5 MLB players who could shine in October
Postseason is known to produce surprises
Going into the final weekend of the Major League Baseball regular season, most of the races are over and the teams going into the playoffs are set. Still, don’t throw in the towel on the regular season just yet. Here are seven reasons to pay attention to the final weekend.
ONE SPOT REMAINING
The Colorado Rockies are thisclose to getting the second National League wild-card berth, with a two-game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers. The St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the race with a loss Thursday. The Rockies close out with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with baseball’s best record, and the Brewers and Cardinals play each other. One advantage for the Rockies: They’ll face just one of the Dodgers’ top starters as L.A. ramps down for the postseason. And Clayton Kershaw doesn’t figure to go more than a few innings Saturday.
HOME FIELD ON THE LINE
Even after their 22-game winning streak, the Cleveland Indians haven’t locked up home field yet.
They entered Thursday with a 11⁄ 2- game lead over the Houston Astros and hold the tiebreaker. The Astros are 11-2 in their last 13 games and are planning to push the Indians to the wire.
In an amazing run of consistency, Houston’s Jose Altuve should lead the American League in hits for the fourth consecutive season. He would be the only player in baseball history to lead the league by himself for that many seasons. Ichiro Suzuki led five seasons but was tied with Dustin Pedroia in the third of those five. Altuve has 11 more hits than second place Eric Hosmer of Kansas City.
After four seasons and a .490 winning percentage, Brad Ausmus won’t have his contract with the Detroit Tigers renewed. The Tigers spent big in the offseason, hoping to make a championship run, but after a poor start, they traded off veterans to restock their minor league rosters.
CURTAINS FOR COLLINS?
It hasn’t been made official, but this could also be the final weekend for New York Mets manager Terry Collins. His contract is set to expire, and with the Mets more than 20 games below .500, that deal will likely not be renewed. Collins has the second-most wins in Mets history behind Davey Johnson and is first in games managed.
60 FOR STANTON?
Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton goes into the weekend with 59 home runs and, even though the single-season record is held by Barry Bonds with 73, the numbers 60 and 61 still hold a place in major league history.
If he gets there, he will be the sixth player to do so and the first since 2001. He already has eight homers against the Braves this season.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said earlier in the week that unless “something crazy” happens, and by crazy, the Minnesota Twins fail to clinch a spot in the wild card, Andrew Romine would play all nine positions.
Well, the Twins have clinched, so when the Tigers play them Sunday, Romine should join Bert Campaneris, Cesar Tovar, Scott Sheldon and former Tiger Shane Halter as the only players to pull off this feat.
Charlie Blackmon and the Colorado Rockies are trying to lock up the final NL wild-card spot.