As the 2023 regular season hits mid-August and September is just around the corner, the postseason picture is starting to slowly come into focus for some teams both in the American League and National League.
Over the last seven days, some teams did themselves some favors in terms of the division and Wild Card races and some completely fell flat and are on life support in terms of their playoff hopes. In this edition of Stock Up, Stock Down, here are two teams that improved their postseason chances and two who are all but out of contention for any kind of spot.
Stock Up: Chicago Cubs
One of the second-half surprises has been the Chicago Cubs, who went from being sellers at the trade deadline to becoming buyers, keeping their key pieces for the rest of the season and they are right in the middle of the NL Wild Card race.
They went to Canada last weekend and took two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays, then split a two-game set with the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox, winning the final game on a three-run home run from Christopher Morel Wednesday night in a 4-3 victory.
They currently hold the final spot for the third and final Wild Card team in the National League postseason, but they get some bad news with one of their top arms. Marcus Stroman, who drew a lot of attention ahead of the trade deadline, is out with a right rib cartridge fracture. There is no timetable for a return, but that is going to put more pressure on the rest of the rotation in his absence.
Chicago is in a good spot in terms of the standings and the upcoming schedule with their right-hander. They host the Kansas City Royals this weekend, then hit the road for a series against the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates. The next 10 days are going to go a long way into either helping their playoff chances or hurting them. They are turning into a team that nobody wants to play.