Red Sox are back, Phillies' Zach Eflin looks like a potential All-Star and everything else we learned this week in MLB
Here's what you need to know from the last seven days of MLB action
We'll be taking a look at the most interesting takeaways every week this MLB season so check back every Sunday for our recap. Now, here's what we learned from Week 7 in MLB:
Boston is back in the AL East race
After beginning the season 9-15, the Red Sox have clawed their way back to a winning record and third place (four games out) in the American League East. The reigning World Series champions have won seven of their last eight games and are over .500 for the first time since 2018. Thanks to their recent winning streak, the Red Sox's playoff odds have gone up from 48.3 percent to 79.5 percent.
The bottom of the Sox lineup is finally contributing offensively and the rotation has gotten more reliable. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sandy Leon are both emerging from their respective slumps. "When the bottom of the lineup is doing the things they're capable of doing, we become very dangerous," Red Sox manager Alex Cora told Masslive.com after Saturday's win over the Mariners.
Phillies' Eflin providing huge boost to rotation
The Phillies felt good about the top of their rotation when the season started thanks to Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. But it wasn't clear how the rest of their starters were going to pan out. Well, Philadelphia might just have another potential All-Star in right-hander Zach Eflin. Eflin is the first pitcher with two complete games this season. His most recent was a four-hit shutout of the Royals on Saturday night in Kansas City. Eflin struck out seven and lowered his season ERA to 2.47 in the 110-pitch effort.
In his last 25 innings, Eflin has allowed just two runs. If he can keep up this pace and contribute quality starts behind the Nola and Arrieta then the Phillies could perhaps seriously pull away from the rest of the National League East where the Braves, Mets and Nationals are currently fighting to stay at or above .500.
The Minnesota Twins are the best team in baseball right now. Their offense, led by shortstop Jorge Polanco, has made them one of the top contenders in the American League. Polanco, who signed a five-year extension in February, is having a breakout season where he's hitting .336/.405/.629. The 25-year-old leads the Twins with a 2.6 WAR, and he's a top-five offensive player in all of baseball. As a team, the Twins are batting .263, second only to the Houston Astros.
Minnesota's postseason odds are at 92.9 percent after Saturday's win (MIN 8, DET 3) over the Detroit Tigers. Entering Sunday, Minnesota has the second largest division lead in baseball with a five-game lead over the Cleveland Indians. The Twins early season success tells us that this squad might have a serious chance at upending the three-time division champion Indians -- who are currently without Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber -- for the AL Central crown.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
The White Sox righty changed his pitch selection and his position on the rubber
SportsLine's Mike McClure, a DFS pro with nearly $2M in winnings, gives optimal lineup adv...
The Yankees tend to pursue power strikeout pitchers, not finesse ground ball pitchers like...
The Major League Baseball rulebook lacks clarity on checked swings
Also, watch SportsLine on CBS Sports HQ live at 6 p.m. ET for all today's best bets
SportsLine's advanced computer model simulated Friday's Reds vs. Cubs matinee 10,000 times