The Major League Baseball playoff picture is starting to take shape, and only a handful of players with Long Beach ties are contributing to teams pushing for the postseason.
New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks hit his 22nd home run of the season on Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles. That is a career high for the fifth-year pro out of Wilson High. Hicks, 28, also has career highs in RBIs (63), runs scored (72) and WAR (4.1). He is sixth in the American League with 72 walks, which is also a career high. If the playoffs started today, the Yankees would play the Oakland A’s in the wild card game.
Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Bryan Shaw has been struggling this month. The Long Beach State Dirtbags product has given up 11 hits and three runs in his last nine innings. Shaw, 30, blew his fifth save opportunity of the year against the San Diego Padres last week, and his ERA ballooned to 6.42 for the season. This is his first year in Colorado after five years in Cleveland. The Rockies are battling the Arizona Diamondback and Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West division title.
Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Nick Vincent was having a great month until last Saturday in Arizona. The former Dirtbag had pitched 6.1 consecutive scoreless innings over five games before giving up two earned runs to the Diamondbacks. Vincent, 32, has a 3.38 ERA in August and 41 strikeouts in 48 appearances this season. The Mariners are 5.5 games back of the last AL wild card spot.
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, who was born in Long Beach, is having a breakout month. After missing the first month of the season due to injury, Turner has five of his 10 home runs, and 36 of his 79 hits in August. He has hit .308 with a .400 on base percentage this year. The Dodgers are 1.5 games back of the wild card.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Matt Duffy is having one of the best hitting streaks of his four-year career. The former Lakewood Lancer and LBSU Dirtbag has 10 hits in the last seven days, and the Rays have won nine of their last 10 games. Duffy is hitting .298 this season after missing all of last year due to injury. Tampa Bay is 8.5 games back of the AL wild card.
*Statistics through Aug. 29