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    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

 The St. Louis Cardinals placed RHP Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list with shingles, on Monday and called up LHP Dean Kiekhefer from Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals, who had top prospect Alex Reyes start in Mike Leake's place on Saturday, had hoped to avoid placing Leake on the DL, but they also anticipated a quicker recovery. On Sunday, manager Mike Matheny noted that Leake was not progressing quickly.

Leake, who is 9-9 with a 4.56 ERA in 25 starts, is eligible to return on Sept. 6. This will be Kiekhefer's third stint with the team, and in 15 relief appearances, he's allowed seven runs and two walks over 14 innings, while recording 11 strikeouts.The Cardinals have had experience with shingles before.

Former manager Tony La Russa at that time being 66, had it near and around his eye and ear during the 2011 season and missed six games. Almost half of all shingles cases develop in people 60 years or older and is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus usually causes a painful rash with blisters on one side somebody's body.

Mike Matheny said, "The spot that he has is apparently very painful,", "…It could be one of those things that he bounces back from after he gets over a hump.". Which is what the Cardinals need right in the middle of a pennant race, the Cards will need all hands on deck to help them win a world championship.

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Final Four:

Thank you for voting, and please make sure to stay tuned to see which managers move onto the final round.

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Who is the favorite for the AL/NL wildcard spots?

Matt Carpenter (top left), Buster Posey (top right), Carlos Correa (bottom left), and David Ortiz (bottom right) headline the teams that will be playing in the wild card game this year

   The 2016 MLB Postseason is just 6 weeks away. ​In both leagues, there are 12 teams realistically fighting for a one game playoff spot. 7 of those teams from the American League, and 5 from the National League. These next couple of weeks will separate the pretenders from the contenders, but these 4 teams will be playing in the respective AL & NL wild card games this October. 


   It has been a tale of two different stories for each of these franchises this season. The Houston Astros came out of nowhere last season and saw themselves losing in game 5 of the ALDS. While the Boston Red Sox on the other hand, vastly underperformed and was near the bottom of the AL East standings. 

   This season, they both find themselves in the thick of the postseason picture. The Red Sox currently sit in second place in the AL East at 72-57. They are 1.5 up on the Baltimore Orioles in the wild card race. The Houston Astros, sit at 68-62 and are 3.0 games back of the Orioles for the second wild card. The Astros have a lot of ground to make up in about a month's time, but I believe they have what it takes to do it. 

   Houston started the season very very VERY slow out of the gate. For the first 6 weeks into the season, the Astros sat at the bottom of the AL East and many experts and fans alike began to question whether the 2015 Astros, were just a fluke. Dallas Keuchel wasn't his CY Young self and still really hasn't been all year long, Carlos Gomez and Evan Gattis vastly underperformed offensively, and their bullpen was a disaster as newly acquired closer Ken Giles had a hard time closing games. 

   With MVP like play of Jose Altuve, backed up with additions of rookies Alex Bregman and Youliesky Gurriel, and a highly powered offense that has carried this team all season, it will bring the Astros to their second straight postseason. It won't be easy however. The Astros only okay three series for the rest of the year with team's with a below .500 record. If their offense can stay high powered, and their bullpen stays in tact, the Astros will have a very good chance of making the postseason and going deep into it. 

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Altuve has been the backbone of a strong Houston offense

   The Red Sox have been off and running since day one of the season. With the emergence of 40 year old DH David "Big Papì" Ortiz, you can make an argument that the Red Sox have had the best offense in baseball this year. Two MVP candidates in Ortiz and Mookie Betts, along with their new trio of "Killer B's"(Bogaerts, Bradley, and Betts) have been the backbone of the team. While newly signed ace David Price has not been pitching up to expectations, other highly paid pitcher Rick Porcello and knuckle baller Steven Wright have been co-aces this year in the Red Sox rotation. With Price, Porcello, Wright, and Pomeranz as their first 4 in the rotation, they would be set for a nice long postseason run. 

   On paper the Sox don't really have too many holes on paper. There bullpen has had a very hard time staying healthy this season but have a very solid bullpen when they are healthy. I guess you could say if you avoid the top 5 hitters of the Red Sox order you should be okay. Consisting of Betts, Pedroia, Bogaerts, Ortiz, and Ramirez, opposing pitchers do not look forward to facing this lineup. 

   These two teams head to head would be a battle of the offenses to say the least. Dallas Keuchel would most likely start for the Astros, and David Price for the Red Sox. 

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Rising Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts has played like an MVP for a very good Red Sox team

   No matter how consistently good the Red Sox have been all season, the Astros would capitalize on Price's bad postseason history and win the AL Wild card game. 


   If this matchup were to happen, ​this would not be new for these two historic franchises. The last time these two teams met in a postseason series, it did not go the Cardinals way. They lost in the championship series TWICE to the Giants in 2012 and 2014. This season, however, the Giants and Cardinals both have had Freaky Friday like seasons. The Cardinals got off to a very slow start out of the gate, while the Giants were one of the hottest teams to start the season. Ever since the all star break, the Giants have had the worst record in the National League, while the Cardinals have owned the best record. 

   Let's start with the Giants. It is the even year for the Giants, so the baseball god's will be on their side this season. After signing Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardijza in the offseason, the Giants rotation should've been their strong point right? Well, you're kind of right. Bumgarner and Cueto are both in Cy Young conversation, Samardijza has been average at best, but the bottom half of th  rotation has been horrendous and very hurt. The Giants offense has been very solid. Most people around MLB look at the Giants as a pitching, pitching, and more pitching oriented team. Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and of course Buster Posey. Hunter Pence again has been sidelined by injuries which of course has hurt the Giants as of late, but as long as they have a healthy Pence for the postseason, that's all that matters. The defense has been good and the bullpen has been shaky with Santiago Castilla at the back end, but he's had a good amount of postseason experience. If the Giants can stay healthy, even during their current free fall, I believe they'll get into that one game wild card. 

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has once again carried the Giants into postseason conversation

   It's hard to imagine a postseason series with the name "St Louis Cardinals" not being mentioned in it. When the 2016 season first started, a lot of people, myself included, believed that they would not be there this year. After having very bad pitching from top to bottom, including their closer Trevor Rosenthal being removed from the closer's role, the Cardinals season seemed over. In another    Freaky Friday like scenario, the red birds offense has saved their season. Led by two of their newest acquisitions over the last few years Brandon Moss and Jed Gyrko, and new comers Stephen Piscotty and Alemdys Diaz, the Cardinals have swung their way back into postseason contention. If the Cards can find a way to figure out their struggling pitchers like Michael Wacha and Mike Leake, and keep a solid offense through the rest of the season, the Cardinals will be in the postseason. 

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Piscotty has carried the Cardinals offense all season long

​The Cardinals will most likely start Adam Wainwright against the Giants Madison Bumgarner. The Cardinals curse against the Giants will continue and the Madison Bumgarner will add to his postseason lore as the Giants beat the Cardinals. 

Thank you for reading guys! If you have your own thoughts on who is gonna make this year's post season please comment below! 

Follow me on Twitter for more baseball news: @real_rob2017

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