If you’re reading this, it means that there are less than two weeks left in the MLB regular season. It’s no doubt an exciting time, especially in the National League, where nearly every playoff spot is still up for grabs. Here is a look at some of the top stories of the past week.
Court is in Session
Aaron Judge is officially back with the Yankees. He was activated from the DL last Friday but only limited to being a defensive replacement. However, he finally made it back into the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox. Judge went 0 for 4 and admits that he still has some pain in his wrist, but he intends to play through any discomfort he may feel. Now it’s just a matter of getting his timing back in the 12 games the Yankees have left before the Wild Card Playoff.
The Cleveland Indians wrapped up the AL Central title over the weekend. It’s the third year in a row that Tribe has won the division title. But while they were the first team to clinch a division title, the Indians only have the fifth-most wins in the American League. Despite playing in a division in which every other team is under .500, the Indians have not had an exceptional season and aren’t even to 90 wins. Nevertheless, they will be in the postseason and could be an interesting team to watch.
On the Way Back
One player who could really help the Indians in the playoffs is Trevor Bauer, who has been out for a month after suffering a hairline fracture in his leg. Bauer threw three innings in a simulated game on Tuesday and walked away brimming with optimism about his return before the end of the season. He’s not back yet, and there’s a chance he ends up in the bullpen rather than the rotation, but Bauer pitching a simulated game is undoubtedly good news for Cleveland.
Thin in the Pen
As the Cubs are fighting to hold onto their lead in the NL Central, their bullpen depth is dwindling. Pedro Strop went down with a hamstring injury he suffered while running the bases, an injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season and possibly the playoffs as well. The club thought they might have Brandon Morrow coming back, but he has since been shut down for the rest of the season because of a bone bruise. The Cubs have several other options, including some with closing experience, but not having Strop or Morrow down the stretch and in the postseason is a tough break.
The Real Story
The Colorado Rockies may have caught a huge break. Shortstop and MVP candidate Trevor Story left Monday’s game with an elbow injury. Reports started to circulate that he had done serious damage to his UCL and could be headed for surgery. However, Rockies manager Bud Black told reporters on Tuesday that Story’s MRI showed no structural damage to the elbow. The hope is that he’ll be able to return to the lineup in a few days. Fingers are still crossed in Colorado, but it appears Story’s injury is not as serious as first thought.
Speaking of the Rockies, they are part of what has become the tightest playoff race in baseball. Unfortunately, they are currently on the wrong side of it. With losses to the Dodgers on both Monday and Tuesday, the Rockies are now 1.5 games back of L.A. in the NL West. The Rockies also trail the Cardinals by the same margin in the wild-card race. With Arizona and Philadelphia more or less dropping out of the race, the National League is essentially down to six teams fighting for five spots.
One Last Ride
Will end with the news of Mets captain David Wright, who will get one last start in his big league career on the penultimate day of the season. Wright hasn’t played a big league game since May 2016 because of neck, back, and shoulder problems. He’s worked his butt off to rehab and get himself into playing shape, but his chronic issues are simply not getting better, making him physically unable to perform at the major league level. However, the Mets will give him a swan song. Wright will be activated next Tuesday and may or may not get pinch-hit at-bats before getting a start on Saturday the 29th in what will be the final appearance of his career.