Home MLB MLB Sleepyhead Summary: Stanton slugging Marlins into Wild Card contention

MLB Sleepyhead Summary: Stanton slugging Marlins into Wild Card contention

by Matt Smith

The MLB Sleepyhead Summary is a new regular column that helps British baseball fans keep up to speed with MLB despite the time difference!

Things have rarely been dull in Miami during the period of Jeffrey Loria’s ownership of the Marlins. He’s a controversial figure, put politely, and few will be too sad to see him leave when the sale of the club to a new ownership group formally goes through later this year.

However, the team won a World Series in his first year and they’re making a run to get to the post-season for his final year too.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 50th home run of the season on Sunday as the Marlins completed a 3-0 sweep of the San Diego Padres to put them 4.5 games behind for the second NL Wild Card. That’s still a fair gap to make up, but it’s certainly possible with a month of games still to be played.

Arizona now have a 1.5 game lead over Colorado for the first Wild Card spot after they swept a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. The first two games were close one-run affairs and the third game was going that way too until the D-Backs exploded for nine runs in the eighth inning on their way to an impressive 11-0 victory. The Rockies held their Wild Card spot with a 2-1 series win over Atlanta.

The Milwaukee Brewers had a good weekend as they became the first team since early June to get the better of the LA Dodgers in a series. Jimmy Nelson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Sunday’s game as the Brew Crew prevailed 3-2 over the returning Yu Darvish and took the series 2-1.

That came at a good time for Milwaukee as the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs lost a series 2-1 to Philadelphia, Rhys Hoskins homering in his fifth consecutive game for the Phillies to make it 11 long-balls in his first 18 MLB games, which puts the Brewers just two games behind the Cubs. The Cardinals lost their weekend series against Tampa Bay 1-2, whilst Pittsburgh just about kept their hopes alive by winning two of three in Cincinnati.

In the American League, the Baltimore Orioles had a great weekend in Boston. After thumping the Red Sox 16-3 in the series opener, they took the following two games as well (a combined score of 25-4) to put themselves just two games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card. Minnesota won their weekend series against Toronto 2-1 with Byron Buxton hitting three home runs in the decider on Sunday.

The Yankees have a 3.5 game lead over Minnesota for the first AL Wild Card as they recovered from losing their series opener against Seattle by winning the following two games, Sunday’s including five first-inning errors by the M’s (three by Jean Segura alone). The Wild Card isn’t the Yankees only focus though.  Baltimore’s wins over Boston helped out the New York Yankees as they are now just 2.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.

It wasn’t such a good weekend for the Angels, Royals and Rangers. The Angels lost their series against Houston 1-2, whilst both the Royals and Rangers were swept in three-game series. Texas lost three to Oakland in a series they would have expected to enjoy, yet Kansas City’s losses may have been just as painful. Although Cleveland were always going to be a tough opponent, the Royals failed to score a single run across the three games.

This week

Miami’s play-off credentials will be firmly tested as they head to Washington for a three-game series starting on Monday. Arizona are hosting the LA Dodgers hoping they can follow the Brewers’ lead in winning a series against the best team in the Majors.

It could be an important week in the NL Central as the contending teams are coming together, with Milwaukee hosting St Louis and Pittsburgh heading to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs.

In the American League, Baltimore will look to keep their good form going with a three-game series at home against the Mariners. Boston will hope to end their four-game losing streak against Toronto with the Blue Jays probably needing a sweep to keep an outside chance of getting back into it in September. The Yankees will see if they can gain even further ground in the AL East by earning some wins against Cleveland.

The Twins match up against the White Sox once again after a five-game series last week, the Angels are hosting the A’s and Tampa Bay and Kansas City collide with both needing wins to jump some of the teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race.

Finally, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros will play an emotional three-game series. The devastation caused by Storm Harvey has meant that the series will be moved from Houston. Originally it was thought they would swap it to Texas (Arlington), but the latest news is that it may move to Tampa Bay instead. Clearly, there are difficult logistical problems involved for Houston home games in the immediate near future, yet in the greater scheme of things they seem inconsequential.

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