As the NBA regular season gets under way, the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference is heating up. Who will claim that coveted spot? Will it be the Indiana Pacers, who have looked surprisingly strong this season? Will it be the Chicago Bulls, who are tied with the Pacers for first place? Or will it be the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers? I’m not sure, but I’m sure the season will prove to be very interesting, indeed.
The MLB regular season is coming to an end tonight, and we’ll begin to see who has made it and who has fallen short of expectations. The Padres and Brewers face off in Milwaukee tonight, needing a win to stay alive for a playoff spot, and the Blue Jays and Rangers face off in Texas tonight, needing a win to secure a playoff berth. If the season were predictable, we could definitively say that both teams will be playing in the playoffs, but that’s not the case. Each game will play a part in determining if either team makes it and if they don’t, it will be a long and painful spring for the players and fans.
After nearly three weeks off, the Green Bay Packers returned to action at Lambeau Field to take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers started the game well, getting off to a fast start with Aaron Rodgers connecting with Jordy Nelson for a touchdown. The Packers would go on to take the game, 31-24, but Rodgers would leave the game with a knee injury. The Packers would finish the game without their second-ranked quarterback, but Rodgers has not yet officially been ruled out of Sunday’s divisional round matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.. Read more about mlb standings 2021 and let us know what you think.
Now that September has here, MLB clubs will have just a month and a half to cement their postseason places, assuming they haven’t already done so.
What happened to the New York Yankees when their 13-game winning run ended? With their recent performance, have the Phillies Phillies earned themselves some breathing room? Who is the best of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, as usual?
Here’s what our eight-member expert panel came up with based on what they’ve discovered thus far in the 2021 season. We also asked ESPN baseball analysts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers, and Alden Gonzalez to provide a Week 21 prediction based on what they’ve observed lately for all 30 clubs.
Weeks 20 | Week 19 | Week 18 | Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1
85-49 is the score. Previous position: 2
The Dodgers had a 21-6 record in August. Their offense struggled, averaging fewer than five runs per game, which was below expectations. Their pitching staff, on the other hand, has a 2.25 ERA, which is more than three quarters of a run better than the second-place Giants. And that crew may soon be receiving some significant assistance. Both Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin pitched in simulated games earlier this week, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was pleased with both of their performances. It is obviously ridiculous to add any of those two to a rotation that includes Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias, three starters with a collective 2.55 ERA in 46623 innings. Gonzalez’s words
84-49 is the score. 1st place previously
The Giants’ rotation has been dominating all year, but there have been some concerning indications recently. Giants manager Gabe Kapler stated Monday that Alex Wood was just put on the COVID-19 disabled list and is “not feeling good at all.” Johnny Cueto, who had been sidelined with a flexor strain earlier this month, gave up 10 hits and just 11 outs against the Brewers on Tuesday before being placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury on Wednesday. Since the middle of August, Anthony DeSclafani has only pitched 413 innings. Kevin Gausman, the ace, hasn’t been his usual dominating self lately. The Giants, on the other hand, continue to be a force due to their proclivity for maximizing talent. Logan Webb, who ended August with a 1.41 ERA in 381/3 innings, is the most recent example. Gonzalez’s words
84-49 is the score. 3rd place before.
Despite the Yankees’ recent surge, Tampa Bay remains the American League East division leader, with a 20-6 record in August. The Rays’ six-man rotation remains a strength of the club, even with the departure of Rich Hill, and Wander Franco continues to contribute in his rookie season, hitting.313/.382/.485 with three home runs and eight doubles in August. Lee —
78-55 is the score. Previous position: 6
The Astros’ defense, which has been as outstanding as any in baseball this season, has been an underappreciated component of their success. For many weeks, Houston has been swapping the top position in defensive runs saved with the Cardinals, Rockies, and a few other teams. The Asrtos have the best outs over average and fielding % in the majors. The Astros have five or more runs saved at first base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field, according to Sports Info Solutions. They also perform better than the national average at second base and center field. Doolittle’s quote
82-52 is the score. Previous position: 4
Milwaukee’s main worry right now should be the team’s health for the remainder of the season. Players with injuries, such as Freddy Peralta, Willy Adames, and Eduardo Escobar, have plenty of time to recover before October. With a near double-digit lead in the division, the Brewers can afford to take their time. Milwaukee is the best club in the National League at preparing for the playoffs. Rogers’ comment
77-56 is the score. Previous position: 5
The Yankees have jumped ahead of the Red Sox in the wild-card race in the blink of an eye, thanks to an offense powered by a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who carried the club through August. Corey Kluber has returned from the injured list, allowing Andrew Heaney to go to the bullpen, while Luis Severino and Michael King are getting near to returning from the disabled list. Lee —
78-56 is the score. Previous position: 7
Seby Zavala, Gavin Sheets, Leury Garcia, Adam Engel, and Brian Goodwin were among the White Sox’s fill-ins on Aug. 1. Tony La Russa was able to complete his best possible squad by the end of the month, a high-powered team that had witnessed the August returns of Yasmani Grandal, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez. Tim Anderson then had a hamstring injury and was placed on injured reserve. Despite the fact that we’ve seen very little of the White Sox’s full-strength lineup this season, the stars are aligning for us to see a lot of it in October. It’s also a striking image. Doolittle’s quote
70-62 is the score. Previous position: 8
In August, Atlanta went 18-8, converting a four-game deficit into a 212-game lead heading into September. Austin Riley led the way on offensively, hitting.364 with six home runs and 18 RBIs, while Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall combined for 15 home runs in a month in which the Braves smacked 43. Max Fried finished 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in five starts. Schoenfield’s
76-59 is the score. Previous position: 9
A COVID-19 epidemic struck the Red Sox’s locker room at the worst conceivable moment, as the team prepared to fight for a postseason berth. Xander Bogaerts, a shortstop, was the most recent athlete included to the COVID-19 list, joining Kiké Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Matt Barnes, and Hirokazu Sawamura. Lee —
73-60 is the new record. Previous position: 10
In recent weeks, Oakland has struggled and has dropped out of the wild-card chase. With the Houston Astros putting some space between themselves and the rest of the division, Oakland will need to turn things around on the road in Detroit and Toronto to get back in the race and fight for the AL wild card with the Red Sox and Yankees. Lee —
70-62 is the score. Previous position: 12
Toronto is still going strong, with no losses in any of the months thus far this season. One month after acquiring Brad Hand, the Blue Jays designated him for assignment, but brought up top pitching prospect Nate Pearson. Given the group’s youthful core, this Toronto club seems to be on the brink of becoming a force to be reckoned with, similar to the Chicago White Sox of recent years, but it’s not quite there yet. Lee —
72-63 is the score. Previous position: 11
After losing two of three to the Brewers and then the Marlins last week, Cincinnati’s advantage in the NL wild-card race was slashed. In the defeats, the Reds’ celebrated offense faltered, but their pitching kept them in games. That’s a big change from how the Reds got to be one of the best teams in the National League. Joey Votto has finally calmed down, batting only.053 in the last seven days. Perhaps, depending on how he performs in the last month, the Reds will as well. Rogers’ comment
71-63 is the score. Previous position: 13
The Padres have been struggling, most recently being swept by the Dodgers at home last week, but they’re now beginning to get some pitching reinforcements back. Yu Darvish, Chris Paddack, and Dinelson Lamet were all activated in a six-day period. Darvish and Paddack will bolster the Padres’ rotation, which has recently been bolstered by a dominating Blake Snell. Lamet will rely on his lethal fastball-slider combo to aid a battered bullpen that has been overworked all season. The Padres will need all the pitching assistance they can get with the Astros on the horizon and every game counting down the stretch. Gonzalez’s words
Is it possible that games are too long? How can baseball make the most of its new crop of superstars? We go into the issues that will have a long-term impact on the game. Baseball’s Current Situation «
68-64 is the score. 15th place before.
The Phillies replied with five consecutive victories over Arizona and Washington after dropping to 63-64 last Thursday, with the offense scoring seven runs in each of the first four wins and then 12 in the fifth (plus seven in the game before this streak, for a total of 47 runs in six games). Bryce Harper blasted multiple home runs in six of his seven games, increasing his average from.290 to.306 and putting him in first place in the National League (and MLB) in OPS, slightly ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. — Schoenfield
68-64 is the score. Previous position: 16
St. Louis gave some excitement for its supporters by closing to within a few games of the wild-card race, but the Cardinals’ hopes have been dashed by the news that Jack Flaherty has been injured again. A victory against the Reds on Monday was a solid start to their postseason quest, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to overcome both the Reds and the Padres on the mound and at the bat. They haven’t completely packed everything in yet. Rogers’ comment
72-62 is the score. 14th place before.
Since joining the Mariners in July through a deal for Kendall Graveman, Abraham Toro has four home runs, including a grand slam in the ninth inning — against Graveman! — that snapped a scoreless tie. It was the Mariners’ fourth go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning or later, tying them for the most in the last 60 years with the 1967 Giants and the 1996 Mariners. Toro has hit three of his four home homers against the Astros. Schoenfield’s
66-64 is the current record. Previous position: 17
Amed Rosario had a fantastic August, slashing.372/.397/.584 in 26 games with 20 RBIs. Rosario is second on the Indians in runs produced (66) this season, behind only Jose Ramirez. Rosario’s performance at the plate, on the other hand, complicates how he should be used in the future. The good news is that his offensive statistics will allow him to play a variety of positions. However, his defensive statistics at shortstop continue to be lacking, and Cleveland’s vast pool of long-term shortstop alternatives means they don’t need to push Rosario’s bat into the order. Rosario’s stint in center field earlier this season, on the other hand, did not go well. What should I do? Doolittle’s quote
65-67 is a new high. Previous position: 18
After the strange “thumbs down” salute from Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, and others on Sunday, the Mets contributed to their recent image as baseball’s most dysfunctional club. You can imagine Mets supporters’ reactions to the team’s next game on Tuesday, which ended in a thrilling 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Baez scoring on a terrific hustle play. They then went on to win the nightcap. Maybe it’ll all culminate in a September comeback to remember! Schoenfield’s
66-68 is the current record. Previous position: 19
Shohei Ohtani snuck home on Tuesday night, just in case you thought he couldn’t possibly wow us any more. In 2021, he stole 22 bases to go along with 42 home runs, a.978 on-base percentage, a 3.00 ERA, and 127 strikeouts. The chase of the AL MVP Award by Ohtani, who is having the most incredible season in baseball ever, is incentive enough to watch Angels games down the stretch. Their supporters are in desperate need of anything, particularly since Mike Trout’s comeback seems to be fading. Gonzalez’s words
The MLB season of 2021 will be broadcast on ESPN and the ESPN App.
All timings are in Eastern Standard Time.
Sunday, September 5th, 7 p.m. on ESPN, Dodgers vs. Giants
Rays vs. Red Sox, 1 p.m. on ESPN; Giants vs. Rockies, 4 p.m. on ESPN
63-71 is the score. Previous position: 20
Derek Hill, a rookie center fielder who has spent the second half of the season in the majors, has continued to amaze as he works to translate his outstanding raw talents into real big league performance. Defensively, he’s a highlight reel, and he’s already one of the most entertaining defenders in the majors. But, depending on where you look, his stats are also ordinary to excellent. Meanwhile, he’s been much more offensive than his advanced billing would suggest. He seems to have given up some of the power he shown as a minor leaguer in exchange for greater contact, and it appears to be paying off. He’s hitting.275 with a.342 OBP for Detroit thus far, after hitting.322 with a.376 OBP for Triple-A Toledo, and his slugging is a playable.394. In 37 games, Hill has three home runs and six steals. It’s too early to proclaim Hill the Tigers’ future center fielder, but he definitely seems to be a candidate. Doolittle’s quote
61-72 is the score. 22nd in the previous ranking
Despite their many issues, the Rockies feel they have a competitive rotation. However, two important players of that rotation received terrible news on Wednesday. With stiffness in his forearm, Jon Gray, a very dependable back-end component, was placed on the injured list. Kyle Freeland, who had a 2.37 ERA in his previous three outings, was forced to leave early due to a hip impingement. Gonzalez’s words
59-73 is the score. Previous position: 21
The Salvador Perez power fast train is chugging along at full speed with no signs of slowing down. Perez had homered in five consecutive games, six times in seven games, and nine times in 15 at-bats before going hitless against Cleveland on Aug. 31. Perez hit 12 home runs in August, bringing his season total to 38. That’s an AL record for a main catcher, and he’s seven short of Johnny Bench’s major league record of 45 set in 1970. With Perez’s recent hot bat, he has a chance to break Jorge Soler’s Royals record of 48 home runs in 2019, or become the first backstop to reach 50. Doolittle’s quote
58-75 is the score. Previous position: 23
The Minnesota Twins’ season has not gone according to plan, to put it mildly. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the rotation, which has been plagued by bad news for the last week: righty Kenta Maeda, the runner-up in voting for the 2020 AL Cy Young Award, is set to have elbow surgery. Maeda, Jose Berrios (since moved to Toronto), Michael Pineda (now on the IL with an oblique injury), Matthew Shoemaker (released by the Twins on Aug. 2), and J.A. Happ started the season for Minnesota (dealt to St. Louis at the trade deadline). The Twins only got seven starts from those five pitchers in August, the fewest of any club in MLB, and none since August 21. Doolittle’s quote
55-78 is the score. Previous position: 26
Edward Cabrera started his career with two starts, surrendering three runs in 613 innings and three runs in four innings. He showed off his huge arm, averaging 96.9 mph with his fastball across the two appearances, but he didn’t get much swing-and-miss with the pitch, with just four strikeouts overall over the 1013 innings. Still, the Marlins will have another bright young arm to rely on in 2022. Jake Eder, who was enjoying a fantastic minor league season, will have Tommy John surgery. Schoenfield’s
55-76 is the score. Previous position: 25
Keibert Ruiz, a catcher acquired in the Trea Turner/Max Scherzer deal, has been promoted from the minors and could see a lot of action as the season progresses. Ruiz hit.310/.377/.616 in 284 at-bats at Triple-A, with 21 home runs and 33 strikeouts in 316 PAs (including.308/.365/.577 in 20 games for Rochester). To go with the power potential, you have to adore the top contact skills. In his debut game, he caught Josiah Gray, the other important prospect in the trade, despite Gray allowing six runs in four innings. Schoenfield’s
59-75 is the current record. Previous position: 25
The Cubs have one victory in six games against the crosstown White Sox this season, thanks to a 7-0 shutout on Saturday sandwiched between two blowouts by their rivals. However, since all six games were played after the trade deadline, Cubs supporters may make some excuses for their team’s dismal performance. Over the weekend, Patrick Wisdom was everything from a dud. He has hit several home runs in successive games and is challenging Reds shortstop Jonathan India for rookie of the year. Rogers’ comment
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48-85 is the score. Previous position: 28
Last week, Colin Moran was about the only Pirates batter to have any success at the plate, hitting.389 with an OPS of over 1.000. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is getting an opportunity to play spoiler, having recently beaten and split two games with the Cardinals. That doesn’t change the fact that Wil Crowe and Mitch Keller continue to struggle in the circle. Despite their moderate success on the field, the Pirates had the second highest ERA in the National League last week. Rogers’ comment
47-86 is the score. Previous position: 27
Texas has rediscovered its groove at the plate after a pair of strong weeks after their trade deadline trades. Over the last seven days, Nick Solak, DJ Peters, and Adolis Garcia have all posted top-25 OPS statistics, with Garcia pushing for rookie of the year at the age of 28. Last week, he hit.320 with two home runs. Rogers’ comment
45-90 is the record. Previous position: 29
In the midst of a bleak season in Phoenix, there is one bright spot: When healthy, Ketel Marte, who is the franchise’s face, has been an excellent hitter. In 65 games, he hit.344/.395/.549 and ended August with an OPS of.892. Marte, a switch-hitter, has made tremendous progress as a left-handed batter in recent weeks, which is the side he’ll hit from the most of the time. Gonzalez’s words
41-91 is the score. 30th in the previous ranking
The Baltimore Orioles ended a 19-game losing skid against the Los Angeles Angels. Ryan Mountcastle, a slugger, has been one of the team’s bright lights recently, hitting.357/.397/.786 with eight home runs in August. While the Baltimore Orioles continue to look forward, top prospect Adley Rutschman will not be among the youngsters who receive their first taste of the big leagues when the rosters expand. Lee —
The NBA playoffs are well underway, and teams are now fighting for their playoff lives. The NBA is the only major professional sports league where the top eight seeds in the playoffs are separated by geography, but that can make things difficult for teams trying to make it deep into the postseason. Some are already out, while others are standing tall to claim their spot.. Read more about mlb power rankings 2021 and let us know what you think.
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