MLB Playoff Watch, AL edition: Seattle slipping, Cleveland catching fire #news

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By Jordan Shusterman
FOX Sports MLB Writer

Are we in any case having a look on the 2022 American League playoff box?

This been a protracted season of transferring and shaking within the standings, each within the wild-card and divisional races. There are nonetheless simply over two weeks closing within the common season, however the American League postseason image is entering center of attention with the six groups these days preserving postseason place having a look awfully prone to be those in the end taking part in previous Oct. 5.

They play 162 video games for a explanation why, although — there is nonetheless time for the ones six groups to switch. With that during thoughts, let’s test in at the 9 AL groups that also have any hope left of attaining the postseason. 

(Note: “Last week” data come with video games from Sept. 12 to Sept. 18.)

HOUSTON ASTROS

Arrow pointing: Up

Overall: 97-51

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 29-14

Last week: 6-1

Playoff odds (by the use of FanGraphs): 100%

The Astros simply wrapped up their 5th AL West identify within the remaining six seasons and are on tempo to transparent the 100-win mark for the fourth time all the way through that span. They exist in their very own tier within the AL and all through baseball, are along simplest the Dodgers for his or her unflappable dominance and overwhelming twister of ability.

Justin Verlander returned and did not glance rusty in any respect, Framber Valdez has endured his ancient streak of high quality begins and Yordan Alvarez just lately busted out of a mini-slump (a minimum of, through his requirements) with a monstrous three-home-run sport. All is easily in H-Town — now it is only a topic of attaining the postseason as wholesome as conceivable around the board.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Arrow pointing: Up

Overall: 88-58

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 18-24

Last week: 3-2

Playoff odds: 100%

For the entire hoopla surrounding Aaron Judge’s ancient season — deserved hoopla, after all — crucial construction for the Yankees in recent years has been how a lot more fit they have gotten, and are about to get, down the stretch. Anthony Rizzo and Aroldis Chapman returned remaining week; Harrison Bader, Luis Severino and Scott Effross are all scheduled to go back this week. Judge has been so ridiculously excellent that he has on the subject of been in a position to hold the Yankees throughout the canine days on his personal, however any hope for this crew to make a deep postseason run will be made up our minds through how a lot lend a hand Judge will get round him.

This first spherical of reinforcements is encouraging, and there is expectantly extra at the approach: DJ LeMahieu, Zack Britton and Miguel Castro are all operating their long ago as smartly. Andrew Benintendi and Matt Carpenter may well be choices come postseason time. Judge will, and must, proceed to get the headlines, however all of those returning items are a miles larger deal within the Yankees’ quest for ring No. 28.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Arrow pointing: Up

Overall: 83-64

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 26-19

Last week: 5-3

Playoff odds: 99.5%

Despite blowing a golden alternative to brush Baltimore through coughing up a ninth-inning lead on Sunday, Toronto does seem to be within the most powerful place of the AL Wild Card bunch with the best way they have been taking part in in recent years. Bo Bichette has been one of the crucial very best gamers in baseball for the remaining month and Ross Stripling has emerged as a in point of fact loyal rotation possibility with six consecutive high quality begins, bringing his season ERA below 3.00. They gained 3 of the 5 at domestic in opposition to the Rays remaining week — if they are able to win the overall collection in opposition to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field this weekend, Toronto enthusiasts can begin to get eager about website hosting the three-game Wild Card Series. 

SEATTLE MARINERS

Arrow pointing: Neutral

Overall: 81-65

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 26-16

Last week: 1-4

Playoff odds: 99.5%

It should not be a lot of a wonder that the Mariners’ vibes took a significant hit when the participant whose complete mantra is Good Vibes Only — Eugenio Suarez — hit the IL with a damaged proper index finger. With rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez additionally lacking some motion over the weekend because of again spasms, Seattle’s offense in Anaheim regarded as bleak because it has all season — till Carlos Santana and Ty France blended for all 9 RBI in Monday’s 9-1 win over the Angels to keep away from the collection sweep. Though the chances of breaking the drought nonetheless seem reasonably sure, different individuals of the Mariners lineup want to proceed stepping up in Suarez’s absence to make sure they gained’t be sweating out those previous couple of weeks. Monday used to be a excellent get started. 

3 causes Seattle could make the World Series

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry give 3 causes the Seattle Mariners can contend, headlined through rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Arrow pointing: Slightly up

Overall: 82-65

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 28-17

Last week: 4-4

Playoff odds: 97.2%

The contemporary returns of Wander Franco and Shane McClanahan from the IL injected some much-needed superstar energy right into a roster that continues to hold difficult with each Toronto and Seattle within the AL Wild Card race. And how ‘bout Pete Fairbanks? After permitting runs in each and every of his first two outings of the season upon getting back from the IL in mid-July, the hard-throwing righty has rattled off 19 consecutive scoreless outings with 30 strikeouts to only two walks over that span in addition. They’ll have the danger to turn the script at the Blue Jays this weekend at domestic and put themselves in place to host a Wild Card Series in the dead of night and gloomy however ridiculously loud confines of Tropicana Field.

CLEVELAND GUARDIANS

Arrow pointing: Up

Overall: 80-67

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 27-18

Last week: 6-2

Playoff odds: 89.8%

What a remark for Cleveland to take 4 of 5 from Minnesota this previous weekend, successfully squashing any hopes for the Twins to catch them within the AL Central race. Now they head to Chicago with a an identical likelihood to extinguish the White Sox’ makes an attempt to catch them and put this department race to mattress. And but, I nonetheless am now not certain what to make of this crew’s general probabilities at creating a deep postseason run taking into consideration their loss of firepower offensively. In many ways I recognize their taste of play extra by contrast to what the remainder of the league seems like in 2022, however it is simply tough to understand how some distance it’ll take them. 

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Arrow pointing: Slightly up

Overall: 76-71

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 25-20

Last week: 4-2

Playoff odds: 12.6%

A welcome sight for White Sox enthusiasts: Yoan Moncada, one in every of a number of Sox hitters who has significantly underwhelmed for far of the season, is hitting .352/.389/.585 over his remaining 12 video games. Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez were on the subject of the one Sox hitters constantly handing over this season, specifically in Tim Anderson’s absence. If Moncada can keep this scorching down the stretch, this lineup turns into much more tough to care for. With Cleveland coming to the city for a three-game collection with a four-game lead, this will be the South Siders’ remaining likelihood to make up important flooring on their very own of their quest to tug off an implausible department identify.

Of path, it is price remembering that the White Sox have been really extensive favorites to win this department earlier than the season started, so how a lot must we in reality be celebrating the truth that they’re putting on for expensive lifestyles with two weeks to move? Still, they need to be feeling a lot better than the crew they just lately handed within the AL Central standings …

MINNESOTA TWINS

Arrow pointing: Down

Overall: 73-74

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 19-26

Last week: 4-3

Playoff odds: 0.4%

To put it merely: oof. A crew that spent necessarily all of May, June and July in first position may well be at risk of completing with a shedding document and nowhere close to a postseason spot. Injuries have for sure performed a vital section in Minnesota’s downfall this yr, but it surely used to be a moderately incorrect roster initially, specifically when it got here to the pitching team of workers. That’s to not say there don’t seem to be items in position right here for Minnesota to contend in 2023, however that might rely on whether or not shortstop Carlos Correa comes to a decision to decide out — which turns out most likely. This is now two seasons in a row that experience long past utterly sideways for the Twins in very other ways. An enormous offseason looms for GM Derek Falvey’s entrance place of job. 

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Arrow pointing: Neutral

Overall: 76-70

Since Aug. 2 closing date: 24-19

Last week: 3-2

Playoff odds: 0.8%

It has been a valiant effort all season lengthy for this workforce and the comeback on Sunday in opposition to the Blue Jays used to be but every other inspiring instance of why this crew will want to be taken significantly once subsequent season. It seems like they’re going to arise simply quick this yr, however an excellent likelihood at a successful season after being the worst crew in baseball in 2021 is an plain luck, particularly when factoring within the bona-fide breakouts of core gamers like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson

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


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