MLB Week in Review
by Jordan Adams - 09/11/2006
With the MLB postseason closing in, some of the biggest issues in baseball are emerging from the shadows. As the list of World Series contenders is dwindling as each week passes, discussion of playoff seeding has turned into a hot topic. This week's MLB week in review examines the pros and cons facing each club vying for one of the eight playoff spots.
Detroit Tigers - AL Central Leader
Pros: The Tigers have played their worst baseball over the past couple of weeks and they are still the best team in the AL. Even if they do blow the division lead, they are up enough games where they wouldn't fall out of the playoffs completely.
Cons: Their pitching has somewhat fallen apart and the offense is not getting it done in clutch situations. Minnesota owned them this past weekend and has all the momentum to overtake the Central.
New York Yankees - AL East Leader
Pros: After the infamous five-game sweep in Boston, New York seemingly chopped one of Boston's legs out and sprinted past its rivals and into first for good. The October Classic is all but a lock for the Bombers.
Cons: Despite having one of the best offenses in baseball, New York needs to maintain its starting pitching and get deeper outings beyond Wang and the recent good run for Randy Johnson.
Oakland Athletics - AL West Leader
Pros: At 82-60, baseball's best team for a bargain price has been in first for quite some time and is clicking well enough to stay above the Angels.
Cons: The A's lack a proven arm after Zito and will need solid starts if they want to finally win a playoff series and prove they are a team beyond the regular season.
Chicago White Sox - AL Wild Card leader
Pros: Everyone counted them out last year so this team is not down and out until they are mathematically eliminated.
Cons: Not only is its starting pitching completely upside down from a year ago, but its offense has also been inconsistent in scoring runs in key situations.
New York Mets - NL East leader
Pros: Now holders of the best record in baseball, the Mets are in a great position to ride this wave into the World Series. With Pedro and Glavine, they possess a great 1-2 punch.
Cons: Middle relief has been a bit shaky at times. When the offense struggles, these pitchers are key to the Mets surviving close, low scoring games.
St. Louis Cardinals - NL Central leader
Pros: As bad as they've seemed at points in the season, the Cards have yet to give up the division lead for an extended period of time and should at least just make it as the Central's top team.
Cons: Albert Pujols has been terrific, but who else has produced offensively? Without big hits from the rest of the lineup, St. Louis will be hard pressed to escape the first round.
Los Angeles Dodgers - NL West leader
Pros: In a division filled with mediocrity, Los Angeles has held strong. With good pitching and timely hitting they should be the second choice behind the Mets to advance to the World Series.
Cons: As easily as they could win the division, they could as easily cough up the West and fail to make the playoffs all together. Anything can happen with more than two weeks to go with a slim two game lead in the division.
NL Wild Card Contenders:
No one wants to face this young, emerging club. With deadly arms in the rotation they would stir up the playoffs if they pulled off a historic postseason birth.
With Ryan Howard leading the charge, this team could be the fan favorite to see his sensational bat in the playoffs. Starting pitching is the biggest question mark if they are to make it to October.
San Diego Padres
The team's recent hot streak has them two back of the Dodgers, but their chances are a toss-up with Philly and Florida hot on their tails. The final weekend of games could very well decide the NL wild card spot.