Sunday, May 12, 2013

Major League Baseball - One Month Into The Season

Here it is nearing the middle of May already and the Major League Baseball season is six weeks in and there have been surprises all around the league.
Starting with the New York Yankees, which has been perhaps one of the biggest surprise success stories so far this year.
Yes, that is correct ... The New York Yankees have OVER achieved through the first 35 games they have played in.
Consider they have not had half of their regular lineup this season and have been led by the likes of Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and soon to be 41-year old Andy Pettitte as their top starting pitchers. Throw in Mariano Rivera (43 years old and coming off major knee surgery a year ago) as the closer and you have to be scratching your head.
No Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson or Mark Teixeira in the lineup and this team, with the likes of aging re-treads such as Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis (who is currently injured) still has been able to compile a 22-13 record which has them in FIRST PLACE in the rugged American League East.
The Boston Red Sox, a team supposedly in  "rebuilding" mode this year, has been raising eyebrows as well.  The Bosox are just one game back of their nemesis in the AL East and have been getting lights out pitching from Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey so far. But, they have closer problems once again as Joel Hanrahan has been lost for the season with arm trouble and Andrew Bailey (who was out last year) is also on the disabled list.
On the other side of the coin, the Toronto Blue Jays, which tons of so called baseball experts had winning the AL East, are in the basement, 9 1/2 games behind the Yankees with a dismal 14-24 record.
The Jays were supposed to challenge the Yankees for the division crown after picking up pitchers Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey along with infielder Jose Reyes and outfielder Melky Cabrera. But Reyes is out until the All-Star Break (at the earliest) and Dickey and Buehrle have struggled mightily so far in the 2013 season.
The Los Angeles teams, the Dodgers and Angels, both have been stuck in low gear so far after adding star power to their rosters last winter. Big factors in the LA teams struggles have been Matt Kemp for the Dodgers and Josh Hamilton for the 'Halos. Kemp has been harnessed with injuries and Hamilton has yet to get it going at the plate.
The Dodgers are in last place in the National League West (14-21 record) and the Angels are 14-22 and nine games behind AL West leading Texas.
Other surprises have been the St. Louis Cardinals leading ALL of baseball with a 23-12 mark and starting to show signs of running away with the National League Central division. Their pitching has been stellar and they have been getting consistent hitting to open up a three game cushion on the Cincinnati Reds.
Colorado has been flaming out lately but they are still within striking distance of the first place San Francisco Giants in the NL West after a hot start. The Rockies have indeed been a pleasant surprise.
Back to the American League where the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins have been playing solid baseball through the first six weeks and both are within three games of the mighty Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
So far it has been an interesting ride in Major League Baseball, but as the quarter pole nears and the teams continue to settle in, look for some of the current bottom feeders to rise up and make some noise and for some of the top surprises to start to fade as things "even out" this summer.

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