Divisional Leads Changing
How the NL West was Won in Early August
Coming into the weekend, many fans likely thought the new look San Diego Padres would prove a challenge to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers didn’t have a trade deadline of year’s past. There was no monumental trade to get Max Scherzer, or Trea Turner, or even Manny Machado. The Padres however, seemingly changed their entire lineup at the deadline, notably adding Juan Soto.
The Dodgers were unaffected by this, as they swept the Padres in 3 games in Los Angeles. Though at the beginning of the series the Dodgers still had a healthy 12.5 game lead, perhaps the Padres thought they could get some momentum going to change it. Instead, they leave Los Angeles 15.5 games back.
The Padres will have to pivot and focus their full attention on the wild card race because Los Angeles isn’t giving up that lead. The Padres currently hold the last playoff spot, with Milwaukee just 1.5 games behind. Lucky for them, Milwaukee didn’t add much at the deadline, so they likely aren’t a threat.
Mets Make a Statement
The Mets and Braves had a similar weekend to that of the Padres and Dodgers. The Braves added bullpen depth, locked up their star third baseman for the next decade, while the Mets had a surprisingly quiet deadline. No bother though, as the Mets expanded their lead to 6.5 games, taking four of the five games against the Atlanta Braves. At 64-46, the Braves now sit closer to the third place Phillies than they do to the first place Mets. This division still has a ways to go before a winner is crowned, but the Mets could add to their lead (or maintain it) by winning a series against the rebuilding Reds.
Milwaukee Brewers Confuse Baseball Fans and Themselves
The Brewers baffled baseball last week when they traded top closer Josh Hader. That move hasn’t boded well for them as they lost the series to the Reds, and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Cardinals have seized this opportunity, and have taken sole possession of first place. Perhaps the closest divisional race in baseball, the Cardinals only lead it by two games. However, coming off a sweep of the Yankees the Cardinals will likely continue to add games to their lead, as they play the Rockies, and Milwaukee will have to face the improved Tampa Bay Rays.
Yankees Seek to Put Last Week Behind Them
The Yankees didn’t have the best week. They got swept by the Cardinals on Sunday. They got shutout on Saturday, and they traded away the pitcher that shut them out. I can’t say that’s a dream scenario for GM Brian Cashman. The Yankees “added” starting pitching at the deadline, when they traded for A’s starter Frankie Montas. But is it considered adding when a team proceeds to trade away another pitcher? The addition of Montas and subtraction of Jordan Montgomery equaled a brutal weekend for the Yankees.
On Monday, they begin a series against the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees have always been successful against the Mariners in year’s past, but this year they lost the series in New York. They will have another crack at Luis Castillo on Tuesday. Last time against the Mariners Cole gave up six runs over six innings. Almost uncharacteristic, I would not expect the same results on Tuesday.
Yankees are enjoying a healthy 9.5 game lead in the AL East. They have lucked out with Toronto’s recent struggles. But if the Yankees do not right the ship, those 9.5 games could become five and then, anything is possible.
Everyone’s Favorite Baseball Story May Make the Playoffs
Here, I’m talking about the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles bothered some people by trading away their star player. At the deadline, the Orioles traded their beloved outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini to the AL favorite, Houston Astros. While many people likely thought this would lead to more losses, the opposite has been true, as they have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games. Currently, they sit just two games out of a wild card spot. They will have a chance to control their fate this week, as they play the two teams in front of them. Starting on Monday, the Orioles kick off a week where they will play three against the Blue Jays, one against the Red Sox, and three against the Tampa Bay Rays. Though the Red Sox seem to be decreasing their playoff chances, the Orioles could further the distance between them, while making up ground on the Rays and Jays.
Making the playoffs would be bittersweet for Orioles fans, as their favorite player, Trey Mancini, endured so much losing during the rebuild. Making the playoffs without him would almost seem rude. Further, doing so would likely punch a ticket to face Trey Mancini’s new team. This is getting weird. But, it’s playoff race baseball, and it’s great. This week could show a few cracks in contending team’s armors, or it could show the additions no one understood at the time are working out seamlessly.
We will just have to watch and find out.
Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)