As the month of October quickly approaches, all 30 ball clubs are starting to make their biggest pushes for those coveted playoff spots. Just like the weather, the race for the playoffs has heated up more than ever. Yes, several teams have a much steeper hill to climb. But there are also those hoping to capitalize on last year’s successes.
Though the sum is greater than its parts, a few big names have conquered their respective domains. Here are a few of those names to beware of for the month of August.
August Spotlight: American League
Alex Cora: Manager, Boston Red Sox
The success of the Boston Red Sox up to this point is mind-boggling. To handle as much star-power as Boston houses is no picnic, especially for a first-year manager. Alex Cora, as it seems, is not the least daunted by the task.
Having All-Stars like Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Chris Sale gelling together, along with boasting the best record in all of baseball, sounds like the works of a veteran manager. But being the bench coach of last year’s World Series Champions does command much-deserved respect. In addition, Cora played for the Boston Red during their World Series-winning season 2007, so he’s more than familiar with the Red Sox way. He has no doubt become the frontrunner for AL Manager of the Year, and by a significant lead.
Charlie Morton: Pitcher, Houston Astros
The Houston Astros have the stingiest pitching lineup in the majors. With a team ERA of 3.08, no doubt, along with three of the best aces in the AL, winning is almost certain to follow.
One ace, in particular, Charlie Morton, is having the season of his career. This season, Morton currently rocks a 12-2 pitching record and a <3.00 ERA. In addition, he has gone 4-1 in his last seven games. This has earned him an All-Star selection in 2018, the first of his 11-year career. For many, Morton has become a dark horse candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, especially against names like Boston’s Chris Sale and New York’s Luis Severino. But he is surely giving those two a huge run for their money.
Khris Davis: Left-Field, Oakland Athletics
In recent weeks, the Oakland A’s have fought their way into the August spotlight. They have now taken over the number two spot in the AL West from Seattle. In addition, left fielder, Khris Davis has found a red-hot streak from the batter’s box. In his last 15 games, Davis has tallied eight home runs and 21 RBI’s. Not to mention his batting average is shooting up at a very favorable rate. His season numbers include 29 home runs, 84 RBI’s and a .256 batting average. Though we could talk about Oakland’s newfound high notes for hours, Davis’ batting chops stand rock solid on its own merits.
August Spotlight: National League
Max Scherzer: Pitcher, Washington Nationals
These are not exactly the brightest times for the Washington Nationals team. They now sit third in the NL East; a division they usually dominate almost effortlessly. But one thing Nationals fans can be happy for this season is Max Scherzer’s performance.
In the month of July, “Mad Max” has posted a 4-1 record from the mound, while posting a respectable 3.18 ERA. Plus, he has snagged his 15th victory of 2018 this past Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds. He now boasts the most wins in the National League. It should surprise no one if Scherzer takes home the NL Cy Young Award this season. His 15-5 record, .183 batting average allowed and 2.33 ERA stand head-and-shoulders above the rest of the pack.
Nolan Arenado: Third-Baseman. Colorado Rockies
Similar to the Nationals, the Rockies are going through their own rough patches at this part of the year. However, Nolan Arenado has continued to prove why he is the best third baseman in the league right now.
This season, Arenado has gone yard 28 times and cashed in 80 RBI’s, along with .308 batting average. ESPN projects that Nolan would tally 42 home runs and 120 RBI’s before the end of the season. His future with Colorado is under significant speculation. Though trade rumors fly up and about, nothing stands as certain. Should Colorado keep or trade Nolan? Should Nolan seek a change in scenery? As the August spotlight concludes, hopefully the Rockies can pull together and return to October.
Featured image courtesy of foxsports.com
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