St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and relief pitcher Jason Motte celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
This is shaping up to be another crazy finish in the playoff races ...
- And, to that end, it's worth rounding up where things stand in the various races over the next few sets of MLBullets. Up first? The NL Wild Card race, which, until recently, didn't seem like much of a race. The Braves had (and still have) all but locked up the first slot, and the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates would be fighting it out over the last few weeks, with the Cardinals largely in control. But a slump by the Cardinals (as well as the Dodgers and Pirates, frankly) has opened the door for a couple surprising entrants, which we discussed last time: the Phillies and Brewers. Now even the Diamondbacks have climbed to within 4.5 of the second Wild Card. At present, the Cardinals still hold the spot by 2 games over the Dodgers, by 3 games over the Pirates, by 3.5 games over the Brewers, by 4 games over the Phillies, and then by 4.5 games over the Diamondbacks. FanGraphs took a look at these teams' strength of schedule the rest of the way, things look good for the Cardinals, whose remaining opponent winning percentage is just .464. The Pirates' is .467, the Diamondbacks' is .468, the Phillies' is .493, the Brewers' is .504, and the Dodgers' is a hefty .532.
- Orioles starter Jason Hammel left his last start with knee pain in a recently surgically-repaired knee. Fortunately, there is no new damage, but he's still going to have to rest. With the Orioles locked in a tight race in the AL East, they could use every start they can get out of Hammel before the end of the season.
- Relatedly, Andy Pettitte, out since June 27 with a broken ankle, will start on Tuesday for the Yankees, who are battling those O's. Pettitte will be held to a strict 70 pitch count this time out, though.
- Yoenis Cespedes has been brilliant for the Oakland A's after signing a four-year deal in the offseason out of Cuba, but he's also missed time here and there with nagging injuries. The latest is a wrist sprain he suffered yesterday, which has him "day-to-day."
- Rob Neyer wonders whether re-signing Lance Berkman for $12 million was a good idea for the Cardinals, setting aside the fact that he's been hurt most of the year.
- FanGraphs discusses how and why Chase Headley has been "hitting like a maniac."
- Incredibly, Edwin Encarnacion just popped his 40th homer of the year, adding RBI 101 in the process.