MLB Playoff Race: Veterans Who Need to Step Up in Final Week

Jared Porter@@JaredPorter_BRCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2013

With just a week left in the MLB regular season, teams are scrambling for inclusion in this year's postseason. 

But which veteran players will step up for their respective teams in the playoff race?

Some veteran players like Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre have performed exceptionally throughout the year and have helped their team get to where they are now.

Other veteran players such as Cleveland Indians' Jason Giambi have not performed up to expectation and are looking to improve upon their struggles to help their team clinch a postseason berth. 

These are four veteran players that need to step up in the final week of the regular season to help their teams in the playoff race. 

 

Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees

Ichiro Suzuki has an average batting percentage of .260 along with seven home runs and 35 RBI this season; and in the last seven days, Suzuki has gone just 2-for-15 at the plate, per ESPN.com.

Suzuki and the Yankees are a long shot from clinching an AL Wild Card berth. With just six games left in the regular season, the Yankees four games back of the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot; and they will need plenty help from Suzuki at the plate, as well as a few complete collapses from teams ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. 

If anything, Suzuki's performance this season has hindered the Yankees. But if they are to have any shot at making a dramatic comeback, Suzuki will have to improve upon his dismal season performance in the final week of the regular season. 

 

Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

Adrian Beltre has had a monster season at the plate for the Rangers. He currently leads the team in batting average (.318), home runs (28), RBI (88), on-base percentage (.374) and total hits (192), per ESPN.com

Adrian Beltre curshing the ball this month for @Rangers , a .406 BA keyed by great numbers vs inside pitches pic.twitter.com/4efD5p22EC

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 21, 2013

Beltre and the Rangers are 1.5 games back in the second AL Wild Card spot, with seven games left in the season which are all at home. 

The Rangers will be counting on Beltre to continue his superb season performance in the final week. Despite having their postseason hopes out of their hands, the Rangers still have a solid chance of clinching a berth; and the hot bat of Beltre will only help their chance of obtaining that berth.

 

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman this season has a batting average of .283 along with 26 home runs and 77 RBI, per ESPN.com.

With eight years of experience in the MLB, Zimmerman will be the man the Nationals count on for contributing at the plate. 

Zimmerman has had a hot bat in the last seven days, with a batting average of .321, per ESPN.com. If this trend continues for Zimmerman, then the Nationals, who are five games back of Cincinnati in the NL Wild Card, will have a much better shot at slipping into the postseason.

 

Jason Giambi, Cleveland Indians

There was once a time when Jason Giambi was a viable threat at the plate, but that is not the case this season. 

The 18-year veteran this season has a batting average of .177 along with eight home runs and 29 RBI; and in the last seven days, Giambi is hitless in eight at-bats, per ESPN.com.  

Giambi and the Indians are setting pretty in the second place spot in the AL Wild Card, but a solid performance from Giambi at designated hitter could help solidify their positioning in the final week. 

Jason Giambi is 42 years, 202 days old. He's the oldest man EVER to hit a walk-off HR. Age is just a number...

— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) July 30, 2013

With an abundance of playoff experience in his career, Giambi can certainly help his team maintain their postseason berth in spite of his dismal season and aging body. 

The list of veteran players that need to step up in the final week of the season could go on. Players like Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler, Andrew McCutchen and others will do their best to keep their playoff hopes alive. 

If these veteran players want to avoid watching the postseason from their living rooms, then they will certainly have to contribute to their respective teams. 

Follow @JaredPorter_BR on Twitter.

 

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