If you missed it, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado had a heated exchange in their dugout over the weekend. There is a lot of frustration surrounding this team as is and now there will be a lot more talk about San Diego. But is it really that big of a deal?
These guys spend months together competing and fighting all to get to the playoffs and eventually the World Series. Every player in baseball is a competitor. When things aren’t going well, emotions will boil over. You can’t tell me you haven’t ever got into it with a coworker over something small and stupid. There was some yelling and in this case maybe a reality check. It isn’t ever about one guy. It is a team game. Nobody is bigger than the team,
As long as things don’t get physical, I think something like this could actually be good for the team. Guys can vent and blow off some steam in what has been a very tough season especially for the Padres. As long as Machado and Tatis talk it out and get back on the same page, this doesn’t really matter. It is just frustration coming out. They will be alright.
It is crazy that we now have just two weeks of the regular season left. After the All-Star break, everything flies by. Three teams have clinched playoff spots already. More will join this week and some will come down to the wire. Here is where every team stands with just a couple weeks left.
- San Francisco Giants (97-53) —
The Giants hit a little skid at the end of the week by losing the final two in their four game set with the Padres. They bounced back by taking two of three from Atlanta, but they can’t have slip ups right now. The Dodgers are right on their tails in the division race. Brandon Crawford is hitting the ball very well right now to go along with his defense. San Francisco will head to San Diego and Colorado this week. They need to get right to avoid that Wild Card game because the Dodgers aren’t letting up.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (96-54) —
Another strong week from the Dodgers actually moved them a bit closer to first place in the NL West. The pitching just continues to mow down every lineup that they come up against. We all know that this is the most talented team in baseball. That isn’t in question. Can they become the hottest team leading into October and possibly into their second straight championship? The Wild Card game could end up being their biggest obstacle to get there.
- Houston Astros (89-61) +2
The Astros look to be the hottest team in the American League all of a sudden. Sure they only played the Rangers and Diamondbacks last week, but they took care of business. Kyle Tucker is sneaky hot and nobody is really talking about him. I still am concerned about the rotation and bullpen. All the teams in the playoffs can hit. It is the pitching that normally separates the champions from the rest of the pack. I don’t know if they have enough.
- Tampa Bay Rays (93-58) —
The Rays aren’t exactly having a great final month of the regular season. It isn’t going to really matter as they will end up at the top of the AL East. Out of their final 4 series’ they will play three teams that are battling for a playoff spot or already in the playoffs. They will get a good taste of what this October will be like, but they need to win some of those games to get some confidence back.
- Milwaukee Brewers (91-59) -2
A 2-3 week doesn’t exactly call for celebration. However, the Brewers did clinch a playoff spot this week. So it is a glass half full/half empty situation. They have seven games left against the Cardinals so they can also spoil their rival’s playoff hopes. The pitching again will be fine, but I am not sure if the rotation can carry the offense when it is struggling like it is. This might be the worst team offensively to make the playoffs this year.
- Toronto Blue Jays (84-66) +1
Toronto just continues to roll over whoever steps into the opposite dugout. The Blue Jays took two of three from Tampa Bay and then took two of three from Minnesota. It just doesn’t matter who they play right now. They will have to settle for a Wild Card spot but they at least have a starter for that game in Robbie Ray. It turns out that the Blue Jays are who we thought they were: an offensive juggernaut.
- Chicago White Sox (85-65) -1
The inconsistency with the White Sox worries me quite a bit. They struggle against good teams and sometimes can’t beat the bad ones either. The AL Central is bad so they have looked great running through those teams left and right and people look at the record and think that they are really good. They are 25-29 against teams with a winning record. That won’t get it done in October. They have to get hot as soon as possible.
- Boston Red Sox (86-65) —
The Red Sox managed to take two of three in Seattle and then swept the Orioles to put themselves in a great spot to grab a Wild Card. With everyone returning from their COVID issues, they are back at full strength. A weekend series with the Yankees this weekend gives them a chance to bury their biggest rival. A rollercoaster season in Boston looks like it will have at least a semi happy ending.
- St. Louis Cardinals (80-69) +5
A perfect 6-0 week extended the Cardinals win streak to eight games now and they have taken over the second NL Wild Card spot. We knew this offense was going to score, but the pitching has come a long way. At 40 years old, Adam Wainwright is having one of the best seasons of his career. Wainwright has a 2.89 ERA and will pass 200 innings in his next start. He will surely get some Cy Young votes and this team could give either the Giants or Dodgers problems in the Wild Card game.
- Oakland A’s (82-68) +2
The A’s won five straight to close out last week and move back into second place in the AL West. They play a lot of lower scoring games and really rely a lot on Matt Olsen. That isn’t a bad thing. Olsen is an MVP candidate. They just need to build around him. Oakland has 13 games left with seven of them coming against Seattle and the other six against Houston. It looks unlikely they will get into the playoffs, but if they take care of the Mariners they can at least finish second in the division.
- Seattle Mariners (81-69) —
The Mariners had a massive opportunity to make up some ground in the Wild Card race with Boston last week but slipped up and lost two of three. The worst part was one of those was in extra innings where they had so much success all season. They still have a chance but they can’t lose another series. They have two series with Oakland and two with the Angels. Jarred Kelenic looks to be figuring out which will allow all Mariners fans to relax a little bit.
- New York Yankees (84-67) -3
I dropped the Yankees below Seattle due to the Yankees just playing inconsistent all year. They have had a couple of great stretches, but for the most part have played bad. They have won just one series this month and that was against the Orioles. Wild Card dreams are fading for the Yankees quickly. Taking two of three over Texas this week will give them some momentum heading into a massive series with Boston this weekend.
- Atlanta Braves (78-70) -3
A 1-4 week against Colorado and San Francisco just created some drama in the NL East. Atlanta is allowing the Phillies to hang around. That series next week between the Braves and Phillies looks massive right now. If the Braves have another bad week, that series could decide the winner of the division. Max Fried looks awesome in the last couple of months but someone else needs to step up to regain control of things.
- Cincinnati Reds (78-73) -1
Oh man the Reds are going to blow it. They just keep dropping series after series to teams they should beat like Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs. Now they have to look up at the Cardinals who are scorching hot. I hate doing it to a team that is this close to a playoff spot, but they are done. The opportunity was right there and they let it slip away.
- Philadelphia Phillies (76-74) +2
Philadelphia took two of three from both the Cubs and Mets this week to close the gap in the NL East down to three games. Now they play their next seven games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Could they actually do this? The fact they are doing this without Rhys Hoskins makes it that much more impressive. Bryce Harper for MVP?
- San Diego Padres (76-73) -1
Because of their remaining schedule, the Padres are another team that I am saying is done. The pitching staff just did not live up to the expectations and the offense hasn’t been consistent enough. For a team that was supposed to challenge the Dodgers in the division and for the pennant, this has been a nightmare of a season.
- Cleveland Indians (73-76) +1
Cleveland is just a few offensive pieces away from battling with the White Sox for the division. The rotation is just so good and so young. Unfortunately they were so beat up this year. Cleveland has Jose Ramirez so there is your guy to build the lineup around. If they don’t spend this offseason, they are wasting a year of potential contention. They are ready. Time to pull the trigger.
- New York Mets (73-77) -2
A 1-5 week officially puts away the Mets. I wrote them off weeks ago but now it is officially in writing. Jacob deGrom’s injury really feels like it was the turning point for this squad. Without him they didn’t really have a leader. Add in the whole thumbs down fiasco and this team turned real dysfunctional. Another disappointing season in Queens.
- Detroit Tigers (73-78) +1
The Tigers just went 4-2 this week against Milwaukee and Tampa Bay. Do you believe me now when I say they are good and will only get better? A .500 record is not out of the question and that would be way better than anyone predicted before the season started. Detroit might find their way back into the playoffs in the next year or two.
- Los Angeles Angels (72-78) -1
A series win over the White Sox set the stage for a good week for the Angels. Then they were swept by Oakland in a letdown over the weekend. That seems to be the theme of the Angels’ season. They can’t play consistent good baseball and are watching three teams in their division battle for a postseason berth. Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon will be healthy next season, but they need to add more to contend in the AL West.
- Colorado Rockies (70-79) —
The Rockies aren’t as bad of a team as they may look. They are very good at home and are in a really good division with the Dodgers, Giants and Padres. For example, they just went 4-1 against Atlanta and Washington last week. The problem is they are in a loaded division. And they are still a ways behind those three teams ahead of them.
- Kansas City Royals (69-82) —
The Royals went 2-4 against a couple of Wild Card contenders in Oakland and Seattle. Those series show that they are a step below contention and have a ways to go. Salvador Perez is going to come close to setting a new franchise record in home runs. He is at 45 home runs and the record is 48. I don’t think anyone deserves that record more than Perez.
- Miami Marlins (64-86) —
The Marlins got a series win last week over Washington before losing two of three to Pittsburgh. The Marlins have six starters I could see being very quality pitchers in their rotation in 2022. Will they be able to add enough offense to make it matter though?
- Minnesota Twins (65-85) —
The Twins have to be stoked that the Padres are going to miss the playoffs. That takes the attention off of them for being the biggest disappointment in 2021. The situation with Byron Buxton is very interesting. If they lose him, it will be time to blow everything up and start all over. If they keep him, they need to add a lot this offseason.
- Chicago Cubs (67-83) —
Patrick Wisdom. That is about all that needs to be said about the Cubs. He has 27 home runs in 101 games. Wisdom looks like he will be the face of this team throughout this rebuild. Chicago plays the Cardinals in a four game series this weekend so they might be able to spoil their rival’s playoff hopes. That’s always fun.
- Washington Nationals (61-89) —
Juan Soto is so good. He has a legit argument for being the best hitter in baseball. It looks like he will finish with a batting average above .300 once again even though he has had some health issues this season. The Nationals are in rough shape, so it is a shame they will likely keep the 22 year old out of the spotlight for years to come.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (56-94) +1
Look at the Pirates putting some wins together! They went 4-2 this week with series wins over Cincinnati and Miami. The Pirates are at least embracing the rebuild which will make them struggle for a few years but then they should be back in the mix of things.
- Texas Rangers (55-95) -1
The Rangers just don’t do anything well. They don’t score runs and they don’t pitch well. That is worrisome for a team trying out some new talent to see if anything sticks out in September. So far, this roster looks like one of the worst in baseball and there aren’t very many promising young guys on it either.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (48-102) +1
It was a tough week for the Diamondbacks. They got swept by the Dodgers and then lost two of three to the Astros. That is a hard week for any team let alone one that is over 100 losses with a couple weeks left. Watching them and the Orioles battle for the top pick at least gives some reason to watch them.
- Baltimore Orioles (48-102) -1
And now to the other 100 loss team in baseball. I have talked about the exciting and fun players this team has over and over. They might add another with the top pick in the draft next year. Baltimore is fun, but they aren’t close to being good. At least the Ravens are good.
Matthew graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a specialization in Media and Journalism Production. He currently is a broadcaster and writer at Eli Sports Network. Baseball and football are his specialties but Matt covers anything he can. Follow him on Twitter @matt_king19