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- The Rays added their name to the teams who have punched their tickets to the postseason. With their 8-5 win over the Mets on Wednesday evening, the Rays won the AL East crown for the first time since 2010. We now know six of the eight teams from the American League that will be participating in the postseason.
- If you’re a fan of teams clinching playoff spots or division titles — albeit without the alcohol-filled celebrations that usually accompany these occasions in non-COVID times — then Tuesday night was the night for you. The Dodgers clinched their eighth straight NL West title, the Braves officially won the NL West for a third straight year, the Cubs clinched a playoff berth in David Ross’ first season as manager, and the Indians overcame the extended absence of manager Terry Francona and a large chunk of their coaching staff in order to return to the postseason after a one-year absence. There are now two AL playoff spots still up for grabs, along with four in the NL.
- Nolan Arenado recently underwent a battery of tests to get to the bottom of his sore left shoulder and was consequently placed on the injured list, ending his 2020 season. Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the third basemen has been dealing with this issue all season, an injury stemming from his A/C joint in his left shoulder. This clear discomfort shone through in Arenado’s slash line this year, an out of the ordinary .253/.303/.434 for the veteran slugger.
- The Brewers’ alternate site group is now in quarantine following the positive COVID-19 test results of two players and one staff member. The team is still hoping to have a taxi squad available in the event the Brewers need to swap out anyone on their major league roster.
- News that comes as a shock to no one and was pretty much just a matter of time: Astros’ Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery. This officially ends his 2020 season after making just one start, and the poor timing will almost certainly put a kibosh on his 2021 season as well, which, oh you guessed it, is the end of his contract with the Astros.
- In an announcement that had been expected for several weeks, MLB announced last week that the final three rounds of this year’s postseason will be held at neutral sites in Texas and California, with the World Series being held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The biggest twist in the plan? There will be no off days for the first three rounds, meaning that teams’ pitching depth will be tested in the playoffs like never before.
- The Mets, for several years, have been a bundle of drama and disappointment and the faces of those struggles has been, without question, their owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon who have have been widely panned for their mismanagement of the team on both financial and personnel levels. Now, after a lengthy and drama-filed period of time where they sought a buyer for the team, it appears to be set that billionaire and minority owner Steve Cohen will purchase the Mets,
- Matt Chapman will undergo season-ending hip surgery, a significantly different outcome from what was first looked at as mild inflammation that wouldn’t land him on the IL. It should have been a red flag to everyone that something was wrong when the third baseman, who we now know was dealing with a strained hip, put up the worst strikeout rate and batting average of his career. Chad Pinder and the newly-signed Jake Lamb will soak up the vacated playing time at the hot corner.
- Despite the fact that he was elected to a new four-year term last year, Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner announced that he’ll be retiring after the season. This seems like bad news for the future of MiLB as we know it, as there’s a strong possibility that his position will be eliminated upon his departure as part of Rob Manfred’s “One Baseball” plan — one that would give the commissioner’s office much more authority over MiLB and calls for massive contraction in the minors. While O’Conner played a major role in the growth and development of Minor League Baseball, his legacy is tainted by the fact that he very publicly advocated against minor leaguers having a right to a living wage.
- The trade deadline came and went, and the biggest move of the day was without question the Padres’ trade for Mike Clevinger. San Diego has very clearly made a huge play for a deep playoff run this year as they sent six players, a mix of MLB talent and prospects, to Cleveland for the talented young starter’s services.
- The Athletics find themselves in a strong position of their own in the race for the playoffs. In a move that seems like a peak Billy Beane move, they pulled the trigger on a buy-low opportunity when they added starter Mike Minor from the Rangers.
- Not many people would have pegged the Marlins as buyers at the trade deadline when the season started, but 2020 is a weird year and that is exactly what happened. They went and snagged Starling Marte from the Diamondbacks for a trio of prospects.
- The Mariners and Padres swapped breakout star Austin Nola and prospect Taylor Trammell as a part of a massive seven-player deal.
- There are some very real and serious discussions happening in this country right now, and one of those conversations is in regards to police conduct towards people of color. The recent shooting of Jacob Blake has brought this discussion back to the forefront and players across multiple sports took action recently, with multiple MLB teams postponing their games.