Division Check Up #2

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Division Check Up – 5/13/12

It’s time for our second division check up for the MLB season.  There have definitely been a few shakeups in the standings, and some real surprises through the first 30+ games of the season:

1.    American League East

Current Standings:

Baltimore – 22-12

Tampa Bay – 20-14

New York – 19-14

Toronto – 19-15

Boston – 14-19

The Orioles continue to be a pleasantly shocking surprise in the A.L. East this season.  After getting out of the gate strong to start the year, most thought that the other teams in the division would pick things up sooner rather than later, and take their normal spots at the top of the division.  Yet here we are through 34 games, and it’s the Orioles who are still on top.  They’ve been flip-flopping with Tampa Bay for a while, but after the current series out in Baltimore, the Orioles have taken a two-game lead in the division.  It’s nice to see a team other than the Yankees or Red Sox leading the division for long this season.

Speaking of both of those teams, the Yankees have fallen from second in the division to third, as the Rays continue to be a great team that just does everything right.  The Yankees have dropped a little bit in the division rankings, but that team is still just one good week away from bouncing back to the top of the division.  They may have their hands full with the Rays and Orioles though.  As for Boston, I hope that their ownership is starting to realize that Theo Epstein and Terry Francona weren’t the problem with last year’s collapse.  Perhaps they should be looking to release some of these so-called “professionals” that are playing for the team, instead.

2.    American League Central

 Current Standings:

Cleveland – 18-15

Detroit – 16-17

Chicago – 16-18

Kansas City – 12-20

Minnesota – 9-24

As a Detroit fan, a losing record this far into the season is disappointing.  But it’s also not the end of the world.  Cleveland might be doing well to start the season right now, but they did the same last season, before falling off the map.  And, as the Indians and Tigers have yet to play this season, only those matchups will really tell which team will be at the top come season’s end.

Kansas City has improved dramatically since the last check up.  After going without a win at home through the first 13 games, they’ve managed to overtake the Twins, and have started to put together a few wins.  If they continue to play well, they may even stand a chance of making it to the top of the division.  The Twins, on the other hand, are pretty much out of things (barring a true miracle).  They have won four games in the last 19.  That’s not the recipe for success.  Granted, it’s a long season still.  But things aren’t looking well for the Twins this season.

3.    American League West

Current Standings:

Texas – 22-12

Oakland – 18-16

Los Angeles – 15-19

Seattle – 15-20

At long last the Angels have pulled themselves from last place.  Although, that’s not saying much, as they’re still seven games out of first place.  The Rangers just cannot be stopped this season, it would seem.  Josh Hamilton is on a tear that hasn’t been seen since Barry Bonds in 2001 and Mark McGwire in 1998.  Hamilton has 18 home runs through 34 games.  That means there is a lot of time left for him to just destroy the American League.  It’s early, but there is already talk of an A.L. Triple Crown.  With any luck, he’ll slow down as the season progresses, but the Rangers’ ballpark in Arlington is known for having balls fly out of it.  So, with a lot of home games left, Hamilton is looking to put up some godly numbers in 2012.  (Good thing, too, because he becomes a free agent after this season.)

Oakland made a midseason addition to their roster by picking up Brandon Inge after he was released by the Tigers.  It would seem that the change of scenery has done Brandon some good thus far, because his average has finally gone back up to its career level, and he’s hitting homeruns like they’re going out of style.  (Of course, Brandon did hurt his groin again, so he may whine and end up on the DL again.)  But it would seem like that addition (as odd as it is) may have been just the spark that the Athletics needed to at least stay in the race for the division.  They’re still four games behind the Rangers, but they’re only four games behind the Rangers.  That’s impressive, no matter what anyone else thinks, right now.

4.    National League East

Current Standings:

Washington – 21-12

Atlanta – 21-13

New York – 19-14

Miami – 17-16

Philadelphia – 15-19

Which team is a bigger surprise this far into the season: Baltimore or Washington?  If anyone would have said that the Nationals would be at the top of their division this far into the season, I wouldn’t have believed it.  So bravo to the Nats for keeping it together this long.  Like Baltimore, however, it’s hard to believe that the Nationals will be able to keep up this kind of run for the entire season.  The Braves are already making their own comeback, and the Phillies will get some of their injured players back before it’s all said and done.  So it’s still too early to tell how this division will shape up.

5.    National League Central

Current Standings:

St. Louis – 20-13

Cincinnati – 16-16

Houston – 15-18

Milwaukee – 15-18

Pittsburgh – 15-18

Chicago – 13-20

There was a fan poll question on TV during a game the other day that asked “Which of these players had the most impact on their team last season?”  Albert Pujols was one of the options…and it’s pretty clear that anyone who picked him as having the most impact was completely wrong.  The Cardinals have taken command of their division, and none of that had to do with Pujols (obviously).  It’s going to be tough to overtake them this year.

Houston, Pittsburgh, and Chicago need to take advantage of the poor luck that the Brewers are having.  Injury after injury has sent down Brewers, and if any other team wants to make sure they stand a chance of coming out on top, they need to pull away now.  Fielder was a big part of the Brewers’ offense last year, but he wasn’t everything, and that team will put things together when they’ve got the whole team healthy.

6.    National League West

Current Standings:

Los Angeles – 22-11

San Francisco -16-17

Arizona – 15-19

Colorado – 13-19

San Diego – 12-22

Apparently all the Dodgers needed was a change in ownership to start doing wonderful things out west.  Of course, having Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw on your team helps too.  After the terrific year the Diamondbacks had last year, they’re struggling a little bit the first part of this season.  The Giants have slowly but surely climbed their way back into the division race, but with the baseball that the Dodgers are playing right now, it’ll be hard to overcome a six-game deficit.

It’s a long season, and there’s still plenty of games to go.  But the divisions are starting to take shape, at least with who will be competing hard for the top spots come season’s end.  A lot of the strong teams are starting to make plays for the top spots, and only time will tell if the Cinderella stories can continue their magical runs.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Tweet us @BVTSB.

One response

  1. Pingback: New Content Added: Week of May 13th | beforevisitingthesportsbook

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