Hot and Not
August 13, 2012
By Mike Rose
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The dog days of summer are clearly upon us now with most barely glancing at the daily box scores to instead tune into all the preseason college football and NFL talk. Still, there's a World Series pennant on the line, and the following is a look at what some of the best and worst teams did over the course of the last week to improve their chances of qualifying for the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Rays (6-0, $600): The Rays began laying the groundwork in getting back into the playoff picture once the calendar year turned to August, as manager Joe Maddon's squad will enter its series opener in Seattle Monday night having proved triumphant in eight of their 10 played games since ($430). Evan Longoria's reinsertion into the line-up has sparked the offense with Tampa tallying an average of 6.2 runs per game over the course of the last week. Now just five-games out in the AL East and owners of the overall wild card, this club now looks poised for a return trip to the postseason.
On The Docket: The Rays will close out their 10-game road trip with three in Seattle before heading to Anaheim for a four-game series filled with playoff ramifications; Tampa Bay checks in 30-25 ($875) away from "The Trop" and 15-7 vs. AL West opposition on the year.
Washington Nationals (6-1, $514): This is really starting to get old and play out like a broken record, but the Nationals are by far one of the best teams in the National league and maybe in the entire league for that matter! While the latter remains to be seen, you can't find much wrong with manager Davey Johnson's ball club who went down fighting but ultimately had their eight-game win streak snapped in the desert on Sunday. Still, the series win was the team's third in a row since shockingly dropping two of three to the Phillies at home at the beginning of the month.
On The Docket: Ryan Zimmerman and his mates will close out their 10-game roady by the Bay in San Francisco where they'll deal with the NL West leading Giants. They'll then return home for a weekend set with the struggling Mets before hosting the Braves for an intriguing series. Washington's 31-22 vs. +.500 opponents ($800) to date!
San Diego Padres (5-1, $482): If not for letting a 5-0 lead get away from them in Sunday's series finale in Pittsburgh, the Padres would enter this week's action the proud owners of a seven-game win streak. Be that as it may, Chase Headley and his teammates have banked some serious coin for their investing backers having secured a $596 return on investment through their L/9 games played. In doing so, San Diego now finds itself two or three more underdog wins away from getting back into the black for the season!
On The Docket: The squad's tough stretch of games continues this week with four set to go at Turner Field - a venue they've split their L/10 visits to - before returning home to battle the division rival Giants - a team they're just 3-6 (-$229) against in 2012.
Honorable Mentions: Atlanta Braves (4-2, $191), Baltimore Orioles (5-2, $189), Texas Rangers (4-2, $161), San Francisco Giants (4-3, $89), New York Yankees (4-3, $29)
Los Angeles Angels (2-4, -$562): What a crippling week it was for the Angels who dropped back-to-back series to divisional opponents to fall eight-games out in the AL West race. On top of that, they lost their positioning atop the wild card standings and now trail both the Rays, Orioles, and Athletics. With Mike Trout and more so Mark Trumbo's overall output coming back down to earth, the Halos are once again struggling to score runs having scored four or less in four of their six games played last week.
On The Docket: Los Angeles will attempt to turn it around in its three games with also struggling Cleveland before setting its sights on a crucial four-game home series with the streaking Rays through the weekend. LA checks in a combined 30-32 vs. the AL Central and AL East this season.
Chicago Cubs (1-6, -$464): With Jed and Theo shipping off a bulk of their veteran talent at the trade deadline, the Cubs every day roster is littered with a who's who of inexperienced talent. Since the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, Chicago has mustered just one win through 11 tries (-$860), and things don't look to be getting better anytime soon. While it most likely won't challenge the Houston Astros for the worst overall $$$-mark at season's end, Chicago should come awfully close!
On The Docket: The Cubbies will get to prove me wrong right out of this week's chute with three games scheduled to go versus the Astros before hitting the road to once again go up against the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds at the GAB; Chicago's dropped each of its L/7 games played away from Wrigley Field and stands 16-42 as a visitor overall (-$1798).
Toronto Blue Jays (1-5, -$339): Unfortunately, 2012 will always go down in history as the season the injury bug had a score to settle with the Toronto Blue Jays. At first, it only preyed upon the Blue Jays pitching staff having taken bites out of Sergio Santos, Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchinson, and Brandon Morrow, but now, he's honed in on the Jays' bats having recently sent Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, J.P Arencibia, Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus to the pine. Still, Toronto has won 54 games on the year which is more than 11 other teams can say that haven't nearly felt the wrath of all those injuries.
On The Docket: Another rough week is in store for this walking wounded ball club with a pair of first place teams paying the Rogers Centre a visit in the forms of the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers; the BJs are 32-42 (-901) versus +.500 opposition on the year.
Dishonorable Mentions: Houston Astros (2-5, -$236), Minnesota Twins (2-4, -$186), Detroit Tigers (3-4, -$126), Cleveland Indians (3-4, -$75)