Next Man Up: Teams Feel the Heat as Players Hit The DL

I am taking a break from writing government and psychology lesson plans to blog a bit. As Scott said yesterday, we have been very busy with work and our commitments for the fall. Even though I graduated, I still have this thing call “school;” only this time, I actually have to be responsible now as a teacher. Even though I have been off from blogging as I get my act together for the school year, I have been listening to plenty of baseball on the radio and keeping up with fantasy baseball. My fantasy team is not going well. At all. With the playoffs in our league only weeks away, I am looking at a roster that has Bryce Harper, Brian McCann, Dustin Pedroia, Michael Brantley, Alex Wood, and Noah Syndergaard all on the disabled list. I can only imagine how major league teams feel with players hitting the DL during the final push of the season. Here are three of the teams that should feel worried with key players on the DL:

The Cleveland Indians

I know I have a bit of a bias as an Indians fan, but just on Friday I wrote an article about how Jay Bruce would save the Tribe and help push them into the playoffs. Things seemed very shaky with Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall both on the DL. He was brought in to help fill the hole in the outfield and the lineup and keep the team afloat, which he has. Then the pitching staff lost two of it’s key pieces in reliever Andrew Miller and starter Danny Salazar. Miller went back on the DL with a knee issue and Salazar has an elbow problem. Both of them have no timetable for their return, so this is a very stressful time for Cleveland. After losing two of the biggest arms on your pitching staff, plus the two holes in the outfield, it’s next man up for the Tribe. With a 5.5 game lead in the AL Central, that lead can be shaved down if they aren’t careful.

The New York Yankees

The Yankees are in a very difficult spot. No one really believed that they would be ready to contend this year after attempting to rebuild the team and get younger. With a 66-57 record and only 4.5 games out of the division lead, the Yanks have exceeded all expectations. They also hold a 2.5 game lead in the wildcard, so they are in a primed spot to return to the playoffs. The issue is the team has a lot of holes in the field right now. Currently, Starlin Castro, Clint Frazier, Matt Holliday, Michael Pineda, Jordan Montgomery, and other pitchers are all on the DL right now. With a team that has a young core and all the pressures and expectations of being in the New York market, this is a very critical moment for this team. Will they overcome, or will they fold?

The Washington Nationals

You might be thinking this one is a stretch, but hear me out. While the Nationals are basically a lock to win the NL East with a 13.5 game lead, getting deep into October might be a challenge. Currently, all three starting outfielders in Jason Werth, Bryce Harper, and Adam Eaton are all on the DL, along with ace Max Scherzer. The pressure that Washington faces has nothing to do with getting to October, it’s getting out of the first round. The window is closing in Washington. Bryce Harper is getting closer and closer to free agency and the time is now to make a deep run. It is unfortunate that Harper was one of the players to hit the DL when he is the one that so desperately wants to make it to the next round. If these DL stints are short (minus Eaton who is out for the year), then they should be primed for a playoff push. If, however, these pieces are out for the long haul, the Nats might be watching October baseball from their living rooms.

With playoff baseball a little over a month to go, injuries will become more and more devastating for teams that are in the hunt. Sometimes, however, someone steps up to save the day. Sometimes a team can rally together. Next. Man. Up.

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