Posted 08/16/2012 at 04:58 PM
Here are a few teams that are outside of the playoff picture but playing well right now that could serve as spoilers in the pennant races that should heat up in the coming weeks.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City is 9-5 in the month of August so far with only 49 runs allowed which is pretty good for a pitching staff that has had serious struggles this season. Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar have been capable starters all season but the Royals are getting some mileage out of picking up Jeremy Guthrie and rookie Will Smith is showing off serious potential. Luis Mendoza has also been a stable force in the rotation since late June with a quality start in seven of his last ten outings. Since the Royals started the season so poorly at home there is often value on Kansas City at home and the bullpen has been outstanding in the last two weeks. The offense for the Royals has been disappointing all season long but the Royals could produce a decent record the rest of the way to build for 2013. Kansas City has a lot of playoff contenders ahead on the schedule and could play a pivotal role in deciding the AL Central race.
The Brewers still have one of the higher scoring offensive teams in baseball and despite being twelve games below .500 at this point Milwaukee is only -13 in run differential on the season. A horrible bullpen has been a big reason for several narrow losses but that unit appears to be performing better of late. The Brewers have been an awful road team but at home Milwaukee is a formidable 33-26 and with Yovanni Gallardo Milwaukee still has a top flight pitcher. Marco Estrada and Michael Fiers have also been promising on the mound and capable of putting the Brewers in position to win games. The Brewers have a lot of games within the division remaining on the schedule and whoever performs best against the Brewers between Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis could wind up in the playoffs. The Brewers will also play the Braves and the Nationals and could catch some favorable underdog situations even at home.
The Rockies have the second worst record in all of baseball at 44-71 but only one NL team has scored more runs this season. In August the Rockies have gone 7-7, scoring over five runs per game. Now Colorado has allowed 89 runs in those 14 games but not every team is capable of matching that kind of production, particularly in the NL West. The Rockies have been using a lot of young pitchers that have shown some signs of improvement now with more experience and while the home ballpark is a challenge for every pitcher the Rockies will get some better bullpen performances. The Rockies will face several low scoring teams in the coming weeks and they should be able to win some games. In September the Rockies will play the Giants seven times as well as matching up with the Braves, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers and this won’t be an easy team to play down the stretch with tired pitching staffs.