offensive baseball taking a backseat to the defence a lot of talk has surrounded the possibility of banning defensive shifts in the field in a move that could open up the field and produce more offence

 

standings_week18

 

Key Scores:
Los Angeles Dodgers 5 – 0 San Francisco Giants
– The Giants have held onto the top spot in the west for the majority of the season but the surging Dodgers came up fast and after beating the Giants 5-0 took over the top spot in the division where they hope to stay for the rest of the season

Atlanta Braves 2 – 0 San Diego Padres
– The Washington Nationals took over the division lead in the middle of the season but they are falling fast and the Braves are looking to take advantage after beating the Padres brought them closer to the Nats

Detroit Tigers 7 – 2 Chicago White Sox
– The Tigers are running away with the division and for a brief amount of time the White Sox looked like they could challenge them but after a 7-2 loss the Tigers seem sure to clinch the division soon

Boston Red Sox 4 – 3 New York Yankees
– The Yankees and Red Sox rivalry took on a different meaning this time around as both teams were not fighting for a playoff spot against each other as the Yankees were the only one with a shot and that shot took a hit after a loss to Boston

Next Week:
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Saturday August 2nd; 7:15 pm ET)
– The Brewers are still in the lead for the Central like they have been all year but their hot start is over and they are more vulnerable which is what the Cards are hoping to take advantage and make a late season push to the division lead

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics (Monday August 4th; 10:05 pm ET)
– Just days after a massive trades these two teams look a bit different as the A’s have a new member to their rotation but are without their biggest offensive weapon while the Rays are without one of their best pitchers as two teams on opposite ends face off

Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Tuesday August 5th; 7:07 pm ET)
– The race is heating up as it usually does in the AL East and this time it is between the Blue Jays and Orioles as this series becomes much more important with the Jays looking to take a win and the lead in the division to get their first playoff appearance in 20-years

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels (Thursday August 7th; 10:05 pm ET)
– The Freeway Series gets underway and this time both teams have plenty to play for as the Angels and Dodgers are both in dead heats in the playoff race looking to get closer to solidifying their spot

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