Myworld is holed up in Pittsburgh. Rain is called for tomorrow. It always rains in Pitsburgh when my world visits the steel city. One thing myworld has been amazed with is the number of defending division champs who are struggling to stay on top. Major league baseball is seeing some can’t misses who are missing and some don’t stand a chance on top of the standings taking the most of their early season chances. So before it all goes away as May turns to June we thought we’d better write about it now.
When we look at the AL East who would have thought that the team with the best record in major league baseball would be the Baltimore Orioles as the first week of May ends? Their bullpen has been so effective that even when Buck Showalter calls on a position player to pitch in relief, even he can come in and shutout the Red Sox for two innings. The Texas Rangers took care of that today with a rather convincing win over the Orioles and now are tied with the Orioles and Rays for the best record in baseball. The two traditional Eastern giants Yankees and Red Sox find themselves in the bottom two spots of the AL East, with the Red Sox four games under .500 and seven games back from the lead. They may need more than two wild card teams before they qualify for the playoffs.
In the American League Central the Detroit Tigers were a cinch to win the division. The Cleveland Indians have had something to say about that, increasing their lead over the Tigers to two games. The team that many thought could challenge the Tigers because of their superior prospects still have some learning to do. The no hitting Twins are the only team with a worse record than the Kansas City Royals, who may have to wait another year before they callenge the Tigers. Or Indians.
The Angels were supposed to challenge the Rangers for the AL West, but they find themselves at the bottom of the division. When your $200 million hitter goes 0 for April with the homerun bat and Ervin Santana goes to the mound five straight times without his team scoring a run, you know you are having some offensive problems. This should not be expected to last. The Rangers though are not waiting around, flying atop the division while sharing the best record in baseball. The Rangers are one of the rare favored teams doing as expected.
In the NL East the Phillies offense looks anemic, especially when you see they have turned to traditional number 8 hitter Carlos Ruiz to their number 5 spot. They find themselves at the bottom of the division with the up and coming Nationals a bit upset at them. If I’m the Phillies hitters I would prefer being hit by their pitchers rather than a rotation where all the pitchers can hit 95. The team to watch is the Miami Marlins, who are starting to catch their legs. Sometimes a team that signs a number of free agents just needs some time to play together before they start getting their legs.
The Milwaukee Brewers seem to miss Prince Fielder more than the Cardinals miss Albert Pujols. The Brewers find themselves near the bottom of the division while the Cardinals sit on top. The team to watch for are the Cincinnati Reds. Their pitching has the potential to be the best in the Central, only their band box of a stadium won’t allow their ERAs to recognize that.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have celebrated their extrication from Frank McCourt starting off with sharing the best record in the national league. Matt Kemp made a promise to have a 50/50 year and everyone thought he was joking, but he may approach those 50/50 numbers before the All Star break. Last year’s winners the Arizona Diamondbacks are under .500, something that is uniform with all of last year’s national league winners.