Cleat Geeks

3 Sweeps, 2 Make 1 Play-off

Over the weekend there were 3 major sweeps in MLB that help shape the play-off picture. These sweeps do not determine the play-off picture, but they could be indications of how the play-off pendulum will swing. Not to mention the fact that it gives 3 teams momentum to build on and the other 3 teams now need to find some momentum to build toward the play-offs.

Pittsburgh vs Los Angeles

The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 65-44, and if they were in any other division besides the NL Central, which they are, they would be in 1st place. But they showed their dominance over the team with the highest payroll in baseball by completing a sweep of them at PNC Park.

The Dodger’s actually lead the final game of the series yesterday by 2 runs in the 7th inning by a score of 5-3, yet ended up loosing the game by a whopping 13-6 final. Even though they have the highest payroll in MLB, they went out and acquired back end rotation guys and bullpen pieces for the stretch run. All of those pieces fell apart. Mat Latos, who they traded for took the loss on Saturday, and Jim Johnson, who they also traded for, took the loss on Sunday.pittsburgh-pirates-celebrate-tri (1)

Pittsburgh maintains there lead on the top Wild Card spot, while the Dodgers are allowing the other teams in the NL West to climb back into the division race. The NL West is so bad, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 2 games under .500 yet they are only 7.5 games behind the 1st place Dodgers and 4.5 games behind the 2nd place Giants. Plus, the Dodgers stay on the road in Washington, the Giants go into Houston while the Diamondbacks stay at home and face the last place Phillies. This division could get interesting.

San Francisco vs Chicago

Well, the Dodger’s are trying to let people climb back into the division race. The 2nd place team in the division is the Giants. However, they could not take advantage of the lack luster play of the Dodgers as they lost 4 in a sweep to the Chicago Cubs. What a statement series this was for the Cubs!

JakeArrietaTipoftheCapJake Arrieta in posting his 10th straight quality start, won his 13th game of the season, which is a career high and Kris Bryant drove in his team leading 65th run to propel the Cubs to a series sweep of the World Champion Giants on Sunday. “Each game is big for us because of the division we’re in and the two teams ahead of us,” Arrieta said of the Cardinals and Pirates, who are 1-2 in the National League Central. “We know they’re not slowing down and we don’t intend to, either. What we have to do now is continue to make it difficult for the guys ahead of us, continue to show that we’re going to put pressure on and not let up.” It was also the Cub’s 10th win in there last 11 games.

The Giants, on the other hand are trending the opposite way. Starting pitcher Jake Peavy only gave up two runs over five innings as he was the hard luck loser. But, the bigger more glaring problem may be that in those 5 innings Peavy gave them there longest outing of the 4 game series by a starter. San Francisco’s starters compiled a 7.94 ERA in the series, giving up 15 earned runs over 17 innings. The Giants have lost six of their last eight games, all on the road. The Giants also finished the Sunday game going 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

Toronto vs New York

MovaughnWith the 2-0 win on Sunday the Blue Jays have won 8 straight games in completing a sweep of the 1st place Yankees. This is more about the recent domination of the Blue Jays than it is the ineptness of the Yankees. But speaking of the inept Yankees, the Jays did not only sweep them, but they shut them out in the last 2 games. The Jay’s had never done that before to the Yankees in Yankee stadium. In fact, it was the first such occurrence in 16 years! Yes, the last time was May 12 and May 13, 1999 — a Major League record of 2,665 games. To put this into perspective Mo Vaughn hit a home run that day off of Yanks starter Hideki Irabu.

But, lets concentrate on Toronto for a moment. As most of you know they made several moves to bolster their team for a play-off push. Most notably, Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. Every time Tulo has been in the starting line-up since they made the trade for him, they have come out on top. They have now won 8 straight games and with the sweep are only 1.5 games behind the 1st place Yankees, who they play 10 more times this season.

Toronto improved to 61-52 on the year with the afore mentioned sweep of the Yankees. They also now own the top Wild Card spot in the American League. Since they acquired Tulo they have made up 6.5 games on the Yankees. They have a powerful offence, but now they have solidified there bullpen and have an AL best 2.37 ERA since the All-Star break. This is no doubt a dangerous team.

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