As the 2023 regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Cohen to hold press conference:
Mets owner Steve Cohen will be holding a press conference before the club’s game against the Brewers this evening, as Cohen himself announced on Twitter. Cohen’s presser comes as the Mets are in the midst of a brutal June that’s seen them go 7-16 and fall to 8.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. Their chances of an NL East title this season appear even more remote as they’ve fallen to fourth place in the division and sit a whopping 16 games back of the Braves.
With the odds of playoff baseball coming to Queens this season appearing remote, rumors have begun to percolate regarding the Mets as potential sellers, up to and including the idea of veteran ace Max Scherzer changing uniforms before the trade deadline on August 1. It’s not currently known what Cohen’s plans for the press conference are, though as perhaps the most unconventional and publicly active owner in the sport, the presser is sure to be worth keeping an eye on.
2. Central division races tightening:
While the Braves, Rangers, Rays, and Diamondbacks all have relatively healthy leads in their respective division races with Arizona’s 2.5 game lead on the Giants standing as the smallest margin, both the AL Central and the NL Central appear to be extremely competitive in the run up to the All Star break. Following a loss by the Twins to the Braves and a win over the Royals by the Guardians yesterday, Cleveland (38-40) has moved within half a game of the Twins in the AL Central (40-41). With six more games against the Royals prior to the break while the Twins stare down a pair of matchups against Baltimore, the Guardians have a clear path toward taking a lead in the division.
In the NL Central, meanwhile, the Pirates have begun to fall out of the race after going just 4-15 over their last 19 games. That leaves the top dogs in the division as the Reds, who have surged to the front of the division after rattling off 12 straight wins earlier in the month. Milwaukee lurks just half a game behind them, and the Brewers will have an excellent opportunity to separate themselves from the pack in the Central prior to the All-Star break. In their final seven games before the break, they’ll play four against the Cubs (in third place, three games back of the division lead) and three against Cincinnati.
3. Abrams to be re-evaluated:
Nationals shortstop CJ Abrams is set to be re-evaluated this morning following his departure from last night’s game against the Mariners, according to MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman. The young shortstop was struck by a pitch in the right elbow during yesterday’s game, the second time he’s been hit in that spot this week. Abrams missing time would be an unfortunate turn for the Nationals as the 22-year-old looks to continue developing at the big league level in hopes of reaching the promise that made him a consensus top-10 prospect in baseball heading into the 2022 season and a cornerstone of the Juan Soto trade. Utility infielder Ildemaro Vargas took over for Abrams at shortstop last night and figures to fill in should Abrams miss time.