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MLB News and Notes for Monday, May 23, 2022

While it is far too early to rule any one team out of postseason contention, there are teams around Major League Baseball that are seemingly separating themselves from the rest of the pack. In fact, entering play Sunday, there are 20 teams that sit five or more games back of first in their division and seven that sit ten or more games.

With so much excitement on the field, let’s take a look at some of the stories from off the field over the last week.

Max Scherzer Out For The Foreseeable Future

The hits keep coming for the New York Mets. Earlier this week, they learned that the second of their co-aces, Max Scherzer, will be heading to the injured list.

Joining Jacob deGrom, Scherzer is being placed on the IL due to an oblique strain that is expected to keep him sidelined for up to eight weeks.

Scherzer signed a three-year deal this offseason with the Mets that will pay him $130 million, and he had been off to a sensational start for New York. In eight games, the 37-year-old is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA, 0.946 WHIP, and has struck out 59 in just 49.2 innings of work.

Luckily for Mets’ fans, the team has built a strong lead in the NL East early on. At 27-15 entering play Sunday, they sit seven games ahead of the second-place Atlanta Braves.

The real question will be whether they can weather the storm without both Scherzer and deGrom in the rotation. Currently, the Mets are the favorites to win the division at -180 and have the fourth-best odds of winning the World Series at +850.

Update On Kershaw

From one future Hall-of-Fame pitcher to another, Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts indicated on Friday that Clayton Kershaw was likely still a couple of weeks away from throwing.

Unfortunately, after what was expected to be a short stay on the injured list, Kershaw experienced some discomfort while trying to play catch. With the setback, it will likely mean that Kershaw will also have to go out for a minor league rehab assignment when he is able to ramp things up.

Prior to the injury, Kershaw was 4-0 in five starts. The 34-year-old also had a 1.80 ERA, 0.733 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched.

Even without Kershaw, the Dodgers have been stellar on the mound. They have the lowest staff earned run average in all of baseball at 2.83.

Perennially a World Series contender, the Dodgers are currently the favorites to win both the NL West (-260) and the World Series (+450) this season.

Mariners Bring In Veteran Outfielder

Earlier this season, the Los Angeles Angels released 34-year-old outfielder Justin Upton, but on Saturday, he was able to find a new employer. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Upton and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a one-year deal.

Last season, with the Angels, Upton hit just .211/.296/.409 with 17 home runs, 41 runs batted in, 47 runs scored, and four stolen bases.

The Mariners currently rank 20th in scoring averaging just 3.90 runs per game. With Mitch Haniger and Kyle Lewis still on the injured list and Jarred Kelenic sent back to the minors, the Mariners are looking to explore help wherever they can get it.

After finishing second in the AL West last season, the Mariners were expected to contend this season, but they have gotten off to a disappointing start. At 17-24 entering play Sunday, they sat nine games back of the first-place Houston Astros.

Despite their rough start, they still have the third-best odds of winning the division at +1500. They are +6000 to win the World Series this year.

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