MLB Week in Review (June 29-July 5)

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It is almost the worst time on the sports calendar as baseball is inching closer to the all-star break leaving almost nothing for sports fans to watch.

More than that though the MLB is headed towards the middle of their season where things really come into focus.

Teams have had an entire half of the season to show what they can do and some have done much better than others.

Every year there are those teams that came out strong and are now looking close to clinching their spots in the postseason while others have fallen entirely off.

This season is no different as there are those powerhouse teams who have risen to the top of the league and others that have fallen short of their promise.

As the end of July inches closer, those powerhouse teams will be looking for even more for their runs while the few teams in the middle will try to get some extra pieces to begin competing.

This year is a little strange though as there is still so much of the season to be played and yet when looking at the season to come the two leagues couldn’t be any more different.

In the American League, the postseason picture is essentially all figured out with teams in playoff position all but guaranteed their spots.

Nobody has clinched yet but it seems like a few teams could sew up a postseason spot very soon.

When looking at postseason probabilities the New York Yankees and Houston Astros are at 100% meaning that they will be making the postseason as long as they avoid a massive collapse.

Following right behind them are Cleveland and Boston who are both just about 99% to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Coming in as a likely wild card team is the Mariners with about an 88% chance of making the postseason.

There are no other teams in the American League who are above a 10% chance to make the postseason.

With over half of the season left the American League is almost playing for nothing right now as the battles seem like they will be over within the month.

Of course, nobody has clinched yet and there is a possibility of a collapse by one of the big teams and a resurgence from the other teams.

It isn’t very likely though as the teams leading the race now seem to be the ones that will be preparing for the postseason.

On the other side is the National League that is shaping up to be a really good battle in the second half.

There are some teams will a really good chance at the playoffs as the Chicago Cubs have a 94% chance and the Dodgers have a 90% chance of making the postseason.

It is slightly different though as Cubs see a team with a 75% chance, the Brewers, and a 34% chance, the Cardinals, right behind them.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are fighting off the Diamondbacks who have a 42% chance of making the playoffs.

Although both the Dodgers and Cubs have a good shot of making it they have a far tougher battle than in the AL.baseball-sidebar

Meanwhile, the NL East things are far closer with Washington only having a 63% chance followed by Atlanta with 42% and Philadelphia at 38%.

That is going to be a very tough battle down the stretch as a few bad streaks could change the face of the entire division.

It is a strange thing to see though as the leagues continue to be as opposite as they can be.

There has always been a division between the two leagues as they may be playing the same sport but things are different.

The American League has always been the entertainment league with massive home run hitters and some of the biggest teams in baseball.

The National League, although not short of powerful hitters, has always been a little more traditional.

The designated hitter is the perfect case for the differences as the AL ignored tradition to get more offence while the NL continues to try to keep baseball the way it was.

The style of play is just a different style in both and every time a veteran player switches leagues it takes some time for them to adjust.

The postseason race is just another example of the differences as the AL has some great teams but only enough to fill the postseason while everyone else completely out of it.

In the National League, the powerhouses aren’t as powerful but the race is simply better between more teams.

As the second half approaches the postseason is getting closer and for the American League things could get boring while the National League is just heating up.

 

Extra Innings

Ohtani Returns

It was a scary few weeks for Angels fans as their prized signing seemed like he was about to be sidelined for more than just this season. Shohei Ohtani was proving that a two-way player was possible as he hit well and pitched well but eventually that strain of MLB baseball caught up to him. Like so many Japanese players before him, it looked like the experiment wasn’t going to pay off thanks to injuries. A sprained UCL had some believing that he was headed for Tommy John surgery which would put him out for more than a year. This week he returned to the lineup avoiding surgery although he is now only hitting with the pitching side of his game in question.

Targeting Machado

The biggest name on the trade market right now is easily Manny Machado as the 26-year old is coming into his prime athletic years. After being the star on Baltimore it is clear that he won’t be winning with them any time soon and so he would likely be happy to move to a team with a chance. He has been a trade target before but the Orioles have never really committed to trading him. That seems to be changing this year as Machado is a part of the best free agent class in years and he likely won’t be resigning with the O’s. Still, the Orioles are asking a lot for their superstar and if they don’t get it they may just end up with nothing come free agency.

Running the Circuit

This week the Blue Jays showed signs that they are getting ready for a firesale, and it is hard to argue against with the prospects coming up. They traded away Steve Pearce getting the best price they could for him as he had been playing pretty good baseball since returning from an early-season injury. What was more interesting about that trade though was the fact that Pearce would be headed to Boston. It is significant that the team was Boston as it meant that Pearce was about to play for his fourth team in the AL East. Pearce became one of few players to play for every team in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

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