How much can happen in less than two weeks? Plenty.
When the final pitch was thrown on the Aug. 1 schedule, the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets were all on the outside looking in when it came to the playoff chase.
As play begins Thursday, all three teams are leading either their division or the wild-card race. Credit a collective 26-3 record by this red-hot trio of contenders.
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The biggest catalyst for each team:
Blue Jays: Sure, newcomers Troy Tulowitzki and David Price have done their parts, but Josh Donaldson has been even more productive. In this 10-game span, Donaldson is hitting .324/.444/.784 with 5 homers and 10 RBI, cementing his status as an AL MVP candidate.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon's decision to insert rookie Kyle Schwarber's bat into the lineup stole the headlines (Schwarber has 2 homers, 2 doubles and 8 RBI in his past 8 games). But right fielder Jorge Soler is hitting .323 with a .417 on-base percentage and 8 RBI in his past 9 games and just had a 10-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday.
Mets: As first baseman Lucas Duda cooled, center fielder Curtis Granderson caught fire. In his past 10 games, Granderson has 3 homers, 10 RBI, 7 runs scored and a .513 slugging percentage. Remember, incoming slugger Yoenis Cespedes didn't hit his first homer for New York until Wednesday.