Sports

Watch MLB Playoff, AL version: Seattle slips, Cleveland catches fire


Via Jordan Shusterman
FOX Sports MLB Writer

Have we finally looked at the playoffs of the 2022 American League?

It’s been a long season that moves and shakes the leaderboards, both in the wild and ranked card races. The regular season is just over two weeks away, but the post-season picture of the American League is in the spotlight with the six teams currently holding their post-season spots looking very likely to be the finalists. play before October 5.

However, they played 162 games for a reason – there is still time for those six teams to change. With that in mind, let’s examine the nine AL teams that still have hope of achieving post-season.

(Note: The “Last Week” record includes games from September 12 to September 18.)

HOUSTON ASTROS

Arrow only: Up

Overall: 97-51

As of the August 2 deadline: 29-14

Last week: 6-1

Playoff odds (via FanGraphs): 100%

The Astros just finished their fifth AL West title in the past six seasons and are on track to hit the 100-game mark for the fourth time in that span. They exist at their own level in AL and throughout baseball, only with Dodgers for their unshakable dominance and overwhelming talent vortex.

Justin Verlander is back and doesn’t look rusted at all, Frame Valdez has continued its string of historic quality starts and Yordan Alvarez recently came out of a minor slump (at least, by his standards) with a monstrous three-house run. All is well in H-Town – now it’s just a matter of getting as good post-season as possible across the board.

NEW YANKEES YORK

Arrow only: Up

Overall: 88-58

As of the August 2 deadline: 18-24

Last week: 3-2

Playoff odds: 100%

For all the noise around Aaron Judge’s historic season – well-deserved – of course – the most important development for the Yankees recently is how much healthier they have been, and about to decline. Anthony Rizzo and Aroldis Chapman came back last week; Harrison Bader, Luis Severino and Scott Effross All are expected to return this week. Judge has been so good that he has been able to carry the Yankees through the days on his own, but any hope of this team going deep after the season will likely be determined by the level of help Judge has around him. ta.

This first round of reinforcements is very encouraging and hopefully many more will come: DJ LeMahieu, Zack Britton and Miguel Castro all are working again. Andrew Benintendi and Matt Carpenter could be options coming after the season. Judge will, and should continue to get the headlines, but all of these returns are a much bigger deal in the Yankees’ quest for ring number 28.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Arrow only: Up

Overall: 83-64

As of the August 2 deadline: 26-19

Last week: 5-3

Playoff odds: 99.5%

Despite blowing a golden opportunity to wipe out Baltimore by winning the ninth inning on Sunday, Toronto appear to be in the strongest position of the AL Wild Card team with the way they have played recently. Bo Bichette was one of the best players in baseball last month and Ross Stripling has emerged as a really reliable rotation pick with six quality starts in a row, taking his season ERA below 3.00. They won three of their five home games against the Rays last week – if they can win the final series against Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field this weekend, Toronto fans can start to get excited. with hosting the three-match Wild Card Series.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Arrow only: neutral

Overall: 81-65

As of the August 2 deadline: 26-16

Last week: 1-4

Playoff odds: 99.5%

It’s no surprise that the Mariners vibe is severely affected when the player has the entire spell of Good Vibes Only – Eugenio Suarez – hit IL broke the right index finger. With a rookie feeling Julio Rodriguez also missed some action at the weekend due to back spasms, Seattle’s attack in Anaheim looked as bleak as the whole season – until Carlos Santana and Ty France combined for all 9 RBIs in a 9-1 win Monday before the Angels to avoid the sweep series . While the ability to weather the drought remains fairly certain, the other members of the Mariners squad need to continue to push through with Suarez’s absence to ensure they won’t break a sweat over the past few weeks. Monday is a good start.

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TAMPA FLIGHT RAYS

Arrow only: Slight increase

Overall: 82-65

As of the August 2 deadline: 28-17

Last week: 4-4

Playoff odds: 97.2%

Recent profits of Wander Franco and Shane McClanahan from IL have put some much-needed stars on a roster that continues to be tough with both Toronto and Seattle in the AL Wild Card race. And how ‘storms Pete Fairbanks? After allowing runs in each of the first two games of the season when he returned from IL in mid-July, the difficult thrower has gone 19 consecutive games without scoring with 30 shots in just two trips. set during that time to start up. They’ll get the chance to flip the script for the Blue Jays this weekend at home and put themselves in the position of hosting a Wild Card Series in the dark and dark but ridiculously noisy atmosphere of Tropicana Field.

CLEVELAND GUARDIANS

Arrow only: Up

Overall: 80-67

As of the August 2 deadline: 27-18

Last week: 6-2

Playoff odds: 89.8%

What a claim for Cleveland to take four of five from Minnesota last weekend, dashing any hopes the Twins could catch them in the AL Center race. They now head to Chicago with the same opportunity to thwart the White Sox’s attempt to capture them and put this division race to sleep. However, I’m still not sure what makes up this team’s overall chance of putting on a deep post-season run given their lack of firepower. In a way, I appreciate their style of play more than the rest of the tournament in 2022, but it’s hard to know how far they’ll go.

SOXY WHITE CHICAGO

Arrow only: Slight increase

Overall: 76-71

As of the August 2 deadline: 25-20

Last week: 4-2

Playoff odds: 12.6%

A welcome scene for White Sox fans: Yoon Moncadaone of the famous Sox players has been seriously underdog for most of the season, hitting the .352 / .389 / .585 mark in his last 12 games. Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez just about the only ones the Sox have consistently delivered this season, especially in Tim Anderson’s absence. If Moncada can hold such heat for long, this roster becomes a lot harder to handle. With Cleveland coming to town for a three-game series with a four-game lead, this will likely be the South Siders’ last chance to forge a foothold in their quest to claim an impossible title. avoid.

Of course, it should be remembered that the White Sox are the favorites to win this league title before the season even begins, so how much should we really celebrate when they’ll move on with life. dear only two weeks left? However, they must feel much better than the team they recently overcame in the AL Central standings…

MINNESOTA TWINS

Arrow only: Down

Overall: 73-74

As of the August 2 deadline: 19-26

Last week: 4-3

Playoff odds: 0.4%

Simply put: oof. A team that has spent all of May, June, and July in first place could be in danger of ending up on a losing streak and not getting a spot after the season. Injuries certainly played a big part in Minnesota’s decline this year, but it was a rather flawed roster at the start, especially when it came to the pitching staff. That’s not to say there aren’t any pieces here for Minnesota to compete in 2023, but it could depend on whether or not there’s a stoppage. Carlos Correa decide to opt out – this seems likely. These are two consecutive seasons that have gone completely sideways for the Twins in very different ways. GM Derek Falvey’s main office has a huge holiday break.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Arrow only: neutral

Overall: 76-70

As of the August 2 deadline: 24-19

Last week: 3-2

Playoff odds: 0.8%

It’s been a valiant effort throughout the season for this team and Sunday’s return to the Blue Jays is another inspiring example of why this team will need serious consideration right into the season. next. It looks like they will only show up this year, but the big chance of a winning season after being the worst team in baseball in 2021 is an undeniable success, especially for When it comes to the breakthroughs of core players like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson.

Jordan Shusterman is half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball writer for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.


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