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We have officially started September baseball, which is one step away from October baseball. Little fun fact for all you baseball fans out there. There are plenty of exciting playoff races heading toward the end of the season, and one of the more exciting is in the National League West. There’s not a ton of drama in the race, as whichever of the Giants or Dodgers loses the division will almost certainly take one of the Wild Card spots. However, the fact that the two are archrivals adds a fun spark. Against all odds, Los Angeles currently leads San Francisco despite losing approximately 80 percent of their organization to injury this year.
The scary part for Giants fans, and all other fans of National League contenders, is that LA could be re-tooling to make sure they play their best ball of the year in September. The Dodgers’ biggest issue this year has been the health of their pitchers, as they’ve rotated through a whopping 14 different starters. Things are starting to look up, though. Midseason acquisition Rich Hill has already returned, though he has another blister issue that could keep him out again. Clayton Kershaw is making a rehab start today and should return before the year is out; getting back the best pitcher in baseball should probably help. Finally, it was just announced on Friday that Jose De Leon, one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, would be called up for his debut on Sunday. De Leon may not be long for the team’s rotation, but a strong showing could make him an asset out of the bullpen in the postseason.
On the offensive side of things, the team has also gotten Yasiel Puig back into their lineup. Obviously, the outfielder’s absence was not due to injury, but rather due to a demotion following underperformance and some clubhouse issues. Still, the talent is undeniable, and there aren’t many playoff contenders that can inject this kind of spark into a lineup. At the same time, the Dodgers have enough depth at the position that Puig can’t hurt them too much if he doesn’t play to his potential. The National League is still the Cubs’ to lose, and the Nationals are still outstanding, but both clubs have to be scared to face a Dodgers team that’s finally reaching full strength.
- Speaking of Puig, he apparently didn’t make it very far on waivers as the Brewers won the claim. Although the two sides did talk trade, it obviously never came to fruition.
- The Royals made it to the World Series last year partially thanks to a tremendous ability to make contact, but a change in approach by opposing pitchers has hurt that. Of course, that’s nothing a praying mantis can’t fix.
- Zack Greinke was the crown jewel in what was supposed to be a franchise-altering offseason for the Diamondbacks. After altering the franchise in the wrong way, should they now look to deal their ace?
- Is your team already out of the playoff race? Are you thinking about joining the Blue Jays’ bandwagon? Check this out before fully committing.
- The Mets are still right in the thick of the Wild Card race despite some injury issues. Even better: Steven Matz is starting to throw again.
- On the other side of New York City, Yankee fans are still inexplicably calling for Brian Cashman’s job. Stop doing that, Yankee fans.
- Remember those Chris Sale trade rumors from the deadline? Apparently, Chicago wanted Jackie Bradley in any trade with the Red Sox, which Boston was not willing to do.
- Are you noticing what Christian Yelich is doing this year? I certainly hope so, because it’s awesome.
- Some teams are fighting for playoff spots. For clubs like the Phillies, it’s all about that sweet, sweet draft position.
- The Braves are in that spot as well. At least their fans get to enjoy Freddie Freeman, though.
- Remember all the hand-wringing over Hyun-soo Kim’s spring training performance? He’s put together a successful debut season in the States.