Sports

As Playoffs Approach Baseball Season Heats Up

Fans Cheer as Both the Mets and Yankees Compete For Postseason Spot

By Nick Ceraso

The National League

With 25 games remaining in the regular season the Mets, at 76-61, lead the second place Washington Nationals by five games in the National League East.  

On July 31 the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes and have been 23-11 since, leading the National League runs scored during that time. During that span, he’s batting .311, with 13 home runs, 31 RBIs, and 24 extra-base hits.  

The biggest problem for the Mets is how many more innings Matt Harvey will pitch before being shut down.  Harvey is coming back from Tommy John surgery after missing all of the 2014 season. Harvey has thrown 166.1 innings and all signs show that he won’t go over 200.

The Mets will look to go with a six-man rotation the rest of the season to begin putting the brakes on Harvey. The starters include the young Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steve Matz.

Only eight of the Mets’ remaining 25 games are against teams with a record of .500 or better, including five against the Nationals and three against the Yankees. Six are home games. The Mets have played incredible at Citi Field, as they are 45-24 at home, which is fifth best in the MLB. Their next two games are on the road against the Nats, after winning the first of the series on Labor Day.            

The Nationals were the favorite to win the World Series before the season started. But they have been plagued by injuries all season. And since the beginning of August, the Nationals are 17-19, finding themselves in two must-win games against the Mets.

The Nationals only have five more games against teams with a record of .500 or better, three of which will be played at Citi Field at the end of the season.

In the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals, at 87-50, hold the best record in baseball and look to win the division for the third consecutive season. Despite losing Adam Wainwright for the year, the Cardinals starting pitching hasn’t missed a beat as they have an ERA of 2.77.

But it’s not just the Cardinals doing well in the Central, as the Pittsburgh Pirates, at 81-55 and Chicago Cubs, at 79-57 hold the next two best records in the League.

The Pirates are 5.5 games behind the Cardinals and look to head to the postseason by taking the Wild Card for the third straight season. The Cubs currently hold an 8.5 game lead over the Nationals and a 9.0 game lead over the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Unless a major collapse by either team, the Wild Card will feature the Pirates and Cubs, with the winner playing the Cardinals.

The Los Angeles Dodgers hold an 8.5 game lead over the Giants in the West.

”I hope we’re panicking a little bit,” said last year’s National League MVP and Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

“I think panic’s a good thing, to a certain extent.”  

Since Kershaw said that, the Dodgers have gone 12-2, and with teammate Zack Greinke, it will be tough for the Giants to catch the Dodgers.  

           

The American League

The Yankees are a half game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League East and lead the Wild Card by 5.0 games over the Texas Rangers.  The Yanks, who look to make the playoffs for the first time in two years, have been carried this season by Alex Rodriquez who missed all of 2014 season due to suspension. Rodriguez, now 40 years old, is batting .256 with 29 homers and 77 RBI.

The Yankees have 10 of their remaining 26 games against teams .500 or better, seven of the 10 games against the first place Blue Jays, with four games against Toronto in mid-September.

The Yankees are planning to shut down starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi for the next two weeks who’s suffering from elbow inflammation. Eovaldi, who is 14-3 with a 4.20ERA, leads the Yankees in wins.

The Blue Jays, before the trade deadline, acquired all-star starting pitcher David Price and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  The moves have proved successful, as Toronto leads the division after going 21-6 in August and 25-8 since August 1. The Blue Jays will only play three games outside of the division for the rest of the season.

The Blue Jays have been lead by Josh Donaldson, who’s batting .306 with 37 home runs, 115 RBI and 107 runs scored. He leads the MLB in RBI and runs, and is third in the league in home runs.

In the AL Central, last year’s American League Champion Kansas City Royals are on the same path this season as they have the best record in the American League. The Royals, at 82-55. lead the Minnesota Twins by 11 games.  While the Twins have surprised most people and only trail the wild card by a game and a half, the Royals have had a commanding lead over the division all season. The Royals acquired starting pitcher Johnny Cueto and ultimate utility player Ben Zobrist.

The Royals are hoping to end the regular season healthy, as two of their outfielders, Alex Rios and reliever Kelvin Herrera, have chicken pox.

In the West, the Houston Astros lead by two games over the Rangers and five and half over the Los Angeles Angels.  The Astros have already won more games this year than in 2014. The Astros have been lead by AL CY favorite Dallas Keuchel 17-6 with a 2.29 ERA and 185 strikeouts. They’re looking for their first division title after moving to the AL in 2013.

The Mets and Yankees both are trying to reach the playoffs. The last time the Mets made it to the postseason was in 2006, which was the last time both New York teams were in the playoffs at the same time.

 

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