MLB Week in Review (August 23-29)

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The MLB postseason race is heating up with only one month left for teams to solidify their spot in the postseason. As the season closes every game gets that much more important for the teams in the hunt. That puts everything under an even bigger microscope than it has ever been before. This happens every year as mistakes become much bigger and one misstep can put a player into the hot seat really fast. More than the players though, the umpires are put in a situation where one missed call can change everything. A call at the plate can mean the difference between picking up a wild card spot and falling behind in the race. These calls that can change the game happen throughout the season but they are not seen as much throughout the weeks. Many of those mistakes are forgotten but when it comes down to September baseball they are given headline news stories. It is a tough time for the umpires who are expected to be more perfect than others expected them to be throughout the season. This year it seems that teams are taking a new approach to these mistakes though as they look to ensure that they get things right. With the stakes so high at this point in the season teams are trying to do everything they can to get their team that extra win that might mean the difference between playoffs and offseason. The teams have resorted to filing protests during games and playing a game under protest. Essentially it means that teams continue to play the game but when the game is over the league will look at a specific play or action as requested by the protesting team. If that action is deemed a game-changing play the MLB will take the necessary actions to change the call and make the game even again. In the last two weeks there have been two of these protests and as usual not many have been overturned. It started last week when the San Francisco Giants protested a game against the Chicago Cubs. During the game rain forced the grounds crew to try to bring out the tarp to protect the field. The crew could not get it done though and the field suffered. The umpires ruled the field unable to be used and called the game with the Cubs ahead in the fourth inning. The game was put into the books as a win for the Cubs but the Giants, in the midst of a postseason fight, did not agree that they should suffer after it was the Cubs’ grounds crew that caused the game to be called. The Giants won the appeal and the game was carried on the next day at the same point as it was stopped. The Giants went on to lose the game anyway but it set the standard to come for the next week. The only problem was that the MLB rarely overturns calls on protested games and despite the multiple protests the following week not much would come of them. The Tampa Bay Rays were the next to use the protest when they played the Toronto Blue Jays. The protest came after Mark Buehrle tried to pick off Wil Myers at first after he set on the mound. The Rays wanted a balk call to bring in a runner but like many protests before the play was not overturned and the Jays win remained. At the end of the week the Los Angeles Angels played their game against the Oakland Athletics under protest after a strange obstruction call. After the game the Angels announced that they would not be filing an official protest avoiding a third in two weeks. The protest seems to becoming a more popular option for managers but it seems more of a waste of time as the MLB rarely overturns these protests. It may be better to just move on and focus on the next game as the postseason approaches fast and teams continue to fight with everything they have to get those all-important spots.

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

Record Breaking Run
Yusmeiro Petit may not be a household name among most MLB fans but this week he broke the record for the most batter’s retired in a row as he retired his 46th straight batter breaking Mark Buehrle’s record set in 2009

Tanaka Ready to Return
The New York Yankees are on their way back into the postseason when it seemed like they had a lost season on their hands and to help them get there, the newest addition in Masahiro Tanaka may be able to return sooner than expected just in time for the stretch run

Montero’s Blow-Up
As part of Jesus Montero’s rehab the catcher is with the Class-A team but that turned into a bad thing this week when he got into it with a scout who sent an ice cream sandwich to him in the dugout in what he took as an insult about his weight, he reported to camp 40 lbs over weight this year

standings_week22

Key Scores:
Washington Nationals 6 – 2 San Francisco Giants
– With Washington holding a convincing lead in the Eastern Division the Nats are looking to officially clinch a spot and went a step towards that by beating the Giants who were looking to hang on to their wild card spot

St. Louis Cardinals 3 – 2 Pittsburgh Pirates
– The Cards and Pirates have fought it out for the division in the last few years but now it is about the wild card for both teams and they continue to fight it out to get into the postseason with the Cards coming out on top in this game

San Diego Padres 3 – 2 Milwaukee Brewers
– The Brewers continue to hold a lead in the central thanks to an amazing first half of the season but if they continue to lose to teams like the Padres it could be a long September for this team as they try to clinch

Los Angeles Angels 4 – 3 Oakland Athletics
– The Angels and Athletics have already had a rivalry going but the fact that they are now fighting for the West only adds to it with the Angels coming out on top in this game and continuing to expand the gap against the A’s

Next Week:
Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants (Sunday September 31st; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Brewers have not had a great second half so far but they are still at the top of the division and trying to clinch while the Giants are trying to hold on to their wild card spot as both teams have plenty to play for

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Monday September 1st; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Nats and Dodgers could very well be facing off in the postseason this year as both have the lead in their division and are looking like some of the stronger teams as they fight for top spot in the National League

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Tuesday September 2nd; 8:15 pm ET)
– The Pirates and Cards continue their fight for second in the division as they both try to get a wild card spot and put pressure on the Brewers with one month left in the season and the division still open

Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees (Friday September 5th; 7:05 pm ET)
– The Royals have been one of the more surprising stories this year as they have been able to knock off the Detroit Tigers for the division lead and are trying to hold onto the lead while hurting the chances of the Yankees to get into the wild card spot

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