Tulo Tricks Photographer Into Thinking He’s A Pitcher

Baseball is officially BACK!

Pitchers and Catchers reported to Spring Training last week, which gave a slight quench of the baseball thirst that has been mounting since the season ended last year. The offseason beforehand was even more entertaining than years past (mostly aided by my Marlins’ firesale.) But now, the full rosters have reported to their Arizona and Florida homes of the next month and BASEBALL IS BACK.

Admittedly, Baseball is not the most entertaining sport to the naked eye. The game moves slowly at times and there isn’t the instant gratification that is present in the nation’s other sports, such as Basketball, Football, and Hockey. Personally, I believe that Baseball is the best game of all, followed closely by Soccer. But then again, I may just be a boring old soul. To others, however, who don’t understand the inner workings of the world’s most in-depth mental game, Baseball relies on two things to reach the common fan…superstitions and shenanigans, which brings us to the title.

Tulo, the Comedian.

Yesterday, while taking Toronto Blue Jays team pictures, Troy Tulowitzki tricked the team photographer into thinking that he was a pitcher. “Why is this so funny,” you might ask? Well, first of all, Tulo is a Shortstop and has been his whole career. I understand that it’s Spring Training, which means young new players, so the photographer wouldn’t know their position, but come on…this is Tulo. Also, apparently the photographer assumed that he was a pitcher. It wasn’t like Tulo initiated the prank, he just saw an opening and took it.

Tulo is 6’3″ and weighs about 205 lbs, which doesn’t scream pitcher. Most pitchers are a little taller and lankier. It’s not the rule, but Tulo’s body type doesn’t scream pitcher, either. He also wears #2, which unless I’m missing someone, isn’t worn by any pitcher in the MLB. There’s only one player off of the top of my head that breaks both of these pitching stereotypes, and it’s Tulo’s teammate, Marcus Stroman, who’s only 5’9″ and wears #6.

Regardless of what the photographer is thinking here, its hilarious stuff, and the perfect way to get back into the lightheartedness of Spring Training.

Speaking of lightheartedness, here’s the best MLB Gif of all time:

Welcome back, Baseball. And, as always, RIP Jose.

RIP Roy “Doc” Halladay

Damn man, this sucks. It seems like every time you turn around another MLB pitcher is dying in a tragic accident. First Jose Fernandez, then Yordano Ventura, and now Doc. Of course, the first two guys were in the beginnings of what were undoubtedly going to be fantastic careers and Halladay’s career had already ended, but 40 is way too young to go…especially in a fatal accident such as a plane crash.

Growing up, Roy Halladay was one of those pitchers that I loved to hate. Derek Jeter was always my favorite player and the Marlins were my favorite team, so to see Doc slice and dice my boys all the time really got to me. I viewed him kind of like I did Kobe…respected the hell out of his craft, but just couldn’t bring myself to pull for him. And then he retired, and I, like every other true baseball fan, raised my glass to a great player. I was glad to see him retire. I was glad that he wouldn’t be a pain in the Marlins’ side any longer. But I was also glad to witness the greatness of his career.

Roy Halladay’s career was one that will always be remembered. It included a Cy Young award in both the American (for the Blue Jays) and National (for the Phillies) Leagues, a Perfect Game against the Marlins in 2010, and a playoff no-hitter that same year against the Reds. Doc finished his career with a 203-105 record, a 3.38 ERA, and 2,117 strikeouts. Amid his ridiculous career achievements, Doc also was a man of the people off of the field, where he was nominated for the Roberto Clemente award multiple times and just seemed to be an all-around great guy.

So tonight, I encourage everyone to cheers to Doc, put in MLB 2k11, and K up some batters with that legendary Split-Change in honor of the all-time great. RIP.

Houston Astros Take Game 7, Win First World Series Title

Astros Win World Series

It’s been 55 years in the making, but finally, the Houston Astros are World Series champions. With a 5-1 win over Los Angeles Dodgers in Games 7, the Astros secured their first world championship in franchise history. Without a doubt, this World Series was one of the greatest in recent memory. The most pivotal (and thrilling) games of the series were games two and five. Both went to extra innings. Both were won by the Astros.

Game Two had everyone on the edge of their seats.

World Series Game 2: Springer’s Dinger Lifts Stros in 11 Inning Thriller

When fans couldn’t ask for more, Game Five happened.

Then Game Six, Houston trots Justin Verlander to the mound. Just like game two, Verlander pitched well, but this World Series was too great to be decided in six games. After the Dodgers prevailed, all bets were off come Game Seven. Everything pointed to a Dodgers victory in Game Seven. They had confidence, they had swagger, and they had Yu Darvish on the mound. Eight Darvish pitches into the game, the Astros had a 2-0 lead. In the top of the second, George Springer hit his fifth home run of the series to extend the lead to 5-0. That was all they needed. Lance McCullers Jr. to Brad Peacock. Peacock to Francisco Liriano for four pitches and an out. Then Chris Devenski for an out. Finally, Charlie Morton for the final four innings. Each one did their job and Morton finished it off. Houston Astros: World Series Champions.

Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Justin Verlander finally get their rings; well earned. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman all just getting started. After the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston deserves this. This isn’t a fluke either; they’ll be around for years to come.

McCann, Beltran, Verlander Tribute

Never Forget the H2Bro

H2Bro Doesn’t Care About Your First Homerun Either

Carlos Beltran Did It All

You Can’t Name Three Starters Better over the Last Decade

 

 

World Series Game 2: Springer’s Dinger Lifts ‘Stros in 11 Inning Thriller

World Series Game 2: Dodgers lead series 1-0

Through 8, Dodgers lead 3-2

  • Top 3: Bregman Single, Reddick Scores. HOU 1-0.
  • Bottom 5: Pederson Home Run. Tied 1-1.
  • Bottom 6: Seager Home Run, Taylor Scores. LAD 3-1.
  • Top 8: Correa Single, Bregman Scores. LAD 3-2.

Top 9: Jansen Blows the Save

Top Nine. 3-2 Dodgers. Stud Closer Kenley Jansen on the mound for his second inning of work. Marwin Gonzalez digging in at the plate. Jansen receives his call from his catcher, he comes set, he kicks, he throws; 92 MPH cutter down in the zone. Gonzalez takes, called strike looking.

Jansen gets the ball back. Makes his way back to the bump. Just like the pitch before, the 6’5″ Jansen unleashes another 92 MPH cutter further down in the zone. This time Gonzalez swings catching a piece and fouling the pitch off. Strike two.

Now one pitch away from being two outs from victory, Jansen has a choice: waste a pitch or go right after Gonzalez. Jansen picks the later. The righty rares back and fires. A third cutter, 94 MPH. However, this time Jansen makes a mistake and leaves the pitch up. Gonzalez makes him pay. The Venezuelan utility tool launches a bomb just over the left-center field fence to tie the game.

Despite a George Springer double, Jansen was able to end the Astro threat and get through the rest of the inning.


Bottom 9: Ken Giles Retires the Side

First, Corey Seager sees three straight fastballs at 98,99, and 98 MPH respectively. Seager fouls off the first, takes the second for a ball, and whiffs on the third. On the fourth pitch, Giles runs a slider down and in and Seager misses again; one out.

Second up, Justin Turner. First pitch, ball outside. Next, a slider across the heart of the plate for a called strike. Then Giles heats it back up, a 98 MPH fastball middle away that Turner catches a piece and fouls off. On pitch number four, Giles runs another slider away from Turner. Turner rolls over and grounds out to second base.

Finally, Cody Bellinger. Giles came right after the talented rookie, first testing him with 98 MPH fastball down in the zone for a ball. Pitch number two, Giles comes right back at Bellinger with a fastball right above the knees. Bellinger took a mighty hack that brought the Chavez Ravine crowd to their feet. However, the hit landed just short of the wall, safely into George Springer’s glove.


Top 10: Altuve and Correa Go Back-to-Back

Now on the mound for LA, Josh Fields. First up, likely AL MVP Jose Altuve. Fields choose to avoid Altuve with two fastballs away but then makes a crucial mistake; a chest-high 97 MPH fastball Altuve absolutely crushes over the fence to the deepest part of the field. 4-3 Astros.

To make matters worse for the Dodgers, now up Carlos Correa. Fields first pitch another fastball. Correa fouls it off. Then Fields tried to mix it up. A curveball that hung just a little too long. Correa doesn’t miss. 427 feet over the centerfield fence. 5-3.

Dave Roberts leaves Fields in to face Yuli Gurriel. One pitch, Gurriel doubles to center fields. Josh Fields out, Tony Gingrani in. No outs, runner on second.

Cingrani goes on to retire Brian McCann with a fly out to center. The Dodgers then chose to walk Gonzalez to set up the double play. Sure enough, Cingrani induces a Josh Reddick ground ball back to the mound that he rolls up for two outs and end the inning.


Bottom 10: #PuigYourFriend so is Keke

Giles back on for another inning of work. First up, Yasiel Puig. With the weight of the city on his shoulders, Puig delivers. Puig punishes a 97 MPH fastball, Giles fourth of the at-bat, for a 425-foot bomb. 5-4 Astros.

Then Giles regained his bearings. The flamethrower retired both Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes on strikes before facing Logan Forsythe with two outs and an opportunity to finish off the game. However, Logan Forsyth had nerves of steel. The big pinch-hitter took three straight balls with two strikes to earn a free pass.

Now in the box, Keke Hernandez. First pitch, fastball down for a ball. On the next pitch, Giles let one slip and Forsythe advanced to second on the wild pitch. Hernandez fouled off the third pitch, a fastball chest-high. Giles missed again outside with the fourth pitch to move the count to 3-1. Pitch number five, Hernandez delivered, pushing an outside fastball back where it came from through the hole. Forsythe beat the throw from Reddick and tied the game at five.

Chris Devenski replaced Giles after allowing the game-tying hit. In a fortunate play for the Astros, Devenski tried to pick Hernandez at second but missed horribly. The ball would’ve gone into centerfield and Hernandez would’ve advanced, but the ball hit umpire Lez Diaz and forced the runner to stay at second.

Chris Taylor could’ve ended the game with a base hit, but Devenski was able to induce a fly out to end the threat.


Top 11: Springer Hits a Dinger

Brandon McCarthy now on the mound for the Dodgers. Leading off, Cameron Maybin. Maybin sees four straight sinkers from McCarthy; a ball away, a swing and miss on a pitch inside, and then he takes another ball outside. Then McCarthy leaves a sinker slightly elevated that Maybin shoots back up the middle.

Now up, George Springer. Springer takes a first-pitch sinker for a ball down. On the next pitch, Maybin broke for second. The pitch was a ball that allowed the speedster to swipe second base easily. The stolen base earned the world a free taco. Now down 2-0, McCarthy threw an 87 MPH cutter across that Springer fouled off. McCarthy decided to challenge Springer with another cutter in essentially the same location as the last and Springer attacked. 389 feet later, the Astros were up 7-5.

McCarthy then retired Alex Bregman, Altuve, and Correa in order to end the inning.


Bottom 11: Culberson Bomb, Puig Gets His Chance

Houston sent Devenski back out to the mound for the 11th and the move almost backfired. Both Corey Seager and Justin Turner hit rocket shots off Devenski; however, Seager hit his right at Cameron Maybin and Justin Turner lined out on a laser that Carlos Correa snagged from shooting into left field. Two pitches later, Charlie Culberson cut the lead in half with a home run off a 95 MPH fastball that he blasted over the left-center fence. Culberson’s home run was the fifth dinger of the game hit in extra innings. In World Series history, there have only been 17 extra-inning home runs hit all time.

For Yasiel Puig, the table was set. This was his moment. Two outs, needing one run, everything was perfect for a Puig storybook bomb. Quickly down 0-2, Puig didn’t falter. He fouled off a third straight changeup after watching the first two. Then Puig proceeded to take three straight balls. Now sitting 3-2, Devenski had to pound the strike zone. Puig fouled a changeup to the backstop on the next pitch. Next, the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Puig fouled off another changeup. Finally, Devenski was able to get Puig to chase a changeup down and away to end the game and earned the Astros their first World Series game win ever.


Heading to Houston: Tied 1-1

Yankees vs. Astros: Game 6

Tonight at 8:08 PM, EST at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Game 6 between the Yankees and the Astros will be played. The Astros started out 2-0 in the series, but have fallen to 3-2 after three straight unimpressive offensive outings. The good news for the Astros, is they’re sending out their newfound ace in Justin Verlander.

Friend of QMS and avid Yankees supporter, Tyrell Brown aka Panda, has graciously supplied us with his “5 Keys” to the Yankees taking Game 6. I delightedly agreed to play Devil’s Advocate and supply my own “5 Keys” for the Astros, so I’ll lay them out, and we’ll see who calls it.

Panda’s 5 Keys (Yankees) TreBabs’ 5 Keys (Astros)
1. Scoring First:

In this series, the team that scored first has won 4 out of 5 times. The one exception being the Yankees in Game 4, large in part to their late innings rally. Best case scenario for the Yanks is someone in their lineup sends a Verlander mistake over the wall.

 

 

1. Justin Verlander:

Verlander has been a monster ever since he joined the Astros, especially in the postseason, but his best game of his tenure came in Game 2 of this series. He only allowed 5 hits & 1 ER, while striking out 13 in a Complete Game gem. Hopefully, for his sake, he’ll get a little run support this time around.

 

2. Aaron Judge:

As we’ve seen all year, the Yankees are a completely different team when Judge produces. In this series, he has gone a respectable 5-16, with 2 HRs and 6 RBI. The Yanks have won in every game that he has hit an RBI. It really comes down to the rookie, which is scary, because he was awful against Verlander in Game 2, going 0-4 with 2 Ks.

 

2. Power From Superstars:

This series has been completely different from the ALDS, where the Astros were sending balls out of the park left and right. They’ve only hit 1 HR as a team, which was a 1st inning shot from Carlos Correa. Severino has been known to leave a ball or two up in the zone, so this is the perfect match-up to pounce on a mistake.

 

3. Production From DH:

The Yankees’ DH spot has featured primarily Chase Headly, but Gary Sanchez and Matt Holliday have also hit in the spot for a game each. Combined, the DHs have went 5-16, with most of the production coming from Headly in Game 5. I imagine that Headly will get the call again for the Yanks. At the very least, they’ll need the veteran to be a tough out in the 9-hole.

3. Hitting With RISP:

The Astros have been absolutely terrible with runners in scoring position in this series, going 4-27. This is going to have to change tonight or their October run is going to come to an end.

 

 

4. Bullpen:

Over the course of this series, the Yankees’ Bullpen is averaging over 3 innings pitched a game. They know their strengths, and they are going to play to them. The only real mishap that their Pen’s had, is the walk-off Chapman gave up in Game 1. In a perfect world, Severino will give them a strong 5 innings tonight and hand the ball off with a lead.

 

4. Chasing Severino:

Severino has been an up and down pitcher all year long. He has tremendous upside, but he tends to get in trouble early in games. The Astros need to interrupt the Yankees’ game plan tonight by getting to Severino in the first couple of innings. If he gives the ball off with a lead it’s going to much harder for them to win.

 

5. Getting To Astros Bullpen:

Other than Game 5, the Astros’ Bullpen has actually been really good, but not as good as Justin Verlander. If the Yankees can get to at least one pitcher between Verlander and Giles, then their chances of winning this game will go up immensely.

 

5. Taking Back Momentum:

This one comes down to something more than statistics. We all know that “home field advantage” can be a very real thing, especially in the postseason. Ever since the tragic Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, their fans have really rallied behind this team, and they’re going to need that support to force a Game 7.

 

Mic & Alex’s ALDS Adventure

On October 10, 2017, two of QuarterMaster Sports’ friends, Mic & Alex embarked on a journey to the “great state” of Ohio. I don’t know the whole story, but Mic, a native Ohioan, and Alex, a Yankee fan rode through the night 600+ miles to have one of their dreams utterly demolished by watching Game 5 of the ALDS between the Tribe and the Yanks.

Game 5 looked to be a stout pitching match-up from the start with ex-Indian, CC Sabathia facing off against Cy-Young winner, Corey Kluber. Neither starter would end up with the win, however, with CC only going 4 & 1/3 and Kluber leaving a couple hanging to Sir Didi Gregorius. On that note, where did this Didi power surge come from? I was a huge fan of the Didi to the Yankees move from the beginning, but I didn’t expect him to drop bombs.

The Yankees seemed to be in control throughout this game. The Tribe tried to scratch away in the 5th inning, but as soon as Girardi handed the ball over to his stout bullpen, it was pretty much over. The final scoreline was 5-2, with Mic and the rest of Cleveland catching a huge “L” in the process. The moral of this story, friends, is never, under any circumstances, should you be a fan of a Cleveland sports team. Yes, they will all tell you that they are looking forward to LeBron and the Cavs, but we all know how that is going to work out. Best case scenario is they lose to the Warriors in the finals…again.

Back to baseball. I commend the Yankees for battling back from 0-2 and taking the series in Cleveland, but they’re in for a rude awakening in the ALCS. I fully expect for them to lose to the Astros 1-4. Alex, you’ll have to wait until next year buddy or even the year after that. Not that I have much room to talk. My Marlins haven’t so much as sniffed the playoffs since their 2003 World Series run, but hey, we have Jeter now…anything is possible.

In closing, we at QuarterMaster wish our friends a safe return to NC, but man, that was a long way to drive for a broken heart.

MLB Postseason Power Rankings 10/6

Divisional Series

  • ALDS

    • #1 Cleveland Indians vs WC New York Yankees (CLE 1-0)
    • #2 Houston Astros vs #3 Boston Red Sox (HOU 1-0)
  • NLDS

    • #1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs WC Arizona Diamondbacks
    • #2 Washington Nationals vs #3 Chicago Cubs

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks

The D-Backs ended Rocktober before it even began, but a matchup in Chavez Ravine could prove rough for the Snakes. Don’t tell Torey Lovullo though. In the season series, Arizona took 11 of the 19 matchups between the divisional rivals. If anyone believes in the 1st round upset, it’s our friends in Phoenix. Paul Goldschmidt shows signs of resurgence in the NL Wild Card Game, if he can sustain a hot-streak, the D-Backs could end a once-promising Dodger season.

  1. Washington Nationals

Washington is good, but can they go anywhere without Bryce Harper being a force in the middle of their lineup? The 24-year old slugger is 4-13 all-time against Cubs’ Game 1 starter Kyle Hendricks with a home run, but Washington’s star outfielder has struggled mightily since returning from a knee injury 2 weeks ago. The Nats have the best 1-2 starting pitching punch in Strasburg and Scherzer, but their offense is going to have to come to life if they want to make a deep playoff run.

  1. New York Yankees

You never get away with allowing 3 runs in the top of the 1st inning; that just doesn’t happen. The Yankees stole the Wild Card Tuesday night. They spotted the Twins 3 runs before they even got a crack at Ervin Santana. It didn’t matter, the Yanks evened it right back up in the bottom of the frame and went on to book a date with Cleveland in the ALDS. They’ll have to respond from a Game 1 shutout by Trevor Bauer if they hope to continue their chase for an AL Pennant.

  1. Boston Red Sox

Chris Sale’s September struggles have leaked into October. Not good for the Bo Sox chances. In 5 rough innings of work, Sale allowed 7 runs on 9 hits Thursday in Game 1 of the ALDS against Houston. Now in a hole, New England will turn to 17-game winner Drew Pomeranz in Game 2 in hopes to turn the series around before heading back to Boston for Game 3. In 2 starts against the Astros, Pomeranz allowed only 2 runs on 7 hits in 12 innings of work. John Farrell will hope for the same Friday Night.

  1. Chicago Cubs

Joe Maddon’s Cubs have picked the perfect time of the season to play their best baseball. Two seasons ago, Chicago was an inexperienced group that lacked any Postseason experience, this season they may very well be the most playoff-experienced team in the Postseason. They draw a tough Nationals team that has pitching and hitting. If anything, the chiseled Chicago needs to attack Washington’s starting pitching so they can take a crack at the National bullpen.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers struggled down the stretch, no doubt, but right at the end of the season began to look like the team we saw demolishing opponents earlier in the season. Arizona may have taken the regular season series, but that won’t mean a thing to the Dodgers or the fans in Chavez Ravine. Dodger Stadium will be rocking Friday Night, especially with Clayton Kershaw on the bump. Though the big lefty has struggled since returning from injury, don’t expect a Chris Sale performance here. Kershaw’s going to capture his first career Postseason victory or his offense will bail him out. Either way, Dodgers should roll in Game 1.

  1. Cleveland Indians

Trevor Bauer starts over Corey Kluber in Game 1. That’s why Tito gets paid the big bucks. Bauer was spectacular in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees and now Cleveland is in the driver’s seat. With Kluber taking the mound Friday Night, the Tribe could be heading to Yankee Stadium needing 1 win to secure a spot in the ALCS. Of course, the Cleveland offense must get past former Indian ace from days gone by C.C. Sabathia first.

  1. Houston Astros

It’s time to recognize Jose Altuve for what he is. He’s simply the best hitter to come along since Ichiro broke came to the United States. This dude has led the league in hits for 4 straight seasons. 4 straight! Then the guy shows up Thursday in Game 1 against Cy Young candidate Chris Sale and makes him look like an over-hyped coach’s son in a Saturday morning little league game. 3 home runs in a game is impressive for anyone at any level, but 3 home runs in Game 1 of the ALDS is ridiculous. Oh yea, and Justin Verlander looks as if he’s completely rejuvenated since joining the Astros rotation. These guys are no joke.

MLB Contender Power Rankings 9/29

Mathematically Eliminated

  • American League

    • Detroit Tigers
    • Chicago White Sox
    • Oakland Athletics
    • Toronto Blue Jays
    • Baltimore Orioles
    • Tampa Bay Rays
    • Texas Rangers
    • Seattle Mariners
    • Kansas City Royals
    • Los Angeles Angels
  • National League

    • San Francisco Giants
    • Philadelphia Phillies
    • Cincinnati Reds
    • New York Mets
    • San Diego Padres
    • Atlanta Braves
    • Pittsburgh Pirates
    • Miami Marlins
    • St. Louis Cardinals
  1. Milwaukee Brewers (85-75) 2 GB of NL WC #2 [LW:11]

160 games and the Brewers season is no longer in their hands. Of course, they must beat the Cardinals on Saturday and Sunday, but their destiny is controlled by the Los Angeles Dodgers who Milwaukee needs to beat the Rockies on both days. By expert calculations, the Brew Crew has only a 3% chance to make the Postseason, so there is still a chance.

  1. Colorado Rockies (87-73) NL WC #2 [LW:12]

Rocktober is almost secured. The Rocky Mountain Boys just need one win or one Brewer loss this weekend to lock up the final NL Wild Card. Colorado went 4-2 since the last Power Rankings were unveiled and outscored opponents 30-10 over their current 3-game win streak. Charlie Blackmon and gang look like they may be getting hot right at the perfect time.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks (92-68) CLINCHED NL WC #1 [LW: 8]

Wow. J.D. Martinez. This week the wavier-reject turned superstar added 3 more bombs to his September total. His 16 homers this month are tied for most all-time in the final month of the season. The D-backs went 3-3 over the week (Martinez homered or plated the winning run in each win), but look to be ready for the NL Wild Card Game. Chase Field is sure to be a crazy scene Wednesday Night.

  1. Minnesota Twins (84-76) CLINCHED AL WC #2 [LW: 10]

The Twins lost 103 games last season. They were horrible. Minnesota has been bad since the turn of the decade and hasn’t seen the Postseason since then. That’ll change Wednesday Night with a trip to the Bronx to face the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game. The last time the Twins won a Postseason game came in the old Yankee Stadium 13 season ago. Since then, Minnesota has lost 12 straight Postseason games including 9 to the Yankees over that span.

  1. Washington Nationals (97-63) NL East WINNER [LW:6]

Bryce Harper is back from the knee injury but only has one hit in three games since returning. The Nationals hope he can shape back into form starting this weekend. Washington will host the Cubs in the NLDS starting next Friday. Behind Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, the Nats may have the best one-two punch from the mound in all of the baseball. In the Postseason it’s all about pitching. Washington has the start of the game covered. However, their front office hopes that all the July moves they made to bolster the bullpen pay off.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (102-58) NL West WINNER [LW: 7]

LA used the scrubs of the NL, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, to get back in a groove heading into the postseason. With a single win over the Rockies this weekend, the Dodgers will secure home-field throughout the playoffs including the World Series should they make it there. They certainly have a shot with their pitching rotation. The combination of Kershaw-Darvish-Hill-Wood is deadly. Close it off with Kenley Jansen. That means Cody Bellinger and the Boys in Blue just need to score a few and the series is theirs to lose.

  1. New York Yankees (90-70) CLINCHED AL WC #1 [LW:4]

The Bronx Bombers are an AL-Best 51-29 at home this season. They’ll look to capitalize on that advantage Wednesday Night when they host the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game. Unfortunately, the winner earns a trip to Cleveland to face the Indians in the ALDS. During the regular season, the Indians owned New York beating them in 5 of their 7 games. However, the Yanks did win their two games in Cleveland. They have hope, but wins on the road are going to be tough to come by in the Postseason.

  1. Boston Red Sox (92-68) AL East WINNER [LW: 3]

Boston was red-hot coming out of last weekend but cooled off instantly come Monday. In 5 days, the Bo Sox lost 4 games and are now stumbling into the playoffs. They’ll go in as back-to-back AL East Champs and travel to Houston for the ALDS. The Red Sox feature one of the best rotations in the AL and should be a tough out in the Postseason.

  1. Chicago Cubs (91-69) NL Central WINNER [LW: 5]

Joe Maddon’s Cubies have played a bunch of one-run games over the past week, including 6 of their last 9. They’ve won 4 of those one-run games. It’s clear the Championship hangover is over and Chicago looks focused and ready to defend their title. They draw a tough matchup in the NLDS though. The Cubs will hope to match starting pitching staffs with Washington. In the end, the series will likely come down to who has the stronger bullpen.

  1. Houston Astros (100-60) AL West WINNER [LW: 2]

The Astros may be the hottest team heading into the playoffs. They’ve won 14 out of their last 17 games including the last two in future ALDS opponent Boston. Houston features the best offense in baseball which has outscored opponents 53-11 during their current 5-game win streak. They need that production to continue into the Postseason as they’ll matchup with one of the best starting rotations in baseball in the ALDS.

1.. Cleveland Indians (101-59) AL Central WINNER [LW: 1]

Houston’s hot, but Cleveland’s been on fire since mid-August. Over that span, they’ve gone 32-3. Tito and the Tribe are rolling. It remains to be seen whether or not they got hot too soon.

 

 

~RONGY~

MLB Contender Power Rankings: 9/22

Mathematically Eliminated

  • American League

    • Chicago White Sox (62-91)
    • Detroit Tigers (62-92)
    • Oakland Athletics (70-83)
  • National League

    • San Francisco Giants (60-94)
    • Philadelphia Phillies (61-93)
    • New York Mets (66-87)
    • Cincinnati Reds (66-88)
    • San Diego Padres (69-85)
    • Pittsburgh Pirates (69-85)
    • Atlanta Braves (69-83)
    • Miami Marlins (72-81)

Out of Contention (Not close enough to pose a threat)

  • American League

    • Toronto Blue Jays (72-82) 8 GB of WC
    • Baltimore Orioles (74-81) 6.5 GB of WC
    • Tampa Bay Rays (75-79) 5 GB of WC
    • Seattle Mariners (75-79) 5 GB of WC
  • National League

    • None

  1. Kansas City Royals (75-78) 4.5 GB of WC [LW: 16]

  • The Royals are on the absolute edge of contention sitting 4.5 games back of the Twins. A series loss this weekend against the White Sox will likely end KC’s hope of getting back to the postseason.
  1. Los Angeles Angels (76-78) 4 GB of WC [LW: 14]

  • As predicted, series against the Indians and Astros have the Angels season on life-support. Losers of six straight, it’s going to take a miracle for Trout and the Halos to snag the last AL Wild Card.
  1. Texas Rangers (76-77) 3.5 GB of WC [LW: 15]

  • Like the Angels, Texas is going to need help if they are going to make the postseason. They swept the Mariners in Seattle over the week but dropped a series to the Angels and the opener to this weekend’s set in Oakland. A series against Houston starting Monday should officially put the Rangers out of their misery.
  1. Colorado Rockies (83-71) NL WC #2 [LW: 9]

  • The Rockies has a rough week. It started well, beating the Padres 6-1 and 16-0. Then they lost 4 straight games, 2 to San Diego and 2 to the lowly Giants. For now, they hold the last NL Wild Card spot, but the Cardinals and Brewers are chomping at their heels.
  1. Milwaukee Brewers (82-73) 1.5 GB of WC [LW: 12]

  • A road trip to Miami and Pittsburgh proved successful for the Brewers, going 4-2 over that stretch. The Brewers opened a series with the Cubs that started on the wrong note. Back-to-back nights, Thursday and Friday Night the Brewers dropped each game in extra innings. They will still have a decent shot at the last Wild Card spot come the final series against St. Louis, but they must recover for a split with Chicago and take care of business against Cincinnati over the week first.
  1. Minnesota Twins (80-74) AL WC #2 [LW: 11]

  • Minnesota went 3-4 over the week. Not a bad week considering the teams behind them in the standings are struggling to gain any ground. Unfortunately for the Twins, 3 of the 4 games they lost were in the Bronx to the Yankees. The likely site of the AL Wild Card Game.
  1. St. Louis Cardinals (81-72) 1.5 GB of WC [LW: 10]

  • After getting swept by the Cubs last weekend, the Cards held ground in the Wild Card race by sweeping the Reds in Cincinnati. They’ll look to take advantage of the Pirates over the weekend before hosting the Cubs in a 4-game set during the week. If they survive that, they’ll play Milwaukee over the final weekend for a chance to claim the final NL Wild Card.
  1. Arizona Diamondbacks (89-65) NL WC #1 6 games up [LW: 6]

  • The D-Backs have all but secured the 1st NL Wild Card. In all likeliness, they’ll be hosting the first game of the postseason. The last week of the season shouldn’t be too taxing either. They’ll finish with two series at home against the Marlins and Giants and end on the road in Kansas City.
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56) NL West WINNER [LW: 3]

  • LA is clearly coasting into the postseason. They clinched the NL West Friday, but hold a slim one-game lead over the Nationals for the best record in the league. Last week they took 2 of 3 in Washington, but then turned around and lost 3 of 4 to the Phillies. They need to refocus quickly if they want to perform well in the postseason.
  1. Washington Nationals (97-61) NL East WINNER [LW:2]

  • Like the Dodgers, Washington is strolling towards the postseason. Their chances of jumping the Dodgers for home-field advantage throughout the postseason are decent. They play this weekend in New York against the Mets followed by a trip down to Philly. Washington will end the season at home against the Pirates.
  1. Chicago Cubs (86-68) NL Central Leader (Magic Number:5) [LW: 7]

  • The Cubs haven’t clinched the NL Central crown quite yet, but have picked the best time to start playing their best baseball of the season. They lost only once last week. Even better, they went a combined 5-0 against the two teams chasing them in the Central over that span.
  1. New York Yankees (86-68) Clinched Postseason Berth [LW: 8]

  • Odds are the Yankees will host the AL Wild Card game. They’ve locked up their playoff berth, but it’s likely a little too late to grab the AL East crown away from the Red Sox. The Yanks did show their muscle this past week, sweeping presumed Wild Card Game opponent Minnesota Twins in the Bronx.
  1. Boston Red Sox (90-64) Clinched Postseason Berth [LW: 5]

  • The magic number for the Red Sox is 5 to claim another AL East title. They only lost one game last week and look to be in good form heading into the playoffs. Boston has won 12 of its last 15. Their regular season comes to a close with series against Cincinnati, Toronto, and Houston.
  1. Houston Astros (95-59) AL West WINNER [LW: 4]

  • Houston has gotten hot again at the right time. They’re only 1 game back of the Indians for home-field advantage during the AL postseason. However, the end of season schedule isn’t going to easy for the Astros. They finish on a road trip that takes them to The Ballpark in Arlington and Fenway Park.
  1. Cleveland Indians (96-58) AL Central WINNER [LW:1]

  • Cleveland followed up their 22-game win streak with another 5-game win streak. They are playing baseball better than any other team at this junction of the season. The Tribe looks more than ready to defend the AL pennant. They’ll end with a homestand against the Twins and White Sox.

~RONGY

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