The MLB season is a month old. Let’s take a look around the league.
Red Sox and the AL East
After a slow start, the Boston Red Sox have gone 12-13 and taken over first in the AL East. That record includes sweeps of Baltimore, Minnesota and the New York Yankees. The Red Sox beat the Yanks every which way, including hammering them, in extra innings and simple eking out runs. Once again for the Yanks, their biggest problem resides in their pitching staff. Their other problem is associated with the age of the club. Most of these guys are injury prone. Nothing seems to be working for the Tampa Bay Rays. They are bedeviled.
Detroit Tigers and the AL Central
Okay, I am surprised. (To a degree, that is.) I knew this would be a tough division to call, but I’m surprised, even at this early date, that the Tigers are tied with the White Sox and Royals for first. The Twins at 11-11 are just one-half game behind. Believe it or not, if the Royals can keep pitching the way they are and start scoring a few more runs, they could take it all. Their pitching staff has been lights out and Zack Greinke has simply been scary good. Closer Joakim Soria has proven to be tough to beat.
Rangers and the AL West
The Texas Rangers are once again scoring a bunch of runs and once again giving up a bunch. Right now they are second the their division with the Seattle Mariners leading the AL West. Where are the Los Angeles Angels? They have been struggling and sit in third with a 9-11 record. Their pitching staff is finding it rough going. If they can’t get on target, look for the Rangers to be in the post season.
Philadelphia and the NL East
After a slow start, the Phillies are starting to win, going 7-3 over their last 10. But the pitching staff has not been sharp in month one. Injuries to superstar closer Lidge and starter Hamels have not helped. The pitching staff is 16th in the NL in ERA and 15th in BAA. The Marlins are on top by one-half game. Will they flounder? Probably. What about the Mets? I didn’t like them much a month ago and still don’t. The Braves could be a surprise team (at least to me). Manager Bobby Cox knows how to get as much as he can out of every player and situation.
Cubs and Brewers and the NL Central
How about those Cubs? Well how about them? The pitching staff is shutting down teams. But the Chicago hitters are simultaneously being shut down. The same is true about the Milwaukee Brewers. Right now both stand at about .500. It’s clear they are going to have to get it together soon. You see the St. Louis Cardinals top the league and are putting up runs like crazy, scoring 32 more than their opponents. Their RS/RA average stands at plus-1.45. Much better than what the Cubs and Brewers are doing as their RS/RA average is at minus-0.045. There’s good news for the Brewers. Over the past two weeks, they seem to have found their stride. The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff has been phenomenal up to this point. If they can bottle their mojo, they’ll keep the club in the hunt.
Dodgers and the NL West
Los Angels is on top of their division for two reasons—pitching and hitting. The fact is that they are doing both well. They are the only team in the NL West that is in the plus category when it comes to RS/RA. They have a healthy RS/RA of plus-32, making them tied for first in that area with the Cards, Jays and Red Sox. If the Giants can find from run scoring, they could be a true contender. Their pitching staff is third in ERA and fifth in BAA.
That’s a quick recap. Teams that look like they will be on life support sooner than later include Washington and Houston. Even with decent pitching, there seems to be no run support. Baltimore has no pitching and they will be at the bottom by the end of the season. The Rays need to get it together quickly. The Twins are also looking scary with a RS/RA of minus-23.