MLB News Update: American League Wild Card Update as of 8/19/13
2013-08-18 11:00:00 EDT
The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics try to hang on to their Wild Card leads in the American League.
After getting swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles the Rays have rebounded to take two out of three from the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. Alex Cobb returned to the rotation on Thursday and gave Tampa five innings of one run ball, striking out five, to pick up his seventh win of the season. It’s just another arm for Rays manager Joe Maddon to use and it’s the reason why they should be able to solidify a playoff spot over the final month of the season. James Loney continues to have a fantastic year for this club at first base and the addition of Wil Myers has given them a big boost as well. As long as Fernando Rodney doesn’t blow up they should be in great shape heading into the playoffs. Rodney has pitched three scoreless innings since allowing four earned runs and blowing a save in Los Angeles. The Rays are a half-game ahead of the Athletics for the first Wild Card position and 3.5 ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.
Oakland is trying to figure out what to do with their starting rotation now that Bartolo Colon has landed on the disabled list, Tommy Milone was recalled to start on Sunday, and Brett Anderson appears ready to come back. While players like Josh Donaldson have really regressed over the second half of the season they’re getting production from throughout the lineup like we’ve seen from A’s teams of the past. Yoenis Cespedes is up to 20 home runs on the season and boy don’t you think they wish that Josh Reddick could put it back together this year? After his five home runs in two days he’s gone back to being a singles hitter, but at least he’s putting the bat on the ball. They’re a half game behind the Texas Rangers in the division and we’ll have to see who plays stronger down the stretch.
Baltimore hasn’t been playing great baseball but they’ve gained ground in the A.L. East because of Boston’s struggles. Their deficit is down to just 4 1/2 games in the division and three games in the Wild Card race. Chris Davis had a monster day on Sunday afternoon as the left handed power hitter stroked his 45th home run on a day where he went 4-for-5.
Cleveland is 4 ½ games back in the Wild Card race but they seem to be heading in the wrong direction. They’ve had a great season to this point but you’ve got to wonder if they’re just about out of gas. They’ll need Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, two of their big offseason acquisitions, to come through for them down the stretch.