Sunday, June 30, 2013
Major League Baseball - Halfway Home
So far (as in ALL baseball seasons) there have been surprises and expectations as the season unfolds. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the Boston Red Sox leading the American League Eastern division at this point in the season.
The Bosox were a mess last year, losing 93 games and finishing in the basement of baseball's best division.
Currently, they own the best record in the AL and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the second place Baltimore Orioles.
On the other end in the American League, the Los Angeles Angels have been perhaps the biggest disappointment in baseball, floundering around in third place in the AL West and being closer to the basement than first place.
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves lead the Eastern division with a 6 1/2 game cushion over the disappointing Washington Nationals, who are at .500 (40-40) and hoping to reignite the fire from a year ago when they rolled to the division title.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in all of baseball is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are atop the NL Central and have baseball's best record to this point at 50-30 and a one-game lead over the mighty St. Louis Cardinals.
Pittsburgh was considered a dark horse playoff contender coming out of spring training after showing promise last season before a late season fold. The Bucs are currently the hottest team in baseball and have an eight game winning streak going.
Individually, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (last season's MVP and triple crown winner) has been torrid once again, slugging 24 home runs and 81 RBI with a league best .375 batting average.
However, Baltimore's Chris Davis has been every bit as good as Cabrera halfway through the season, slugging out a MLB best 30 home runs to this point with 79 RBI and batting at a .333 clip.
On the pitcher's mound, nobody has been better than Detroit hurler Max Scherzer, who is 12-0 as well as being second in the American League with 131 strikeouts. In the NL, St. Louis has two 11-game winners so far with Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn doing their duty along with Jordan Zimmerman of Washington, who also has won eleven games.
Here is a capsule breakdown of the league at the midway point of the season . . .
Boston (49-34) - The biggest surprise in the American League without a doubt.
Baltimore (46-36) - The Orioles are working their magic once again this summer. Chris Davis dominating.
NY Yankees (42-38) - This team is old and injury riddled. Not looking good in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay (42-39) - The Rays have been treading water with a rash of injuries this summer.
Toronto (40-40) - Finding out that money may not buy a division title.
Detroit (43-36) - Cabrera and company in a struggle in division race so far. Max Schurzer dominating.
Cleveland (43-38) - Who are these guys? Hot and cold so far this summer, but in contention.
Kansas City (37-41) - About where they were expected to be at this point of season.
Minnesota (36-41) - See above comment.
Chicago White Sox (32-46) - One of the worst teams in baseball to this point.
Texas (47-34) - The Rangers just keep humming along.
Oakland (47-35) - Like the Orioles, the Athletics are weaving their own magic once again.
LA Angels (38-43) - Ouch!
Seattle (35-46) - This team should be doing better than they have been so far.
Houston (30-51) - Maybe, just maybe, the Astros can avoid 100 losses this year.
Atlanta (47-34) - The Braves are looking good so far.
Washington (40-40) - Hoping injuries to stars Harper and Strasburg are over with.
Philadelphia (39-43) - The Phillies are just happy to be where they are at this point.
NY Mets (33-44) - Right where they were expected to be.
Miami (28-51) - Baseball's worst team, but they are showing improvement.
Pittsburgh (50-30) - Baseball's BIGGEST surprise no doubt... The Bucs look like the real deal.
St. Louis (49-31) - The Cardinals will be right there come October.
Cincinnati (46-35) - Will the real Cincinnati Reds please stand up?
Chicago Cubs (34-45) - The Cubs are playing decent and may avoid the basement this year.
Milwaukee (32-47) - Scrap this season and just hope Ryan Braun can rebound next year.
Arizona (42-38) - The Diamondbacks lead baseball's most exciting division race at the halfway point.
Colorado (41-41) - Can the Rockies keep it going in the second half?
San Diego (40-41) - Looking like the team was expected to be so far.
San Francisco (38-42) - The 2012 World Series title is a distant memory, but team still in it.
LA Dodgers (37-43) - Can get hot in second half and win this crazy division.