The St Louis Cardinals did have their eight-game winning streak snapped by Atlanta on Sunday, but their run of wins has seen them leap up the NL Central standings and firmly back in contention for the division title. The Chicago Cubs now have just a one-game lead over the Redbirds, with Milwaukee and Pittsburgh still in the hunt too.
The LA Angels have also been winning in red and they delivered a blow to their AL West, and Wild Card, rivals the Seattle Mariners by sweeping their four-game series at Safeco Field. The Angels have a six-game winning streak going and have gone from being sixth in the Wild Card race last Sunday to holding the second Wild Card spot one week later.
The New York Yankees are still in the first AL Wild Card spot, although they’ve fallen an extra 2.5 games behind BostonÂ at the top ofÂ the AL East standings over the past week, in part due to the Red Sox’s play against them this past weekend.Â The Red Sox have won ten of their last eleven games.Â Cleveland have also slightly padded their AL Central lead, increasing their gap by two games to 4.5 over Minnesota.
The LA Dodgers and Washington Nationals have also both increased their healthy leads in the NL West and East divisions respectively, although this is the only context in which the word healthy applies to the Nats. Thankfully the damage done to Bryce Harper following a slip on a wet first-base bag is not as bad as it looked, but he’s still likely to be out for several weeks.
The Colorado Rockies are also breathing a sigh of relief after the initial scan results of Nolan Arrenado’s hand were positive after he was hit by a pitch on Sunday. A broken bone in that area usually costs a player six weeks and that would have put the star third baseman out of action for the rest of the regular season, but it looks like it’s just going to be a bit sore for a few days.
The Rockies didn’t have any other luck this weekend as they were swept by the Miami Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton is on an absolute tear at the plate: he’s homered in four consecutive games and has 21 in his last 33 games to put him seven clear of Aaron Judge at the top of the MLB home run list with 42.
The Marlins are 8.5 games behind the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, who are tied for the two Wild Card races on 65-52 records, but if Stanton can keep on slugging at this rate then he should make it fun at least.
What’s coming up
The St Louis Cardinals have yet another big week in store as they start out with two inter-league games in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Pittsburgh to start a series against their NL Central rivals on Thursday.
The Pirates meanwhile are in Milwaukee for three games to open this week. The Brewers always looked like a team that would be jumped by better clubs at some point and that’s starting to happen, but if they could sweep this series then that will at least keep their hopes up. The series finale on Wednesday is a 19.20 BST start and should see Gerrit Cole and Jimmy Nelson on the mound.
The Chicago Cubs are facing the Cincinnati Reds and they hold a 6-3 season series record against them.
Elsewhere among the National League play-off hopefuls, the Dodgers are in inter-league play against the Chicago White Sox (which might not be a lot of fun for the White Sox), Arizona are facing a somewhat-scuffling Houston Astros (Colin McHugh and Zack Greinke start it out in the first game of the series) whilst the Colorado Rockies are taking on the Atlanta Braves.
Monday’s game from that series should offer a strong contender for feel-good story of the week as the Rockies’ starter is scheduled to be Chad Bettis, making his season debut after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for testicular cancer.
Inter-league match-ups will also be important for AL play-off hopefuls too. The LA Angels are in Washington taking on the Nationals, whilst the New York Yankees have a four-game home/road split Subway Series against the Mets.
Wild Card chasers Baltimore and Seattle are facing each other, the Rays are taking on the Blue Jays and there’s an AL Central battle between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians, with the latest Bartolo Colon appearance likely to come on Tuesday.