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Weekly MLB Report: Detroit Tigers Sweep Chicago White Sox to Force First-Place Tie

Tigers Sweep White Sox
Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

The post-season contenders are beginning to take shape as the 2012 season enters its final 30 games. Here’s what’s happening this week in Major League Baseball:

 

American League Roundup: Tigers, A’s, Orioles All Stay Hot

Delmon Young hit a tie-breaking, three-run homer, and Justin Verlander struck out 11 as the Detroit Tigers (72-61) completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox (72-61) on Sunday to force a tie for first-place in the American League Central…The Oakland A’s (76-57) used the stellar pitching of Brett Anderson to beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-2, on Sunday and win their ninth consecutive game. Oakland leads the race for the first AL Wild Card spot, but still trails Texas (79-54) by three games in the AL West…Mark Reynolds homered twice and the Baltimore Orioles (74-59) beat the New York Yankees (76-57) by a score of 8-3 on Sunday to draw within two games in the AL East.

National League Roundup: Reds Cut Magic Number to 19; Braves Rally Past Phillies

The National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds (82-53) used a five-run eighth inning to rally past the Houston Astros on Sunday. Coupled with the St. Louis Cardinals’ loss to NL East-leading Washington, the victory lowered the Reds’ magic number for clinching a playoff spot to 19…Chipper Jones’ three-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon with two outs capped a five-run ninth inning on Sunday, allowing the Atlanta Braves (75-59) to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-7, and remain well ahead in the race for the first NL Wild Card spot…Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run double in the ninth inning Sunday allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers (72-63) to beat Arizona, 5-4, and remain just 4.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.

Play of the Week: Mark Reynolds, Baltimore Orioles

While he hit two home runs to beat the New York Yankees on Sunday, Baltimore Orioles’ first baseman Mark Reynolds used his glove to help his team take the first game of the three-game series. Watch as Reynolds robs Russell Martin of a hit in the third inning on Friday night.

Upcoming Series To Watch: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

Once possessing a 10-game lead in the American League East, the New York Yankees (76-57) are struggling to hold off several teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays (73-61) who are just 3.5 games behind them. Tampa welcomes the Yankees for a crucial three-game series starting Monday at Tropicana Field. New York will start C.C. Sabathia, Freddy Garcia and Hiroki Kuroda against the Rays’ James Shields, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore.

Fantasy Player to Add: Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics

After holding the Red Sox to one run on five hits in six innings on Sunday, Brett Anderson is now 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA after his first three starts of 2012. Even more impressive is Andersen’s 15/3 K/BB ratio, which needs to stay consistent as Oakland fights for a playoff spot.

Fantasy Player To Drop: Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals

Though he’s still a capable innings-eater, Jake Westbrook may need an adjustment. Over his last three starts, Westbrook has an 8.22 ERA and a 2.22 WHIP. With seven walks and three hit batters in his last 15-plus innings, Westbrook should be taken out of your rotation until he proves he has settled his pitching issues.

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