With under two weeks to the end of the regular season, teams around MLB are jockeying for a spot in the playoffs. While most of the focus is on the action on the field, there is plenty of news off of it, too.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of the week around MLB.
Salvador Perez Makes History
It would not be unwarranted to say that Kansas City Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez is having an MVP-type season. While he is tied for just the fourth-best odds of winning the AL award (+20000), he is certainly having a historic season.
In fact, earlier this week, Perez made history by setting the record for most home runs by a catcher in a single season with his 46th blast. This home run broke his tie with Hall-of-Fame catcher Johnny Bench.
On the season, Perez is hitting .276/.317/.546 with 46 home runs, 115 runs batted in, and 82 runs scored.
Unfortunately for Royals’ fans, the team still sits in fourth place in the AL Central with a record of 69-83, 16.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox. However, for as tough as the season has been for the team, Salvador Perez has certainly given fans something to cheer for.
Bellinger Hits Injured List
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers (96-54) announced that they put outfielder Cody Bellinger on the injured list with a rib fracture.
It does not appear that the injury will cause Bellinger to miss significant time, but the Dodgers did want to give him some time to deal with the soreness he has been experiencing.
Bellinger has looked like a completely different player than the one that won the NL MVP just a couple of seasons ago. In 302 at-bats, he is hitting a dismal .159/.237/.291 with nine home runs, 34 runs batted in, and 38 runs scored.
Despite his struggles, the Dodgers have not suffered too much. They currently have the second-best record in the majors at 96-54, and they rank fifth in the majors in scoring, averaging 5.05 runs per game.
Los Angeles is -105 to win the NL West and are the odds-on-favorites to win the World Series at +270.
Bassitt To Make Return To The Mound
For the first time since taking a line drive to head on August 17, Oakland A’s pitcher Chris Bassitt will be taking the mound this week.
According to manager Bob Melvin, Bassitt will start on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners on the road.
Prior to the injury, Bassitt was having an outstanding season. In 25 starts, he is 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.046 WHIP, and he has 154 strikeouts in 151 innings pitched.
His return will help an A’s team that is desperately fighting to make the postseason. They currently sit seven games back of the Houston Astros in the AL West, but they sit just two games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the race for the second wild-card spot.
Oakland currently has the third-toughest remaining schedule as they have six games with the Seattle Mariners and six games with the Houston Astros remaining.
Oakland is +19000 to win the World Series this season.
Blue Jays Suffer Blow To Rotation
On Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays suffered a blow to their starting rotation as they put Hyun-Jin Ryu on the injured list due to a tight neck. For a team that is just a half-game up on the New York Yankees for the second wild-card spot, getting Ryu back quickly is a must.
Toronto has been one of the hottest teams in baseball as of late. They are currently 15-4 in the month of September, which has propelled them into a postseason spot.
Still, Toronto can’t relax as they still have three yet to play with the Yankees.
Blue Jays’ pitching ranks 10th in the majors with a 3.88 ERA, and they are +850 to win the American League championship this season.