Series, Injuries, and Virus-Mixed Wild-Card Races

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Early September is usually a good time to stock up on the six-month Major League Baseball regular season. The staff is expanding. One month left until the playoffs. Time to break in pennant races.

With the playoffs scheduled to begin on October 5, the final four and a half weeks of the regular season will be a wild leap to the finish line, at least in a few races. In a few leagues, including American League East, AL Central, and National League Central, the top-ranked teams have significant margins (at least eight games until Tuesday). The most intriguing – of course, by design – lies in wild card hunts, where the format returns. pre-pandemic form.

Beyond the six division leaders, 11 teams entered Thursday’s games with a five-and-a-half-game wild card.

While each team has unique challenges ahead, the Boston Red Sox have had to deal with a coronavirus outbreak.

Red Sox, who Fell from their perch on top of AL East In late July, the joker battled to hold on to a spot. As of Wednesday afternoon, nine members of the organization, most of whom are gamers, tested positive for the virus, while several were in quarantine with close contacts.

Tuesday’s 8-5 loss to AL East leaders Tampa Bay Rays was one of the lowest points of the Boston season. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the team’s best all-rounder, scored a run on the first hit, but later left the game because he also tested positive. Coach Alex Cora sent the Bogaerts back to the bunker after taking the field in the second half.

“We have to keep going,” Cora told reporters. “They’re not going to stop the tournament for the Red Sox. We know that. So we have to figure it out, show up tomorrow, play good baseball, do it the next day.”

The team’s baseball chief, Chaim Bloom, told reporters Ahead of Wednesday’s game, where the epidemic is “nauseous”, people’s symptoms are changing, and the Red Sox are optimistic, everyone will get over it without any long-term worries – “but frankly we don’t know for sure until everyone has passed.”

Bloom said “the majority” of Red Sox who tested positive received the vaccine. Still, despite what Bloom calls the team’s best effort to train their players, the Red Sox are one of seven teams that have not reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold for key personnel and players on the main teams – a line established by MLB and players. Union for relaxed coronavirus restrictions.

“Anyone in this organization who isn’t vaccinated hurts me,” Bloom said. told reporters.

Various wild card battles offer plenty of intrigue as the Red Sox try to stay healthy and the rest of the teams prepare for an exciting stretch run.

According to this Fan GraphicsThe end-of-season odds were that the Houston Astros (AL West), Chicago White Sox (Center) and Rays (East) had at least 88 percent chances to win their divisions by Wednesday.

despite final slipThe Yankees saved the season with a 21-8 record, including a 13-game winning streak in August. But that wasn’t good enough to catch the Rays, who are still AL champions. So, for now, the Yankees are in the driver’s seat for the best AL wildcard spot, thanks to strong pitching (2.73 won run average and 215 hits) led by Gerrit Cole and a strong roster led by outfielder Aaron Judge (30 home runs). and .934 on the base plus percent deceleration).

The Red Sox were two games behind the Yankees until Wednesday, and they’ve held up despite the virus outbreak and some shooting problems. Behind them: Oakland Athletics, two games behind the Red Sox until Wednesday, breaking their four- and seven-game losing streak in August.

Right behind Track and Field is the Seattle Mariners, who may be the most surprising playoff contenders in baseball. They have the longest playoff drought in the four major North American sports leagues and last reached the postseason in 2001. The Mariners remained in the mix for a wild card due to contributions from longtime third baseman Kyle, among others. Due to Seager (15 home runs in the second half) and a 28-16 record in single-run matches until Wednesday.

Having reached their extended postseason season as one of the most exciting junior teams in baseball last year, the Toronto Blue Jays may take a late fee. with a staff led by first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and second baseman Marcus Semien has one of the strongest offenses in Blue Jays baseball. Run differentials – the number of runs minus allowed, often serve as an indicator of a team’s overall quality – fourth best in AL

The most definitive division race is at NL Central, where the Milwaukee Brewers have a nearly 100 percent chance of winning by Wednesday, according to FanGraphs’ postseason odds. East (Atlanta Braves ahead) and West (with Los Angeles Dodgers at top) are more mixed.

The two best teams in the NL in terms of record and run difference are in the same division: the San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers. However, only one can win the division and the other will downgrade their season to a win or go wild game against a team with a lower regular season record.

The Giants, who led the league by five games in mid-August, lost their dominance on Wednesday when they lost their fourth game in a row. With three wins in a row, the Dodgers took the lead for the first time since April 28.

Giants dealing with a virus outbreak smaller than the Red Sox and We have reached the 85% vaccination threshold.was 19-9 in August – good, but not good enough to beat the Dodgers, who were 21-6. Since the All-Star break, Dodgers All-Star starter Walker Buehler has led the major leagues with a 1.46 ERA.

After a tough April and May, the Reds’ standings slowly climbed to the second wild card spot. They were boosted by a shot from first baseman Joey Votto (17 points in the second half, most MLB draws) and a shot from Wade Miley. with some advanced metricshas been one of the best starts in baseball this season.

Things get messy after these teams: By Wednesday, four teams were in the Reds’ five-and-a-half games for the second wildcard – San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Mets. he order.

The Padres, who took first place in the highly competitive NL West in late May, but Sprayed in July and AugustThey are fighting to reclaim a playoff spot. The Phillies have advanced in division and wild card races with help from outfielder Bryce Harper, who has beaten Fernando Tatis Jr., Shohei Ohtani and Guerrero as the major league leader in the OPS (1,014) until Wednesday.

Along with the Phillies were the Cardinals, who dropped from first to fourth on NL Central in two weeks in June and have been trying to make up for it ever since. The Mets, a one-time winner in the NL East, were overtaken by the Braves and Phillies in August and there was confusion and off the field.

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