The State of the Races

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The division races are secondary right now. Let’s go with the wild cards first:

AL Wild Card: Unless you’ve been living under a rock or (worse) watched football all weekend, you know that Boston leads Tampa Bay by a mere two games now after dropping three of four to the Rays.  What you can be somewhat more reasonably excused for not knowing, at least if you’re on the east coast, is that the Angels are only four games back of the Sox themselves.  And then you look at the schedule and you see that, with their margin shrinking, the Red Sox will trot out Kyle Weiland, John Lackey and an arguably healthy Erik Bedard in the next three games and you wonder if this thing isn’t going to be all tied up soon.

NL Wild Card: Atlanta leads St. Louis by 3.5 and — surprise, surprise — the Giants by four.  Big surges by both St. Louis and San Francisco here, along with awfulness by the Braves.  Obviously I have my rooting interest and that won’t flag on a personal level, but let’s be objective about this, shall we?  As things currently stand, wouldn’t the Braves be the worst team to make the playoffs if they hold on? From the perspective of “do you actually want to watch them play baseball games in the playoffs,” wouldn’t you prefer the Giants or the Cardinals?

As for the divisions:

AL East: The Yankees 4.5 lead seems pretty darn safe. Boston’s struggles also mask the fact that the Yankees are playing some pretty uninspired ball themselves.

AL Central: Congratulations on the clinch, Detroit. Now let’s all join forces to fight the “Verlander for the MVP” wave that I feel is building this morning. Or, if we can’t fight it, let us at least remind its backers that Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila and the rest of the Tigers team isn’t chopped liver.

AL West: Rangers by 4.5, which means it’s almost over.

NL East: Congratulations on the Phillies clinching. Everyone was so worried about that.

NL Central: Brewers by 6.5. All done but the paperwork.

NL West: Dbacks by 5.  Kudos to them for not crumbling as the Giants surged. It would be the wackiest thing ever if two NL West teams made the postseason dance, wouldn’t it?

Kyle Schwarber walks off to beat Rhys Hoskins 21-20 in second round of Home Run Derby

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In another thrilling round of the 2018 Home Run Derby, Kyle Schwarber walked off to defeat Rhys Hoskins and advance to the finals in the 2018 Home Run Derby. Hoskins hit 20 — surpassing his first-round total of 17 — but Schwarber was able to do him one better in regulation time.

For most of the round, Schwarber was “only” on pace to hit 17 or 18, but he got on a roll after using his time-out. He mashed about five home runs in the span of 30 seconds. With just a couple of seconds left on the clock, Schwarber hit his 21st home run to send Rhys to the showers. Of course, Schwarber had unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time since he hit two home runs that went at least 440 feet, so it was a formality. But to do it in regulation in buzzer-beater fashion was more fun than opening bonus time with the send-off.

Still an impressive showing by Hoskins. He became the first player to hit 20 home runs in the semifinals of the Derby, per ESPN Stats & Info. His 37 total homers are the second-most by a Phillies player in the Derby. Bobby Abreu hit 41 home runs en route to winning in 2005.

In the finals, Schwarber will face the winner of the Max MuncyBryce Harper showdown.