MLB Week in Review (August 16-22)

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The MLB postseason race is heating up with just over a month to go until October baseball determines the next champion. As of right now nobody is mathematically eliminated, although plenty of teams are looking at an end to their season sooner than the rest. As the regular season begins to close out and teams start to solidify themselves as postseason contenders everyone begins to look at one of the most important aspects of entering the playoffs. The postseason is never simple as anything can change a series and when it comes to the wild card anything can end a season. It is about playing to a different level to reduce mistakes and outperform the other team while the pressure is on. For that reason the concentration of every team that seems on their way to the postseason should be to play their best baseball heading into October. That means being the hottest team in the league when playoff baseball starts which is a different level of difficulty in the MLB. Baseball is a long season with very little time off for any of the players or managers. A total of 162 games will be played by every team in the postseason who will get ready for another run at the World Series. It is a tough thing for a baseball team to play at a high level for the entire 6 month season as the ups and downs of the season are common for every team. The trick for the team that will go on to win the World Series is to have that up as they enter the playoffs and to continue to up throughout the playoffs. The Boston red Sox did exactly that last year on their way to the World Series. The Red Sox rarely had a bad month in the 2013 season with May marking their only month that they had .500 record. Still it wasn’t until September where they really started getting hot and made their way to a 16-9 record. It was the best way that they could have entered the postseason as they were beginning to play on a different level than anyone else at exactly the right time. That hot streak translated into the postseason as the Red Sox found their way to the World Series without having to go to a seventh game in any of their playoff series. This is the template of what every manager wants their team to do. The start of the season is all to put themselves into a good position when September approaches. Although a team will go through a down point and have win streaks it is all about keeping them in the battle when it comes down to having to fight for the playoffs. Then when September does arrive it is all about raising the game to make sure they not only take a spot but play good baseball. It is the goal of every team but it is not necessarily what every team is doing right now as the 2014 postseason approaches. For one the Detroit Tigers where solidly in the top spot in their division for yet another year only to be overtaken by a hot Kansas City Royals team. The Royals are doing what they are supposed to be at this time of year although they have slowed down as of late. The real team to watch right now is the Washington Nationals who are on the best streak in baseball right now. The Nationals were a perfect expression of what teams are all trying to do as they played well enough to stay in the fight throughout the season. Now they are taking their play to a new level and have taken control of their division while almost ensuring their spot in the postseason. There is still a month of the season to go and that could end the streak or see the Nationals cool off but if they continue to play well throughout September they may just end up being favourites when the postseason starts while every other teams looks to make September their month.

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

BoSox land Castillo
Every year it seems as though the MLB is battling for a young star from Cuba after the success of Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes as well as Jose Abreu this year has shown that the small island produces great potential and this week Boston got in on the action signing Rusney Castillo

Machado out for Season
Manny Machado is one of the leaders of the Orioles and their resurgence but they will go through the postseason race without him after it was announced that he will have surgery on his injured knee likely ending his season

Grounds Crew Error
The San Francisco Giants need all the wins they could get so when they appealed a decision to call their game after the 4th inning when the grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp over the field in time was a chance to get another win although they failed to capitalize in the end

 

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Key Scores:
Detroit Tigers 4 – 2 Seattle Mariners
– The Tigers fell out of a postseason spot last week but worked their way back which was assisted by this win over the Mariners who with the loss lost their momentum and fell out of the wild card

Atlanta Braves 7 – 3 Pittsburgh Pirates
– The braves continue to fight to get into the postseason after the Nationals have taken off at the end of the season while the Pirates were holding a wild card spot until they lost to the Braves to fall into the hunt

Washington Nationals 8 -1 Arizona Diamondbacks
– The Nationals continued their hot streak this week as they handled the D-Backs with Stephen Strasburg on the mound but they got a little lucky in facing a team that seems sure to be out of the postseason

Chicago Cubs 4 – 1 Baltimore Orioles
– The Cubs are once again reduced to spoilers this year and they are playing the role well when they beat the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles hurting the lead of the O’s as the Cubs work through the American League division

Next Week:
San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals (Saturday August 23rd; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Giants continue to fight for the wild card spot as they sit at the bottom of the wild card positions right now but they will look to solidify their spot against the hottest team in the league as the Nationals hope to stay hot

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Monday August 25th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Cards and Pirates have had a bit of a rivalry forming in the last few years and they will once again face off under important circumstances as both are trying to make the postseason with the wild card

Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels (Thursday August 28th; 10:05 pm ET)
– The battle for the West was supposed to come down to the A’s and the Rangers but with the Rangers falling to the bottom of the league the Angels are in the fight holding the top spot while the A’s sit in the wild card trying to get the division lead

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Friday August 29th; 7:07 pm ET)
– There is still plenty of time for either of these teams to make a run at the postseason but if they want to do it they will need to start putting together a great run and they will look to do it in this series before they fall too far from the postseason

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