They were just celebrating a few days ago.
Well, as far as you can enjoy a pandemic.
There were no champagne baths or piles of dogs on the mound, rather handshakes and silent toasts to Major League Baseball’s postseason success, which begins next week.
But even without the excuse of a hangover, suddenly there are a number of playoff teams performing as if they could come out in early October.
The Chicago White Sox clinched their first place in the playoffs in 12 years a week ago – aiming to have the best record in the American League – but they lost five of Thursday’s six games and could fall to seventh seed. TO THE.
The Miami Marlins were riding high only to get hit in the last four days, 40-9, clinging to life with a .500 record and second place in the NL East.
The Chicago Cubs are still on the verge of winning NL Central, but have only scored 10 points with a homer in their last seven games, finishing with a .218 worse batting average in the franchise at Wrigley Field.
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The San Diego Padres, lauded as baseball’s most exciting team, are suddenly in free fall, and even more alarmingly, face the prospect of a postseason without the injury of starter Mike Clevinger.
The St. Louis Cardinals, grappling with a daunting schedule after being set aside 16 days for a COVID-19 outbreak, may finally see the finish line, but may not have the energy to cross it, losing two of their last three. matches against the humble Kansas City Royals.
The mighty New York Yankees, who were scoring 10 straight wins, just pulled off 36 runs in the past four days.
And the Houston Astros, who lost 13 out of 20 entering Thursday, will have to wait until the last weekend of the season for a post-season spot, dismissing the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners for second place in the NL West.
“Obviously, we have to win games,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, after seeing rookie Sixto Sanchez last just three innings on Wednesday night. “You must be worried to the point that we have to win a few games. You can’t just walk in with a limp.
“But I’m not at all worried about that group falling apart. They have been going back throughout the year. ”
The Cubs say the same thing, but they seem in a bad mood, especially in attack. Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber were all under .200 entering Thursday and first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s .752 OPS is his worst since 2013.
“That’s where we are now,” says Cubs manager David Ross, “there’s not much I can say. It’s frustrating. Hopefully soon this thing will start turning the other way.”
The White Sox – after beating the Minnesota Twins in three of four games last week and clinching a playoff spot – made Chicago dream of the Crosstown World Series, played only in Arlington, Texas. Now, they’ve dropped the first three games of a four-game streak against Cleveland, including two walk-off homers, and risk not even hosting the wild card streak.
They entered Thursday’s game mid-game behind the Twins for first place, and only two games ahead of Cleveland. If they finish in third place, they will be plunged to number 7 in the suit in the postseason
“I don’t want anyone to panic,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to prove something.”
If nothing else, it’s definitely a wake-up call, reminding the White Sox that they’d better hurry if they’re planning to stay in October.
“We relaxed a bit, which is why we got trapped right now,” said Jose Abreu, leader of AL’s MVP. “But for good things to happen, you need bad things to push you. This is probably not the way we wanted to do it, but this is the time we live in and it is preparing us to be stronger and a much better team.
“I really believe this moment is making us stronger, making us better as a team. And it’s preparing us better for the post-season. ”
The Padres, who have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2006, can only hope that their encounter of adversity will make them stronger.
The Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was a major contender for the NL MVP a few weeks ago, but has a nasty .200 / .312 / .338 cut line in September. The rest of the team followed suit, reaching 0.194 in the past week.
“Frustrating not being able to score the runs,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “At the same time, these things happen. If you plan to do it collectively as a team, now is probably the time to do it. We certainly don’t want it to be like this next week. ”
The Padres are confident they can get through this mini-slump, but they would certainly like to try the same for the return of their ace. Clevinger, the largest acquisition to trade maturity, is undergoing an MRI on his bicep.
“We will wait for the results and see what the doctors say,” Tingler said. “We won’t freak out and go crazy.”
As for the Yankees, some blowout losses raised concerns about the team’s launch.
“It’s almost,” said DH Luke Voit, “like we’re the Bad News Bears.”
Remember a week ago when the Yankees hit 19 homers in three days? Now they have reached their season high three games without one, and may end up not hosting the wild card series at Yankee Stadium, where they are 21-7 this year, compared to 11-17 away.
“I know we are capable of a very special baseball,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, “and we have to find that … We will be playing for a championship here starting in the next few days and this is an incredible opportunity.”
This two-month regular season ends on Sunday and has been a rollercoaster of emotions, particularly for these contenders.
“I definitely think this is the toughest baseball season,” said Ross, “anyone who has ever had to go through, from what I hear from other people. Anyone who wins the World Series this year should be extremely proud.
“Together, we are planning to enter an atmosphere that I don’t know many people would sign up for. The team that overcomes adversity and to do all this will do good. ”