There were only eight games on Monday, but there were some significant results as it relates to the postseason. All three NL Central teams in the playoff mix were in action, and all three won. The Cardinals maintained their two- and three-game lead on the Cubs and Brewers, respectively, while the Cubs maintained their one-game lead over the Brewers for the second wild card spot. The Nationals lost to the Cardinals, which brought the Cubs within a half-game of the Nats, who currently hold the top wild card spot in the NL. Over in the AL, the A’s blew it in the ninth inning and saw their lead for the top wild card spot cut to one game over the idle Rays. The also idle Indians sit 1.5-games back of the Rays.

Pitching Performance of the Day

José Berríos was the only starter on Monday to record a quality start, get the W and strikeout more than three batters. Detroit’s Tyler Alexander and St. Louis’ Dakota Hudson also got the W in a quality start, but they only struck out three and one, respectively. Berrios struck out eight while allowing seven baserunners and two runs over 7.1 innings. He generated 15 swinging strikes in less than 100 pitches, and his swinging strike rate for the year now sits at 10.7-percent.

His strikeout rate remains down from last season but is almost right at his career average of 23-percent. His walk rate has improved this season and is down to an impressive 6.1-percent. He has a 3.58 ERA, but he might not totally deserve it with a SIERA of 4.31, which lags behind the ERA due to the lowered strikeout numbers. As you can see below, he’s certainly got the stuff to up that strikeout rate in the future.



Hitting Performance of the Day

Marcus Semien was one of five batters tied for the lead in total bases on Monday with six, and he is the only one of those five who did not strike out. Semien homered and singled twice while driving in two and scoring twice. Semien has a seven-game hitting streak going and has put together an incredible month. On the last 30 days Semien is 39-for-117 (.333) with 11 home runs, nine other extra-base hits and as many walks as strikeouts. That’s good for a wRC+ of 190, which is fifth best in the league in that time frame behind only Alex Bregman , Anthony Rendon , Nolan Arenado and Eugenio Suárez . That run has pushed Semien’s wRC+ to 135 on the year, third best among shortstops. Semien went off the draft board on average as the 24th shortstop this season and outside the top 200 overall.

What to Watch for Today

We’re back to a full slate of games today, and the only game that features two teams in competition with each other for a playoff spot is St. Louis hosting Washington. The Cards lead the NL Central, but if they were to fall out of the division lead, they’d be in competition with the Nats for wild card spots. St. Louis currently has a 1.5-game advantage on Washington. Patrick Corbin and Miles Mikolas will face off tonight. However, the best pitching matchup of the night is Lance Lynn against Justin Verlander as those two rank second and third among AL starters in WAR behind only Gerrit Cole .