Most teams split last week with the exception of the Brewers who beat the Astros twice.
In the driver’s seat (but no longer cream of the crop):
1- Dodgers (12-4) – The Dodgers split again this week with the Royals. The Dodgers will have to fend off the Diamondbacks this week to maintain the top spot in the standings. The D-Backs can swap spots with them with a sweep. Johnny Costa has given up 6 home runs this year and will face the D-Backs who lead the league in long balls, something to watch for late in the game this week. Week 11 the Dodgers have the Giants in what may end up being a game the Dodgers will also need to win to keep their 1st round bye. The standings are getting tight. (remaining schedule; D-Backs (2), Astros (1), Brewers (1), Giants(2)
2- Padres – (11-5) The Padres held off the Diamondbacks by splitting with them last week. A sweep by the Diamondbacks would have put them in the driver’s seat for a 1st round bye but the Padres remain in the #2 slot after 8 weeks. The Padres are tied for 1st in the league in “team hits” and 4th in team HR’s and runs scored. In addition they are 2nd in runs allowed. It should make for a fun stretch run as the Padres will have to fend off the Giants and Expos in the coming weeks, who are both only 1 game behind them in the race for the 1st round bye. Remaining schedule; Giants (1), Expos (2), Royals (3)
Fighting for 1st round bye:
3- Giants (10-6) – The Giants are one game out of 2nd place and face the 2nd place Padres this week for 1 game. These teams played each other back in week 5 and the Padres won that game 5-2. Jordan Robles hit 4 home runs in that game off of Dave Fisher. The Giants are in a position to situation themselves at the top of the standings with remaining games against the 1st, 2nd and 4th place teams. (Remaining schedule; Padres (1), Royals (1), D-Backs(2), Dodgers (2)
4- Diamondbacks (10-6): This Diamondbacks missed out on an opportunity to take over 2nd place in the standings after splitting with the Padres but they are still in a position to knock the Dodgers out of first place should they be able to sweep this week. The Diamondbacks who are usually known for their strong hitting are ranked 5th in runs scored and hits this year but they are ranked 1st in home runs.
(Remaining schedule; Dodgers (2), Giants (2), Cards (1), Expos (1)
5- Expos (10-6) – The Expos have lost three of their last 4 games. This week brings in the Cardinals who beat a very good Giants team this past week. Not a cake walk of a week for the Expos. They could really use two wins this week with three games left against the Padres and D-Backs. Two wins this week will setup a nice showdown week 10 vs the 2nd place Padres.
(Remaining schedule; Cards (3), Padres (2), D-Backs (1)
Only 1 playoff spot left for these folks:
6- Yankees (8-8) –The past week the Yankees rested Mike Weiner who was nursing a sore shoulder. Daniel Whitener went twice for the Yankees losing to the hot Mariners but beating the Expos. Whitener lives out of state and its unknown what his availability is the coming weeks. The remaining schedule is not overly concerning but the Brewers (who the Yankees play this week) have been hot, are on a winning streak and are looking to shock the league this week. (Remaining schedule; Brewers (2), Royals (2), Astros (2).
7- Mariners (6-10) – The Mariners split this past week which keeps them in the playoff hunt. Their remaining six games are against the bottom three teams in the standings although the Cardinals and Brewers are playing better wiffle as of late. A 5-1 record over their last six games is not out of the question. Teams better start looking to see if they hold a tie breaker vs the Marines because the Mariners are coming for that last playoff spot. (remaining schedule;, Astros , Cardinals, Brewers)
8- Royals (8-8) –The Royals when all their players make it to the field have the tools to beat any team in the league. They have not however been able to get Fitzgerald, Avallone, Freddy Gonzalez and Nick Martinez in the lineup together except for one game since the addition of Fitzgerald. The addition of Frank Kollias was a hidden gem. He has been able to make it to the field and took over the #2 spot in the rotation, throwing consecutive quality starts. It’s still a tough road to the playoffs but it is possible, we will have to wait and see how the standings work themselves out. The Royals have been having issues scoring runs but Avallone and Kollias have been doing a great job keeping them in games the past few weeks. ; Remaining schedule: Giants (1) , Yankees (2), Padres (3)
9- Brewers (6-10) It’s good to see the Brewers winning. They have a respectable 6-10 record and face the Yankees (8-8) this week. It’s been a while since the Brewers played a game that mattered and this week its it. Should they take two this week and go to 8-10, they will be talking playoff race in Brewer nation and would possibly knock the Yankees out. Splits will not get the job done for the Brewers, they will need to go 5-1 over their last six games. The playoffs start this week for the Brewers. (Remaining schedule; Yankees (2), Astros, (1), Dodgers (1), Mariners (2).
10- Cardinals (5-11) –The Cardinals handed the 10-6 Giants a loss this past week. I would not be surprised if they hand out a few more losses which will hurt their opponents. The Expos and D-Backs are fighting for a 1st round bye and the Mariners are trying to get into the playoffs. (Expos/Expos, Mariners/Mariners, Expos/D-Backs).
Playing for fun:
11- Astros (2-14) –The Astros likely clinched the 1st pick of the 2018 draft. The question is who is looking for a change of scenery from their team next year and will opt out and will the draft picks they obtained be enough to get them back into contention in 2018. (remaining schedule;, Mariners/Mariners, Dodgers/Brewers, Yankees/Yankees)