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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Judges top as baseball returns from Yankees All-Star break

CHICAGO ( Associated Press) — Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees, Mookie Bates and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros — they’re all looking for just that. The Atlanta Braves’ title defense is underway, and Julio Rodriguez and the Seattle Mariners are looking to crash the playoff party.

All-packed up and ready to go after the AL’s 3-2 win – as baseball returns from All-Star break The postseason picture is pretty congested — thanks to the addition of a third wild card in each league — at Dodger Stadium — on Tuesday night.

The October equation can also change in a hurry. Just Ask Rodriguez and the Mariners, 14th consecutive winner, Or contenders are looking at the August 2 trade deadline with Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo, Chicago Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras and yes, Washington Nationals Juan Soto.Admittedly, all are on the market to varying degrees.

Welcome back, indeed.

“We still have a long way to go,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “To play a lot of baseball.”

Roberts’ club is one of three teams with a lead of at least nine games in the second half in their respective divisions. Led by Bates and Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles NL West has 10 games over Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres.

“A lot of good things happened for us in the first half,” Freeman said.

Altuve and Houston still have a nine-game lead in the AL West, even with a winning streak tied to Seattle. The Astros and Mariners kicked off their season series with seven more games this month, starting Friday night in Seattle.

Houston manager Dusty Baker said, “I thought the Mariners had a good team from the start, and I told everyone that at the time, they were extremely strong last year, and you know, you have to beat them. ” “They’re not going to defeat themselves.”

The AL East has been the best division in baseball—every team is .500 or better, even the 46–46 Baltimore Orioles—but it hasn’t affected New York at all. The Yankees began the second half with a flamboyant 64-28 record and a massive 13-game lead over Tampa Bay.

While Giancarlo Stanton has delivered his usual power and Clay Holmes has been one of the game’s most influential relievers, this judge is paving the way for the Bronx Bombers. He is batting .284 with 33 homers and 70 RBI, leading with Shohei Ohtani for AL MVP.

“I think he’s getting better and better as a leader, which, I think, has always been a positive quality,” said New York manager Aaron Boone. “But I would just say that he is a more complete, refined, experienced player who is also at the top of his career.”

The Judges and the Yankees are looking to chase down the franchise’s first championship and number 28 overall since 2009. But there are all kinds of potential obstacles – both near and far.

The Crosstown Mets are at the helm of the NL East, who want to stop the Braves and take the franchise’s first division title since 2015. Every Central Division in baseball was mediocre in the first half, but Milwaukee and St. Louis have a string of stars, and Carlos Correa could propel Minnesota back into the playoffs after finishing last in the AL Central in 2021.

Even the Chicago White Sox, who did poorly at the start, showed some positive signs, taking three of four to the division-leading Twins in the runup to the break.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while. We’re going to turn the corner,” said White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech. “Things are about to go our way.”

The return of switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal could provide a lift for the White Sox, who are looking for their third consecutive playoff appearance. The injured list can have a more dramatic effect on the pennant race than the trade deadline.

Mets Ace Jacob DeGrom Coming back after being sidelined by a stress reaction in your right scapula. Second baseman Ozzy Albiz could rejoin Atlanta’s loaded lineup next month after breaking his left leg on June 14. Philadelphia slugger Bryce Harper, San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. could also be back in time. Teams down the stretch.

DeGrom, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, didn’t pitch all year. He combined with Max Schaezer to give New York a 1-2 punch dominance at the top of their rotation.

“We all want Jake back,” said Mets left-hander David Pietersen. “We all want him to be healthy, that is the most important thing. We want him to be productive and we want him to be Jake, the Jake we love. ,


Associated Press Baseball Writer Jake Sener, Associated Press Sports Writers Greg Beacham and Dave Campbell, and Associated Press Freelance Reporter Jeremy Rake contributed to this report.


From Jay Cohen https://twitter.com/jcohenap . can be contacted at


More Associated Press MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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