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Baseball: Weekend Digest (Sept. 2 Edition)

A roundup of news and notes from this weekend in baseball.

Miguel Cabrera sat out Saturday and Sunday with a strained abdomen.

Miguel Cabrera sat out Saturday and Sunday with a strained abdomen.

BettingSports.com brings you another installment of our weekend baseball digest, recapping the important stories and developments you may have missed out on in the excitement of football season.

We also take a look ahead and highlight this week’s biggest games, keeping you abreast of the action you need to see as the postseason hunt enters its final stretch.

Tigers Rest Cabrera, Handle Indians

Having left the game early in wins over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday and Cleveland Indians on Friday, Miguel Cabrera, suffering a strained abdomen, was rested for the remainder of the weekend. The slugger is currently listed as day-to-day as the Detroit Tigers prepare for a three-game set with the AL-leading Boston Red Sox.

Without Cabrera, the Tigers picked up a 10-5 win over the Indians on Saturday but came up short of a series sweep on Sunday. A Mike Aviles grand slam in the ninth inning gave the Tribe a 4-0 win over their division rivals. Regardless, Detroit finishes the season head-to-head with an impressive 15-4 advantage over Cleveland, just one of the reasons Jim Leyland’s side is cruising to the AL Central title.

Dodgers, BoSox Continue To Dominate

After last weekend’s entertaining series between the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, both teams continued to demonstrate their dominance as the regular season draws ever closer to a close.

Boston handed the Chicago White Sox a three-game sweep at Fenway Park this weekend, improving to an American League-best  82-56 on the season. The Sox have now won seven of their last eight, dating back to last weekend’s series with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers meanwhile visited the San Diego Padres for a three-game set, dispatching their division rivals in all three meetings. Don Mattingly’s club now holds a massive 11½ game lead in the NL West. Only the Atlanta Braves – 14 games ahead of the Washington Nationals – have a larger lead in their division.

Los Angeles is now 51-13 since June 22, a streak that has seen the club become the bookmakers’ favorite to win the National League pennant. At this rate, they may well be playing the Red Sox come October.

A’s Sweep Rays, Take Over Wild Card Top Spot

20130901_AL_WildcardAfter taking three of four from Detroit earlier in the week, Oakland swept the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, leapfrogging their fellow postseason hopefuls in the process.

The series was punctuated by Oakland’s 5-1 victory on Sunday, which saw pitcher A.J. Griffin give up just one run in his 12th win of the season. The win saw the A’s move 2½ games ahead of the Rays in the wild card hunt.

The American League wild card picture became even more compressed this weekend. The New York Yankees took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles, leaving three teams within 3½ games of the wild card berths. With six wins from their last eight, the Kansas City Royals remain on the bubble at 5½ games back.

Oakland’s win also saw the club move within one game of the Texas Rangers at the top of the AL West standings. The Rangers dropped two of three to the lowly Minnesota Twins this weekend.

Oakland can do better than close the gap this week though. The A’s will host the Rangers in a three-game set beginning Monday.

Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics odds for 09/02/13 are available now.

The Rangers are 8-5 against the A’s this season, including 4-2 in games played at O.co Coliseum. The A’s however will be looking to overtake the Rangers late in the season for the second straight year.

Pirates, Cards All Tied Up…Again

20130901_NL_WildcardThe NL Central’s close battle between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals continued this weekend as the two met in a three-game series. The Pirates took the opening two games to move a game ahead in the standings before the Cardinals managed to avoid a sweep Sunday, emerging with a 7-2 victory and once again tying the Pirates at the top of the division. Almost inseparable over the past few months, its looks like the division race will go down to the wire this season.

The big loser in the NL Central this weekend was the Cincinnati Reds. Dusty Baker’s side had an opportunity to close the gap as the Bucs and Cards beat each other up, but the Reds ultimately slipped to 3½ games back thanks to a pair of losses against the Colorado Rockies. The Reds will still have plenty to say in this race (beginning on Monday) but winning the division outright may just be beyond them.

The Week Ahead

20130901_AL_standings20130901_NL_standingsThere’s plenty of action with potential postseason ramifications ahead this week, beginning with Monday’s Labor Day schedule.

Cincinnati can throw its hat back in the NL Central ring when St. Louis comes to town for three games starting Monday. The Reds need to make up ground and make it up quickly. The Cardinals own a 10-5 record against the Reds though, so winning might be tough. Odds and trends for this matchup can be found here.

Over in the American League, in addition to Texas’ trip to Oakland which could see a change at the top of the AL West, fans will be treated to a high-profile showdown between the Tigers and Red Sox as Detroit travels to Fenway Park. The two division leaders will be playing for bragging rights in what could be a potential ALCS preview. Odds and trends for this matchup can be found here.

Currently separated by a half-game in the AL wild card race, Baltimore and Cleveland will hook-up for three games at Progressive Field, starting Monday. Neither can afford to lose, especially with the Yankees – winners of 14 of 19 – looking like a dangerous team, so this will be a vital series. Odds and trends can be found here.

The weekend brings with it the best rivalry in baseball as Boston travels to the Bronx to take on the Yankees (Thu-Sun). After the drama of two weeks ago – Ryan Dempster deliberately kerplunked Alex Rodriguez during the series finale – this one is sure to be dynamite viewing. It will also have huge postseason implications.

The National League will have its fair share of storylines entering the weekend though. St. Louis hosts Pittsburgh (Fri-Sun) in yet another installment of the division’s wildest rivalry, while the Los Angeles Dodgers could put an end to any division hopes the Cincinnati Reds might have during a three-game set at Great American Ballpark (Fri-Sun).

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