MLB Season Update
Posted By:Brett Haynes, Tags:
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As we are roughly one quarter of the way through the baseball season, here is a quick look at the clubs that can start thinking about October and the clubs that can start thinking about saving face. Teams such as Toronto and St. Louis, among others, are thinking big. While teams such as Cleveland and Washington are watching the wheels fall off early...
The American League sees some familiar faces at the top. The Boston Red Sox, the team that has set the standard in the MLB the last few seasons, is just two games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the East, and would most-likely be in first place if not for the career worst slump of David "Big Papi" Ortiz at first base. Ortiz, usually one of the top bats in the game, left 12 men on base the other night, and has not had an extra base hit in 7 games. Boston is 5-5 in their last ten, and has lost three straight and 5 of 7 during Ortiz slump. The Jays, at 24-14, have the second best record in baseball. And as for those NY Yankees and the millions of dollars they dumped into this year's squad? Well the team is currently sitting at 18-17, 4.5 games back, while CC Sabathia is 3-3 with a 3.70 era and Mark Texiera is batting .213 with 7 home runs. The Yanks better find a spark, or they will be out of the mix by the All-Star game.
In the Central, the story has to be the Kansas City Royals. Usually bottom-dwellers, the Royals are tied with the Detroit Tigers for FIRST-PLACE after 36 games. I have been a huge Royals fan my whole life as I grew up cheering for my namesake, George Brett. To see this team doing well makes this season all the more interesting for me. KC has lost 6 of 10 though, and must not let a lead open up too large between themselves and Detroit. The Al Wild Card will most-likely be coming from the East, so KC must try to keep the Tigers within reach if they hope to make the postseason for the first time since 1985 (yes, 1985)...
In the West, the Texas Rangers and L.A. Angels appear to be the teams to watch. Texas has a 2.5 game lead as I type this, and have won 5 straight. The two teams play today at 4:00, the second game of a three game set. Texas won game one last night 10 to 8. The Angels cut a 7 run 9th inning lead to just two runs, and had the tying run on base before Texas finally closed them out. Josh Hamilton went deep last night for the Rangers, but just his third on the season.
Batting: Victor Martinez (CLE) .400, Miguel Cabrera (DET) .378, Adam Jones (BAL) .370
Home Runs: Carlos Pena (TB) 13, Ian Kinsler (TEX) 11, Evan Longoria (TB), Justin Morneau (MIN) 11
RBI: Evan Longoria (TB) 46, Jason Bay (BOS) 38, Aubrey Huff, Nick Markakis (BAL) 33
Wins: Zack Grienke (KC) 7, Roy Halladay (TOR) 7, Buerhle (CWS), Saunders (LAA), Slowey (MIN) 5
In the NL, the East and Central look like they are going to be heated battles, while out West the LA Dodgers look like they are going to run away with it. L.A. already has a 6 game lead over the league, and does not appear to be looking back. They have done all of this without the help of Manny Ramirez, who as everyone knows, is serving a 50 game suspension. In their last ten games, the club has gone 6-4 including winning their last three games.
The Central division battle looks like it is going to be a good one. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the top franchises in baseball, battling into the post-season nearly every fall. This year, after 35 games, they are again in first place, though tied with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew is also a strong team as of recent years, and this year are being led once again by Prince Fielder's bat. The two teams will be starting a big three-game series as this article goes up. They play today at 1:00 and also Sunday afternoon and Monday Night. And let's not forget about the Chicago Cubs. Under Manager Lou Piniella, the Cubs have become a true playoff worthy team the last few seasons. They currently sit just a half game back of the division leaders and are 7-3 in their last ten - playing very solid baseball. Do not be surprised if the Central supplies the Wild Card team, so you can probably pick two of these three teams to reach the playoffs.
In the East, my eyes are on my favorite team, the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have recently taken two of three from the division leading NY Mets, and won last night on a sac-fly in the tenth inning from SS Yunel Escobar. Atlanta is tied with the Philadelphia Phillies at 2 games back of NY and is in the middle of a series with Arizona right now. The Mets, who lost the East a year ago to the Phillies, have won two straght, and their only two losses in their last ten came at home to Atlanta this week. Philadelphia is playing the lowly Nationals this weekend, so they will have a chance to gain some ground and potentially try to slide into first place.
Batting Average: Christian Guzman (WSH) .377, Joey Votto (CIN) .373, Carlos Beltran (NYM) .370
Home Runs: Adrian Gonzalez (SD) 15, Albert Pujols (STL) 13, Adam Dunn (WSH) 11
RBI: Pujols (STL) 37, Jorge Cantu (FLA) 33, Prince Fielder (MIL) 32
Wins: B Arroyo (CIN), C Billingsley (LAD), T Lilly (CHC), Derek Lowe (ATL), S Martis (WSH) 5
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