(BaseballStL)-- The suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball to 13 players for their involvement with the Biogenesis clinic comes at a time when the pennant race is just heating up.
Most teams have about 50 games left to play, and having a key player suspended could be the difference in missing out on a playoff spot or winning the World Series.
But despite the long list of players suspended, the pennant races aren't likely to be significantly affected.
Alex Rodriguez is expected to continue playing while his appeal is heard, but A-Rod's Yankees appears to be going nowhere this year.
They're 9 1/2 games out of first in the difficult A.L. East. Ryan Braun's Milwaukee Brewers were already out of the race in the N.L. Central when he accepted his suspension.
The team hurt the worst is the Texas Rangers. They're losing All-Star Nelson Cruz for the rest of the season. The Rangers, already struggling to generate offense, are currently 2 1/2 games behind Oakland in the A.L. West and now must find a middle of the order replacement for Cruz.
Beyond Cruz, though, there should be a minimal impact around the league.
Detroit is losing Jhonny Peralta, a solid shortstop, but the Tigers have already traded for his replacement in Jose Iglesias. The Padres are losing shortstop Everth Cabrera, but San Diego is ten games out of first in the N.L. West and not likely to be a threat to the Dodgers.
None of the other players involved should affect the pennant races much at all. Francisco Cervelli of the Yankees is currently on the disabled list. The Phillies are out of the race, so the lost of reliever Anthony Bastardo is somewhat insignificant. Jordany Valespin, Jesus Montero, Cesar Puello, Sergio Escalona and Fernando Martinez are in the minor leagues now. Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norbe are free agents.
The Cardinals shouldn't be impacted at all by the suspensions. They still have nine games to play against the Braun-less Brewers, but the other contending teams in the N.L. Central have similar schedules.
If Andrew McCutcheon and Joey Votto had been suspended that would have been a game changer. But those two, and the rest of the players on the Pirates and the Reds, are clean. Well, at least they didn't test positive to anything or get caught up in the Biogenesis mess.
So the Cardinals path to winning the Central division title remains largely unaffected by the suspensions.