The top-ranked Washington Nationals are still looking to lock up the NL East division title but their plans to do so unraveled over the weekend in St. Louis, losing two of three to the Cardinals, an opponent they could possibly face in the first round. Another twist in all of this is that the Cincinnati Reds are tied with the Nats for the best record in the National League at 96-63.
The magic number to clinch the East for the Nats remained at one after their loss at St. Louis on Sunday. They lead the Atlanta Braves by three games in the NL East.
Gio Gonzalez continued his push towards his first Cy Young as he became baseball’s first 21-game winner and has another start lined up Tuesday night against the Phillies in D.C. It would be interesting to see if the Nationals skip him in the rotation should they clinch tonight, allowing him to start Game 1 on Friday or Saturday.
A case could have been for the Reds and the top spot in this week’s Fox Deportes MLB Power Rankings.
Cincinnati has a three-game set with the Cardinals, who own a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL’s second wild-card berth.
Manager Dusty Baker will rejoin the team tonight in St. Louis and resume his duties. He had missed the last 11 games after suffering a mini-stroke.
The Texas Rangers remained ranked third in this week’s rankings. The Rangers, whose magic number to clinch the AL West is now two, clinched a playoff-berth Sunday night after winning the second game of a day-night doubleheader.
Their lead over the Oakland Athletics is just two games and the AL West will be decided in the coming days as the A’s host Texas for the start of a three-game set.
The San Francisco Giants stay in the fourth spot this week and will look to completely KO the Dodgers out of the postseason over the next three days.
The NL West champs will most likely play either winner of the NL East or Central on the road this weekend in the first-round of the playoffs.
The only question surrounding the Giants is whether they made the right decision not to bring Melky Cabrera back for the playoffs.
The Baltimore Orioles not only are making their first postseason appearance since 1997, clinching a playoff berth after the Los Angeles Angels lost in the second game of a double-dip in Texas, but are looking to win the AL East too.
The Orioles, ranked fifth this week, and the New York Yankees, are deadlocked even in the division standings.
The O’s swept the Red Sox at home this weekend and will now look for some help from the very same team they eliminated from the playoffs on that crazy September night last year. The Red Sox will be in The Bronx to play the Yankees.
Here’s how the rest of the teams pan out.
1- Washington Nationals 2- Cincinnati Reds 3- Texas Rangers 4- San Francisco Giants 5- Baltimore Orioles 6- New York Yankees 7- Detroit Tigers 8- Oakland Athletics 9- Atlanta Braves 10-St. Louis Cardinals 11- Los Angeles Dodgers 12- Chicago White Sox 13- Los Angeles Angels 14- Tampa Bay Rays 15- Milwaukee Brewers 16- Philadelphia Phillies 17- Arizona Diamondbacks 18- Pittsburgh Pirates 19- San Diego Padres 20- Seattle Mariners 21- Kansas City 22- Toronto Blue Jays 23- New York Mets 24- Boston Red Sox 25- Miami Marlins 26- Cleveland Indians 27- Minnesota Twins 28- Colarado Rockies 29- Chicago Cubs 30- Houston Astros