MLB Games Are Finally Interesting as the Playoff Push Begins

It’s now September. Baseball games actually start to count. Unlike those guys at ESPN who like to think that every game from April 1 ‘til the end counts (so it’s crucial to look at the standings at the end of April), we really know that the first half of the season is just like pool play at a tournament.

But no, after July and the trade deadline, things really begin to get interesting in Major League baseball, which has a season built on a 162-game grind for the players and managers (nearly every day from April through October. So you can see why guys like Manny Ramirez don’t stress themselves out over one at-bat, one game or one play).

If you’re just tuning in to the season now, let us bring you up to pace.

In the National League, the west had all teams in contention, minus the Diamondbacks, in early August. The West was a thriller (key word being was) with the Padres on top of the division and the team in fourth only trailing 8 games behind.

However, the West faded back.  Still currently sits the four teams within 8 games, but only now teams like the Dodgers have conceded the season by dealing Manny Ramirez and the Padres, who are still leading the division, are only leading by 1 and are on a ten game losing streak.

In the Central, it’s been a parking lot brawl for first between the Cardinals and Reds, literally. The two teams have been neck to neck swapping positions for first and second and this really has become a cut throat situation especially since it is unlikely that the second place will make the wild card.

In the heat of the dog days of summer, there was a bench clearing brawl that started at home plate in the bottom half of the first between Cincinnati leadoff batter Brandon Phillips and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. By the end of the incident both managers were thrown out of the game and two players were fined from each team.

At the moment the east is moving with two teams taking control, the Braves and the Phillies. The Braves played through the dog days red hot the entire time and the Phillies looked to be crawling and lagging only to have things fall apart even more with Ryan Howard getting injured along with Chase Utley and Shane Victorino who were already injured. But all of a sudden the Braves slowed down (that happens to young teams) and the Phillies got healthy. Currently their standings are the Braves ahead of the Phillies but only by one game.

In the American League there have been some shocks and there have been some, “well that’s not surprising at all outcomes.”

The west is at a standstill and has been since around July. But the shocker has been the Seattle Mariners who had a spectacular team on paper at the beginning of the season but also one of the worst records in baseball after Junior retired due to management issues and Cliff Lee being traded. Once again, poor Ichiro.

But the West has a new leader, and by new, I mean not the Angels, who are currently behind the A’s and the Texas Rangers who control that division with an 8 game lead over the second place team.

The Rangers, under new ownership (Nolan Ryan, who bought majority shares in the franchise for those baseball buffs), have changed. They made serious moves acquiring Vladimir Guerrero at the beginning of the season and Bengie Molina and Cliff Lee after the All-Star break.

The central has been a fairly predictable outcome. The Indians and Royals were out of contention around the All-Star break and began their typical garage sale, trading players for prospects and money, while the Twins, White Sox and Tigers had been sitting only several games apart from each other. However, the Tigers have dropped too far out now.
That leaves the Twins and the White Sox to fight for another 20 or so game. The Twins lead that division by 3.5. But the Twins have not made any big moves before the playoff rosters had to be set and unfortunately for the Twins the White Sox have acquired Manny Ramirez.

ESPN would be appalled to see anybody sum the East up so fast, but here it is. Yankees and Rays on top. Yanks ahead by 2.5 games.
Unfortunately for interest purposes, Boston has fallen too far out, most likely due to injury. The Rays have made no moves during the season to really push for the division, but the Yankees acquired Lance Berkman from the Astros. Berkman arrived in New York and did not hit well, then he injured Alex Rodriguez. But A-Rod has returned and New York is still holding the lead that they will never surrender.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

4 thoughts on “MLB Games Are Finally Interesting as the Playoff Push Begins

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