Paul Ulane

MLB Fiery Five: September 22

Contrary to popular opinion, major league baseball is still going on. Just thought I’d remind everyone, because after two weeks of amazing NFL action, baseball season seems to be winding down behind the scenes. That’s a shame, because as the sports world shifts its focus towards the pigskin, the baseball teams putting together fierce hot streaks aren’t getting the proper recognition. Like who? Well, why don’t you keep reading to find out...  
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley…the mashers just keep coming as you go down the Phillies line-up card. Still, Philadelphia’s recent hot streak is being powered from the mound. The Phillies have reeled off seven wins in their last eight games during which their pitching staff allowed the fewest earned runs in the Majors. Cole Hamels led the way, with 16 strikeouts in his last two starts.
2. Atlanta Braves
The Braves led the NL in batting average last week while scoring the second most runs in the league. If the offense keeps raking, a Wild Card spot isn’t out of the picture for Atlanta - especially considering their soft upcoming schedule: six straight against the Mets and Nats.
3. Minnesota Twins
Last week I complained about the lack of true pennant races this season, and then – BOOM! – along come the Twins. Minnesota scored the third most runs in the AL last week and closed the gap on AL Central-leading Detroit to 2.5 games. Now a HUGE four-game series is looming next week, and if the Twinkies can stay hot, they might just slip into the playoffs for the fifth time in the last eight seasons.
4. Boston Red Sox
Name an offensive category and the Red Sox were near the top of the Majors last week. Boston scored the second most runs, hit the second most homers, and had the second most RBI in the Majors last week. Victor Martinez continues to be in the middle of the booming bats with a .381 average.  
5. Oakland Athletics
Who says last place teams never get any love? The A’s took advantage of a slumping Rangers team and a terrible Indians team to win seven of their last eight games. The sweep over the Indians was the team’s first four-game sweep since 2005. More props go out to the hottest hitting A, centerfielder Rajai Davis, who is riding a nine-game hitting streak.  
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