The American League Wild Card race is packed with MLBbros looking to make a big impact on this year’s playoffs.
We’ve already told you about the Bros from the Bronx leading the Yankees surge to the top of the Wild Card standings, and they currently hold a one-game lead over the field.
The Boston Red Sox and Yankees are pulling away from the pack and headed on a collision course for a one-game Wild Card playoff. But with at least 25 more games remaining for all teams involved, the final spot is still up for grabs.
The recent marriage of Josh Harrison and the Oakland A’s is an example of a player whose swagger is perfect for the City he represents. Harrison, who was acquired at the deadline, has been “Mr. Do It All” for the A’s.
Harrison has taken the majority of his reps at second base, but he also plays third, shortstop, and left field for Oakland. He’s also efficient at the plate.
Over his last seven games, Harrison has racked up 12 hits, is batting .375 and slugging .469. His latest contributions have been particularly important to the A’s because they’ve come from the leadoff spot.
Harrison has hit leadoff before, and his approach to the process gives you a look into his mindset as a ballplayer.
“I take pride in being leadoff,” Harrison said when asked about his new role with his team.
“More than anything, it’s going to take one through nine, if we can jump out early and set with hitters up front, I think — I don’t want to say makes the job easier — you still got to play 27 outs, it’s all about getting to that pitcher and getting to that bullpen.”
Harrison and the offense will be key to any run the Athletics are able to make, as their pitching staff has certainly done their part.
J.P Crawford and the Seattle Mariners have overcome offensive inconsistencies to end up in the thick of things as we wind down, but one of the major boosts they were expecting for the playoff push, may not be arriving at all. Seattle sits 4.5 games out of the Wild Card slot with 27 games left.
With a healthy 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, the Mariner’s had a puncher’s chance. Unfortunately, Lewis, who has been recovering from in-season surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, suffered a setback in his rehab putting his return this season in doubt.
“He’s not feeling that great,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said when asked about Lewis’ rehab. “He’s had a little setback here the last few days. He really picked up his activity level there, trying to get to the point where he could go out in a rehab.”
What a tough break for a guy who was a popular preseason pick for American League MVP. If he doesn’t return, Lewis would finish this season with a disappointing 130 at-bats. He had 206 at-bats in 2020 in an MLB season shortened to 60 games by COVID-19.
The setback to Lewis puts more pressure on Crawford and the remaining Mariners as they battle for the final playoff spot. The Gold Glover Crawford is slashing .276/.364/.310 over the past seven games but will need to take it to another level if Seattle really stands a chance.
Toronto Blue Jays
Marcus Semien’s Blue Jays were extremely active at the deadline, but they’re still just treading water in the Wild Card race. Despite going 6-4 in their last 10 games, Toronto remains 5 games out of the final playoff spot.
If it’s any small consolation, Semien got a bit of revenge on his former squad with his walk-off 3-run bomb on Saturday, but that stands as one of the lone bright spots for the Toronto second basemen of late.
Hopefully, the return of fellow MLBbro George Springer can provide a spark for Semien and the Blue Jays. An ignited Blue Jays offense would provide the fireworks we want to see heading into this fantastic finish. Playing in the toughest division in the American League doesn’t help either.
October is right around the corner, and the playoff picture is slowly but surely becoming clearer. As we wind down the year, let’s keep an eye on these MLBbros as they make the final push for playoff glory.
Two MLB bros from the Nation’s capital have been making headlines with their plate and field performances.
Washington Nationals‘ first baseman Josh Bell takes the top spot in this week’s #HighFive list that also features his longtime teammate Josh Harrison.
1. Josh Bell
The former Pittsburgh Pirate has seen his numbers rise after a slow start to the 2021 season. In his last seven games, Bell is batting .385 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI while slugging .654. Just this past Monday, Bell was featured on our “Home Boi Highlights” segment for his performance last week, when he batted .429.
The former All-Star was traded to the Nationals in December with hopes of him helping to get them back to the World Series. He has worked his way into the three-hole spot in the lineup and in a competitive National League East could be the difference in whether or not they make the playoffs.
2. Marcus Semien
I do not think anyone had a better month of May than Marcus Semien. He leads all of baseball with 35 hits this month after hitting back-to-back home runs with his double play partner Bo Bichette in game 1 of the Blue Jays doubleheader Thursday.
In the last seven games, Semien has hit three home runs, slugged 742, and almost hit for the cycle in last Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
This season Semien is making the statement that he is the best 2nd baseman in baseball. His 13 home runs and 31 RBI lead all second baseman by a wide margin.
3. Josh Harrison
One of the most exciting bros in baseball makes his well-deserved first appearance on our #Hig Five list this season. Josh Harrison hit a huge grand slam last Saturday that had the DMV going crazy. He has 7 hits in his last 21 at-bats while driving in five runs.
Harrison owned the Orioles in their three-game winning series batting .500 to power a clean sweep of their Beltway Series rival.
4. Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge is probably going yard as I write this list because he’s been on fire. As a matter of fact, there it goes, a two-run homer against the Toronto Blue Jays to tie Thursday night’s game at 3-3 and help propel the Yankees to a crucial 5-3 win. Judge executed his role as a stopper to perfection, helping the Yankees salvage the last game of a three-game series.
Aaron Judge is still carrying the Yankees and keeping them alive in a tough #ALEast Division
2-run bomb to tie the game as the Yankees attempt to avoid the doubleheader sweep to @BlueJays
During his recent hot streak Judge has been more than a home run hitter, even walking off for a win, via the base on ball.
In his last seven games entering Thursday, the Fresno State alum was batting .348 and walked four times, which is always good to see from a power hitter. His contact-first philosophy has fueled his elevation towards the Top 10 in American League batting leaders. He doesn’t have any room for regression, especially with Twin Tower and MLB bro teammate Giancarlo Stanton still on the shelf.
5. Kyle Lewis
After missing the beginning of the 2021 season with a leg injury, it has taken last year’s American League Rookie of the Year a few weeks to find his groove. But he’s getting ready to start dancing like Mike soon.
He had both a .400+ OBP and slugging percentage in his last seven games and recorded at least one hit in six of them.
He’s shown flashes of power this season including the bomb he hit on Monday in Oakland. His bat flip only warrants a 7/10 rating and will be looking for him to impress us a little more when he connects on his next one.
The reigning American League Rookie of the Year got a late start after beginning the season on the Injured List. But now he’s heating up, going 8-for-20 with a .400 batting average the past week, entering Thursday night’s game.
For that, he makes his first appearance this season on our #HighFIVE list — and gets the top spot.
Lewis came to Texas and his bat was as hot as the weather. He recorded multiple hits in each of the Mariners’ three games during their weekend series against the Rangers, including three knocks in Friday’s opener.
As the Mariners begin to call up some of their top prospects this week, Lewis will need to grow up fast and even add the role of mentor to his job description.
If anyone knows how to successfully navigate the on-and-off the field issues a player can face during their rookie year, the recent hardware in Lewis’s trophy case would prove he’s the guy for the job.
2. Cedric Mullins (Baltimore Orioles)
Cedric Mullins has been one of the top players in the game through the first six weeks of the season.
After collecting a hit in seven straight games, including one of the most impressive triples you will ever see, we gave him the nickname “CM Storm” and he claims the second spot on our #HighFive list.
Mullins has begun to blossom this season. He ranks second in hits while leading all MLB center fielders with 98 putouts. Mullins also hasn’t committed an error this season. Amazing since he plays one of the toughest positions in all of sports.
3. Jack Flaherty (St. Louis Cardinals)
This week, Flaherty gained separation as he now leads Major League Baseball with seven wins. The next closest pitchers have five.
Congratulations @Jack9Flaherty he became the 1st pitcher to reach 7 wins this season after throwing 6 scoreless innings and striking out 6. This was his 5th straight quality start in a row. https://t.co/V2KLPlcKLx
Thursday made it five straight quality starts for Jack as he defeated the Brewers 2-0. He went six innings allowing no runs on just four hits while striking out six. In his two starts this week, Flaherty did not give up a single run in 13 innings. He struck out 12 batters and his Cardinals recorded shutout wins in each game.
He’s on fire and it might be time to start talking about the possibility of Flaherty becoming MLB’s first Black Ace (20-game winner) since David Price in 2012.
4. Taijuan Walker (New York Mets)
The Black Knight pitcher in New York always finds a way onto our list and this week will be no different. Walker sits in the third spot in this week’s High FIVE and has proven to Mets’ fans that he was one of the top free agent acquisitions this off-season.
Walker currently sits 13th in ERA for Major League Baseball after lowering his down to 2.20 on Wednesday after his start against Baltimore. In his last two starts, it seems that he’s finally found his stride as he is raking up strikeouts and going deep into games.
In the 14 innings, he pitched, he only gave up one run, while striking out eight batters. Importantly to Met fans, he’s only walked three batters. He had given 13 free passes in the four previous starts before.
The Mets are 6-1 in games started by Walker this season.
5. Tim Anderson (Chi-Town White Sox)
When it’s all said and done, MLBbro.com expects Tim Anderson to be right in the running for the second batting title of his career this season. T.A. has collected a hit in eight straight games and recorded six RBI during his streak.
Anderson hit a home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the first, and the White Sox held off the Twins (minus Byron Buxton) for a 4-2 victory Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was their sixth straight win and 14th in 18 games.
Lewis suffered a deep bone bruise in his right knee after running into a wall during spring training. Just as he was starting to heat up at the plate, the injury bug struck.
But hey, you control what you can control. And for Lewis, that meant working on getting that knee back to 100% so he could return to his team.
Our MLB bro made his 2021 debut on April 20 against the LA Dodgers and after missing the team’s first 17 games, the webmaster was grateful to be back on the field.
“It’s very special,” Lewis said in an article from The Seattle Times. “I never take it for granted being able to play. And so anytime I’m able to run out there with the uniform on, it’s always special, especially after being out for a little bit. Definitely a lot of energy, a lot of adrenaline going. I was happy with it, and just excited to get out there.”
His first hit of the season came against the Boston Red Sox on April 23. Lewis was making his third appearance on the season and he saw the ball well that game.
His first homer came three days later.
Last years American League Rookie of the year hits his first home run of the season. Kyle Lewis missed time to began the season after having one of the best rookie years in all of baseball. #MLBBro#SeaUsRisehttps://t.co/8YrPNHoZmn
Let’s be real here, it’s not easy standing in that batter’s box and trying to hit off a major league pitcher after missing extended time.
You have to get your timing down and make sure you’re seeing the ball well. For Lewis, he’s still making strides to get to where he was last year when he led the Mariners in home runs (11) and OPS (.800).
On Sunday night, in a loss to the Texas Rangers, he collected another two hits and raised his batting average to .258.
Recently, the Mariners have been pleased with Lewis’ performance at the plate.
There was a stretch where he recorded a hit in six straight games and he’s currently on a three-game hitting streak.
FINAL: Mariners score 4 in the 8th to defeat Baltimore, 5-2.
Kyle Lewis drives in the eventual game winner with a 3-run HR in the 8th.
The Mariners have kept the ship afloat without him, but with Kyle Lewis back from a deep knee bruise that kept him off the field for the first 17 games of the season, they look to take the American League West crown and run with it.
The city of Seattle is one of the best baseball towns in America. Its fans are no different than the 12’s who spend falls at Seahawks games or the ones who inhabited the SuperSonics arena years ago.
They are being treated to an excellent brand of baseball on the field. Great pitching, great hitting and all across the diamond, spectacular plays are made on a daily basis. And it’s being done by some of the best young talent in baseball.
On Tuesday, the best apple out of that bunch made his 2021 debut. Lewis saw his name in the lineup for the first time in 2021, as he went 0-3 with a walk, in a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers.
The 25-year-old Black Knight hopes to pick up where he left off in 2020 when he became the second rookie in Major League history to lead a team in batting, home runs, run scored, and walks, joining Mark McGwire who did it in 1987 with the Oakland Athletics. He also was tied for the rookie lead in home runs while leading in walks and runs during the 60-game season.
Lewis is no stranger to hardware as he’s filled his trophy case in the last half-decade, en route to becoming a premier center fielder in the game. He won Baseball America’s 2016 College Player of the Year as well as the 2016 Golden Spikes Award to go along with the Southern Conference Player of the Year before being drafted by Seattle in 2016.
He hit the ground running once he arrived in the league. In his debut on September 10th of 2019, Lewis cranked a home run off 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer. He also homered in the next two games, joining Trevor Story as the only players to hit home runs in the first three games of their career.
While Lewis was on the Injured list, the Mariners called up outfielder Taylor Trammell a bit earlier than expected. The rookie is adjusting to MLB pitching and will get to roam the grass at T Mobile Park, alongside Lewis for years to come.
On Monday night he had his first career game-winning, extra-base hit in a 4-3 victory over the World Series champion Dodgers.
The Mariners’ 11 wins have them currently tied with the Red Sox for first place in the American League. They are one of the early surprises as they sit in first place in the AL West without the services of their best player.
As Lewis gets reacclimated to the game, a strong sophomore season can provide the final push the Mariners need to go from pretenders to contenders.