With several divisions throughout Major League Baseball still up for grabs and numerous contenders still in the hunt for the Wild Card, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports runs through the strength of the rest-of-season schedule for each of the 14 teams with realistic hopes of securing a postseason bid. The Diamondbacks draw the unwelcome distinction of facing the toughest schedule of any team in baseball between now and season’s end, Passan notes, pointing out that from Sept. 6-26 they’ll play 20 games in 20 days against a grouping of teams with a combined .560 winning percentage. The Indians, meanwhile, land on the other end of the spectrum. Despite the fact that they have seven games against the Red Sox remaining, the rest of their schedule is more or less a romp through the hapless AL Central, with 10 games against the Royals and six against the White Sox highlighting what should be an easy path to the AL Central crown.
Some other miscellaneous items for your afternoon perusal…
- Lefty James Pazos has been among the Mariners’ best relievers over the past two seasons, but Seattle optioned him to Triple-A on Sunday. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times examines the move, citing manager Scott Servais in writing that the organization feels that Pazos is in need of some mechanical corrections to get back into top form. Specifically, Servais indicated that Pazos “hasn’t been as consistent with his fastball” over the past six weeks or so, which has gotten him into trouble at times. The Mariners don’t expect Pazos to spend much more, if any, than the 10-day minimum in the minors as he works out the kinks, but Servais notes that he’s been falling behind hitters of late due to that fastball inconsistency. The organization, per Divish, has a “very detailed” plan for Pazos to follow in what sounds to be a brief trip to Tacoma.
- Cardinals manager Mike Shildt tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the decision to move right-hander Luke Weaver from the rotation to the bullpen was “not an easy one.” Weaver looked to be among the game’s more promising young starters in 2017, and he’s shown flashes of brilliance in 2018, too, but has generally been inconsistent. Weaver cites his own lack of fastball control as the root of his struggles in a harsh self-evaluation but sounds to be taking the move in stride. “This move is not a slap in the face,” says the soon-to-be 25-year-old. “It’s about … finding a way where I can help the team, wherever it is. … It’s not going to shake me.”
- The upcoming Mets/Giants series will provide fans with a contrast between a club that has excelled in terms of building minor league depth (the Giants) and one that has failed at doing so in recent seasons (the Mets), writes Tim Britton of The Athletic (subscription required). Britton notes that in Ryan Vogelsong, Santiago Casilla, Andres Torres and several others, San Francisco has consistently found value in minor league free agency. This season alone, he observes, the Giants have three minor league signees — Derek Holland, Dereck Rodriguez, Alen Hanson — who’ve provided the team with more than a win above replacement (per Fangraphs); conversely, the Mets have had only two players over the past four seasons combined that have reached even half a win by that same measure: Rene Rivera and Jose Reyes. Britton explores the Giants’ method of aggressively approaching minor league free agency, headed by assistant GM Jeremy Shelley, in an interesting look at the stark difference between the two clubs.