Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals

The State of the Races

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AL EAST

The spread: The Yankees had a less-than-fabulous weekend in Anaheim yet they extend their lead over Boston to three and a half. Which tells you everything you need to known about Boston’s weekend in St. Petersburg.  The Red Sox now lead the Rays by a mere three and a half in the wild card. And they have four games remaining against one another.

The skinny: If the Rays catch and beat the Sox, there are not enough bookend analogies in the world available to describe the horrifying beginning and end of Boston’s season.

AL CENTRAL

The spread: The Tigers keep winning and the other guys don’t. They’re up 10.5 over Chicago, eleven over Cleveland.

The skinny: “Verlander and Fister and pray for a twister …”  Eh, needs work.

AL WEST

The spread: No change over the weekend. Texas’ lead is two and a half.

The skinny: September 26-28th, Texas vs. Anaheim. Here’s hoping it’s still close.

NL EAST

The spread: The Phillies continue to lay waste. It’s a 12 game lead. The Braves are in desperate need of the Heimlich Maneuver. Their wild card lead over St. Louis is a mere 4.5 after getting swept.

The skinny: Philly lost yesterday, but really, it’s almost comical how much better they look than anyone else in the NL.

NL CENTRAL

The spread: The Brewers dropping two of three three of four to Philly combined with the Cards’ sweep of the Braves reduces St. Louis’ deficit to six games. But really, St. Louis is shooting for Atlanta.

The skinny: The Cardinals face the Phillies this weekend. First time I’ll be rooting for the Phillies all year.

NL WEST

The spread: The Diamondbacks extend their lead over the Giants to eight and a half games.

The skinny: The Giants are activating Barry Zito. That’s like putting your freshman quarterback in the game to get some reps. In other words, the competitive portion of this contest is over.

With Adam Jones ailing, Orioles add Borbon to outfield

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 13: Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after being hit in the hand by a pitch in the sixth against the San Francisco Giants inning during an interleague game at AT&T Park on August 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK — With star outfielder Adam Jones nursing a tender hamstring, the Baltimore Orioles selected the contract of Julio Borbon from Double-A Bowie and optioned pitcher Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk.

Borbon was inserted in the starting lineup for Baltimore, batting ninth against hard-throwing New York Yankees rookie Chad Green.

“We had some other center field options,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Borbon is our best option at this point.”

Jones left Friday’s game in the second inning with a left hamstring strain. He departed the previous night’s game at Washington in the ninth inning with hamstring cramps and aggravated the injury hustling down the first base line on a soft grounder to third.

“I got a feeling that if he hadn’t had that first swinging bunt, it might not have been a problem,” Showalter indicated. “He’s not going to trot to first base as much as I talked to him about it before the game.”

Although Jones was unable to talk his way into Saturday’s lineup, Showalter speculated that he might be available to pinch-hit.

The 30-year old Borbon was 2 for 9 in five games with the Orioles earlier this season, but was designated for assignment on July 26. To create room for Borbon on the 40-man roster, pitcher Logan Ondrusek was designated for assignment on Friday.

No structural damage found in Andrew Benintendi’s knee

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 24:  Shortstop Matt Duffy #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays tags out Andrew Benintendi #40 of the Boston Red Sox after Dustin Pedroia grounded into the double play  during the seventh inning of a game on August 24, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Good news in Boston: An MRI on Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi‘s left knee revealed no structural damage.

Benintendi slipped while trying to avoid a tag at second base, injuring his leg, but it appears he’s avoided a serious injury. A timetable for his return isn’t known at this point, but the Red Sox expect to get him back before the end of the season.

Benintendi is hitting .324/.365/.485 with a homer and ten RBI in 21 games.