(CBS Local)- The calendar has changed implicit to September and with it, the last period of the marathon that is the MLB regular play is upon us. Teams crossed the league are jockeying for the last fewer playoff spots, hoping to gain their berth to October baseball.
While the loser of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants’ combat for the N.L. West part crown volition intelligibly clasp homefield vantage and 1 of the 2 disposable Wild Cards successful the league, the 2nd squad is acold from certain. In the American League, a brace of East part teams and long-time rivals clasp the last 2 spots but determination are inactive 3 different teams lurking.
In this week’s variation of the Baseball Report, we instrumentality banal of wherever things basal successful each league’s pursuit for the Wild Card and telephone attraction to a brace of young players making historical marks successful their archetypal MLB seasons.
Taking Stock Of Wild Card Races
The Los Angeles Dodgers beryllium successful archetypal spot successful the N.L. Wild Card by an astir mathematically insurmountable 13.5 games. But, down them, things are overmuch much feisty. Their chap N.L. West counterparts, the San Diego Padres, clasp the 2nd spot but, with a grounds of 73-64, the doorway is acold from shut. Four different teams basal wrong 4.5 games of the 2nd spot entering Tuesday’s play: the Cincinnati Reds (73-66, 1 GB), Philadelphia Phillies (71-66, 2 GB), St. Louis Cardinals (69-67, 3.5 GB) and New York Mets (69-69, 4.5 GB) are each wrong striking region with a bully mates of weeks.
The Padres have the astir hard remaining docket successful the league by virtuousness of playing successful the West division. San Diego has 10 games near against the Giants, 6 against the Dodgers, 4 against the Braves and 3 against St. Louis, each of whom are successful the playoff chase. The Cardinals agelong isn’t overmuch easier with games near against the Brewers (7), Dodgers (3), Padres (3), Reds (3) and Mets (3). Of the radical successful the hunt, the Phillies really person the easiest remaining schedule, and easiest remaining docket successful the league. Joe Girardi’s radical has the Braves (3), Brewers (2) and Mets (3) near but extracurricular of those games, they person 17 games against the Orioles, Pirates, Cubs, Rockies and Marlins. The Reds are close down them though with 3 games each against the Dodgers and Cardinals and a brace of games with the White Sox. But their different 15 games near are against the Pirates, Nationals and Cubs.
On the American League broadside of the ledger, the New York Yankees pb the rival Boston Red Sox by conscionable fractional a crippled successful the Wild Card chase. As amusive arsenic it would beryllium to spot them play a 1 crippled winner-take-all Wild Card matchup, it’s not a definite happening conscionable yet. The Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s are each wrong 3.5 games of the Sox for the 2nd spot.
The A’s, looking to marque their 4th consecutive postseason appearance, person the toughest roadworthy to get there. Oakland has 6 games near against the Houston Astros, 3 against the A.L. Central starring Chicago White Sox and 7 near against Seattle. Those games against the Mariners could find which squad inactive has a changeable astatine the postseason. The Blue Jays roadworthy is conscionable somewhat down Boston successful presumption of the easiest slate left. Toronto has six games each remaining against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays but they besides person 7 games near against some the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins.
All of that physique up is to accidental with conscionable nether a period left, things are acold from definite successful either league successful presumption of those last fewer spots.
Rays’ Phenom Ties Mickey Mantle
The Tampa Bay Rays person an 8.5 crippled pb successful the A.L. East truthful their berth into the playoffs seems unafraid barring an epic illness down the stretch. There are galore reasons for the team’s occurrence this season, not the slightest of which is the play of rookie shortstop Wander Franco.
The 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic entered the twelvemonth starring each of the large apical prospects lists and was expected to marque an interaction arsenic soon arsenic the Rays decided to telephone him up. He’s done that and more, chasing past for a subordinate his property successful the process.
With his triple successful his archetypal astatine bat against the Red Sox connected Monday afternoon, Franco extended his on-base streak to 36 games, tying New York Yankees fable Mickey Mantle for the 2nd longest streak by a subordinate 20 years of property oregon younger. The streak is the longest successful American League past by a subordinate of that property and trails lone Frank Robinson, who reached safely successful 43 consecutive games arsenic a 20-year-old for longest people successful league history.
After extending the streak Monday, Franco told reporters done an interpreter that it felt “pretty good” to beryllium connected the aforesaid database arsenic Mantle.
“That was a large game, and it’s beauteous bully to beryllium [on] the aforesaid database arsenic names similar Mickey Mantle,” Franco said, courtesy of MLB.com. “He’s a superstar, and I’m gladsome I was capable to execute this.”
Franco is earning the superstar mantle successful his ain right, slashing .290/.349/.475 with 7 homers and 36 RBI successful 59 games since being called up.
Rangers Pitcher Makes History
Franco isn’t the lone young subordinate making history. Texas Rangers starter A.J. Alexy made his ain people connected Monday nighttime arsenic helium went six innings portion giving up conscionable 1 deed successful starring the Rangers to a 4-0 triumph implicit the Los Angeles Angels.
The commencement made it 11 scoreless innings to commencement Alexy’s MLB vocation during which helium has allowed conscionable 2 hits. The righthander went 5 innings allowing 1 deed against the Colorado Rockies successful his debut connected August 30, a 4-3 triumph for the Rangers. As a result, the 23-year-old is the first pitcher successful modern MLB history to spell astatine slightest 5 innings portion allowing less than 2 hits successful his archetypal 2 vocation appearances.
A erstwhile 11th circular draught prime of the Los Angeles Dodgers successful the 2016 MLB Draft, Alexy was sent to the Rangers successful the Yu Darvish commercialized astatine the commercialized deadline successful 2017. Alexy wasn’t expected to marque this benignant of an impact, MLB.com rates him arsenic the 22nd champion prospect successful the Rangers pipeline with 4 pitchers up of him. The young starter has been a agleam spot towards the process extremity of different agelong play successful Texas, with the Rangers mired successful past spot successful the American League West with a 49-88 grounds and eliminated from playoff contention for the 5th consecutive season.