In a new series of posts covering Major League Baseball, we'll look at the best bits of the past week's action from across the pond. Here's some of what's happened in MLB over the past seven days.
Around the divisions
The Nationals continued to hold onto the division despite another stuttering series against the last-placed Phillies, whose pitching staff continue to be a bright point in an otherwise forgettable season. The Braves kept up their Wildcard chase and will face the Nationals this week for a crucial series. The Marlins and the Mets remain in third and fourth sports respectively but the Marlins in particular have played some nice ball this week.
The Brewers continued their implosion, losing all their games bar one this week. St Louis have made the most of this break and have stretched their division lead to four games; not safe yet but with the way the Brewers are playing could just be enough. Pittsburgh have done enough to keep themselves well in contention for a Wildcard spot and seem to be clicking at the right time. The Reds and Cubs, all but out of this season, prop up the bottom.
The Dodgers have done enough to keep a lead over the hot Giants, though they were on the losing end of a 2-1 series against the Nationals in a potential postseason matchup. Despite the loss, Clayton Kershaw's dominance remains and as long as MVP voters don't decide he's not worthy because he's a pitcher, he's a strong contender. The other three teams in this division - the Padres, Diamondbacks and Rockies all continue to underwhelm.
The Orioles are currently one of the hottest teams in the majors and look good to clinch the AL East title. The second-placed Yankees are still in with a shout, but their inconsistency makes it an unlikely challenge. On Sunday they honoured the career of Derek Jeter, one of baseball's living legends. At the other end, David Ortiz continues to hit home runs for the Red Sox but for the Fenway Faithful there's not a lot else to cheer about. Toronto and Tampa Bay are jostling for third place and watching both teams you get the impression they're ready for the end of the season.
The Royals and Tigers remain close in what looks like being an exciting final push. Detroit are struggling but remain in the hunt, while Kansas City has surprised many with their form and their ability to keep winning. The Indians have kept themselves in the hunt but have likely left it too late for a push, while the White Sox and Twins have already begun to look forward to next year.
The most exciting league in baseball? It's hard to argue with. The Angels have the best record of any team and are consistently pulling it out of the bag. The Athletics - despite a bit of a slump - have hold on the Wildcard and certainly have the players to wrap it up. Hot on their heals however are the Mariners who shouldn't be ruled out. The two Texan teams - the Astros and Rangers seem to be creating more stories off the field than on it - but at least it keeps them in the spotlight.
News from the bleachers
The Astros dismissed Bo Porter of his managerial duties, much to the consternation of most of the baseball community. Everyone knows that the Astros haven't really got the strongest line-up, and there's a sense that Bo Porter was dealt a pretty bad hand to begin with and didn't stand much of a chance.
Adam Dunn, brought in to bolster a struggling Oakland offense after the loss of Yoenis Cespedes, lived up to the hype and homered in his first inning for the A's.
Four Phillies pitchers combined to no-hit the Braves on Monday, the first time they've done as a team so since 2010 and the fourth time it's happened this season.
Game notesSuggest a correction