SweetSpot

Key players to watch for September
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Monday's game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians set up to be one of those much-anticipated September pitching duels between aces on playoff contenders: David Price versus Corey Kluber, the team everyone expected to win the American League Central against the team that has suddenly turned it into a three-team race for the division crown.

Hamels a bright spot in Phillies' mess
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Does anyone remember combined no-hitters? Maybe not. There have been only 11 of them. I'm a Mariners fan and they threw one a few years ago against the Dodgers and I couldn't even tell you who started that game.

No surprise that Astros fire Porter
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On a certain level, there was always the belief that Bo Porter was a placeholder, a manager to fill out the lineup card, play the young guys, take his lumps and not complain about all the losing.

Five things we learned Sunday
1. The NL West race is heating up.The Giants pounded the Brewers 15-5 to win their sixth in a row. They had two blowouts over Milwaukee but the pitching had its best week of the season, giving up 14 runs in seven games (three of those coming late on Sunday when Tim Lincecum made a relief appearance).

Indians rise to AL stealth contender status
Despite Sunday night’s rain-delayed outcome, one thing has become clear in the AL Central race: The Cleveland Indians are cutting in on a dance many might have anticipated just the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers were invited to.

Angels' sweep means AL West race is over
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When Garrett Richards, the best pitcher on the Los Angeles Angels in 2014 and one of the best pitchers in the league, went down with a knee injury on Aug.

A's not losing because of Cespedes
When the Oakland Athletics traded Yoenis Cespedes to acquire Jon Lester, general manager Billy Beane had two beliefs:(1) Lester would upgrade the rotation and give the A's a No.

Peavy a key to Giants' stretch-run potential
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It almost looked like Peavy had a no-hitter in him Saturday night. He pitched into the eighth against the Brewers without allowing a base hit, and just enough things seemed to be breaking his way to make you think he’d wind up with his first career no-hitter.

Was Royals' Shields-Myers deal worth it?
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Are you a Kansas City Royals fan? Perhaps the better question is, did you remain a Royals fan over the past few decades? If so, this season’s been pretty happy for you, and Saturday night’s action might even have seemed a bit fortuitous for you, despite the Royals’ eventual loss to the Indians.

ICYMI: SweetSpot hits of the week
As some teams gear up for the playoffs, others, to put it kindly, are not. They say that losing can be the best teacher. So, based on the lessons learned, the reflection on 2014 and the planning for 2015 begins … hopefully.

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