Mariners Nation: the Boston Red Sox are only 1.5 games ahead of Seattle heading into tonight’s game vs the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox begin play tonight against the Baltimore Orioles for a 3-game series, followed by a 3-game series with the Washington Nationals starting on Friday night. The Orioles sit at an MLB-worst 50-106, while the Nationals have struggled their way to a 65-92 record so far.
The Red Sox play some less than formidable opponents over the final six games of the season, but some star players on the Orioles and Nationals could make some noise in both series.
For Baltimore, the Orioles’ top four hitters in the lineup are their strongest performers: centerfielder Cedric Mullins, first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, right fielder Austin Hays, and DH Trey Mancini. Mullins recently achieved a 30-home run, 30-stolen base season, a rare feat we haven’t seen since Christian Yelich and Ronald Acuna both achieved it in 2019.
Mountcastle and Hays, two more bright pieces in the Orioles’ rebuild, have also performed highly this season; Mountcastle has pounded 31 home runs with 84 RBIs, while Hays has hit 22 home runs with 70 RBIs. Mancini, meanwhile, is coming back strong from a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, hitting 21 home runs with 70 RBIs and 32 doubles.
The Nationals don’t have as many contributors as the Orioles, but they have one unquestioned star: outfielder Juan Soto, a bona fide National League MVP candidate. Soto is hitting .321, with 29 home runs, 93 RBIs, and an incredible 1.020 OPS.
Soto is battling hard with the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Phillies’ Bryce Harper for NL MVP honors, but Soto winning the award would be historic considering how bad of a team he’s on. He has plenty of motivation to perform highly over the last week of the season to cement his place in history and provide a major spark for the Nationals heading into next season.