Pennant races heating up for final two weeks | News Coverage from USA

Pennant races heating up for final two weeks

Jesse Yomtov

USA TODAY

Published 8:09 AM EDT Sep 16, 2019

There’s just two weeks left in MLB’s regular season and the races are getting even tighter than we expected.

With seven games remaining between the Cardinals and Cubs, the NL Central is very much in play and the surging Brewers could actually capitalize on the front-runners cannibalizing each other as the year winds down.

In the NL wild-card chase, the Nationals were once 4.5 games ahead of the Cubs, but head into Monday clinging to just a 1.5-game cushion, not to mention they’re only 2.5 ahead of Milwaukee, currently on the outside looking in.

Buckle up for what could be one of the more entertaining stretch runs in recent memory.

Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ seven-person panel voted this week

RANK (movement from last week

1. Houston Astros (–)

Kyle Tucker’s first 13 games in 2019: .325/.357/.550, 8 RBI, 4 SB.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (+1)

A.J. Pollock has a .916 OPS since returning from injury on July 12.
3. New York Yankees (-1)

Mike Tauchman’s injury changes the equation for Giancarlo Stanton’s role upon his return.
4. Atlanta Braves (–)

Mike Foltynewicz has a 1.52 ERA in his last five starts.
5. Minnesota Twins (–)

Taylor Rogers has walked just three batters in 34 innings since June 18.
6. Oakland Athletics (+1)

Final 12 games are against teams below .500.
7. Tampa Bay Rays (-1)

Joey Wendle stepping up: 15-for-41 (.366) to begin September.
8. St. Louis Cardinals (–)

Tough week with three vs. Nationals, four at Wrigley.
9. Cleveland Indians (+1)

Three games vs. Tigers will be good chance to build some momentum.
10. Washington Nationals (-1)

Juan Soto still hasn’t turned 21 years old.
11. Chicago Cubs (–)

Scored 46 runs in three-game sweep of Pirates at home.
12. Milwaukee Brewers (+1)

Even without Christian Yelich, looks like they’ve got another run in them.
13. Boston Red Sox (-1)

Will J.D. Martinez opt out of his contract?
14. New York Mets (+2)

Maybe Robinson Cano (.319/.363/.619 in 113 second-half AB) isn’t done after all. 
15. Philadelphia Phillies (–)

They play 14 games in 13 days to end the season.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (-2)

The four-game sweep in New York crushed their wild-card hopes.
17. Texas Rangers (–)

Rougned Odor vs. the Mendoza Line: .205 average through Sunday.
18. San Francisco Giants (–)

Could be Madison Bumgarner’s final two weeks in San Francisco.
19. Cincinnati Reds (–)

Nick Senzel’s rookie season comes to an end with torn labrum.
20. San Diego Padres (+1) 

Chris Paddack bouncing back after a rough stretch in August.
21. Los Angeles Angels (-1)

Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton all done for the year.
22. Chicago White Sox (–)

Yoan Moncada, 24, has quietly come into his own this season.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (–)

Starling Marte is having the best season of his career.
24. Colorado Rockies (+1)

Just another 40 home run season for Nolan Arenado.
25. Toronto Blue Jays (-1)

Vlad Jr.’s has extreme reverse splits, which is unusual for a young player.
26. Seattle Mariners (–)

Sandy Alcantara looks like a front-end starter.
27. Miami Marlins (–)

Kyle Lewis homered in first three games – and four of six – to begin career.
28. Kansas City Royals (–)

With Mike Trout done for the year, Jorge Soler should win AL home run title.
29. Baltimore Orioles (–)

Took two of three vs. the Tigers in MLB’s battle for the basement.
30. Detroit Tigers (–)

Matthew Boyd has a 5.58 ERA in 12 second-half starts.


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