Before we get too deep into this, I’m aware of how good Jose Altuve is. He will probably win the MVP. He’ll probably deserve it. He leads American League hitters in WAR, according to Baseball-Reference. He leads AL hitters in WAR, according to FanGraphs. If you’re telling me that I need to appreciate Altuve more, I take offense to that. I’ve been on this bandwagon for years, and he’s long been one of my favorite players to watch.
But the Angels are a story. They’re three games over .500, and they have a half-game lead in the second wild-card race. You all laughed at me when I called the Angels sneaky almost-maybe contenders before the season, just like you laughed at me when I said that Nelson Cruz was a horrible idea for the Mariners, but forget that last part. The Angels are relevant, and they just might make the postseason.
With a 74-48 record, the Nationals sit 14 games ahead of the Miami Marlins for the lead in the NL East and seem locked into the second spot in the National League as the Los Angeles Dodgers run away with the top spot.
Washington avoided disaster when Bryce Harper’s scary knee injury was revealed to be a bone bruise instead of something season-ending, but the team will still be without his services in August. The Nationals are 5-3 in their eight games since the injury.
Roark has been better for the Nationals on the road this season than he has been at home. Washington is 5-2 in Roark’s last seven road starts, compared to a 1-5 record in his last six at home, per the OddsShark MLB Database.
The Astros still have the best record in the American League at 76-48, but most of the heavy lifting on that record was done before the All-Star break. Over the second half, Houston is just 16-19, including a 7-12 run so far in the month of August.