The State of the Races

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AL EAST

The spread: The Yankees beat Seattle, Boston is idle. It’s a four game lead for New York.  The Rays, meanwhile, won again, so they are only three back in the wild card.

The skinny: The Red Sox now have Joey Gathright. So they totally got this, right?

AL CENTRAL

The spread: The Tigers won their tenth in a row, trouncing Chicago. The lead is 11.5

The skinny: I think Detroit’s goal should be to have a larger lead over the second place team in the division than the second place team has over the last place team. Right now Chicago and Cleveland are 14 games ahead of the Twins.  I think the Tigers can do it.

AL WEST

The spread: The Angels fall to Oakland, Texas was idle. The lead is now three.

The skinny: I was going to say something pithy about how you gotta win the games against the Oaklands of the world if you’re going to win the division, but I think the Angels know that already.

NL EAST

The spread: The Phillies and Braves both lose. But since St. Louis did too, Atlanta’s lead in the wild card remains at 4.5 games.

The skinny: The Astros went to town on Roy Oswalt. I’ve asked it before, but really, is he going to be the Phillies’ fourth starter in the playoffs?  Assuming they really need one in a critical game anyway?

NL CENTRAL

The spread: The Brewers were idle an the Cards lost, so Milwaukee’s lead is six and a half games. St. Louis remains four and a half back of the Braves for the wild card.

The skinny: Braves panic aside, it’s not enough for the Cardinals to keep pace with them. On nights Atlanta loses, the Cards have to win. The math is the math and there aren’t a lot of games left.

NL WEST

The spread: The Diamondbacks and Giants both win. The lead remains at eight and a half games.

The skinny: I saw someone in the comments make a case for Charlie Manuel as manager of the year. Kirk Gibson and his inevitable unanimous or near-unanimous vote total in that category chuckle at you in amusement.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.