Division Check Up #3

*For more work by Zig-Zag, check out STRENGTH IN WRITING and A HERO’S JOURNEY*

Division Check Up – 6/9/12

It’s June 9, and with teams having played nearly 60 games, we are officially more than a third of the way through the baseball season.  Some divisions are starting to shake out, while others couldn’t be closer if they tried.  But that doesn’t mean that things can’t change drastically, because there is still a lot of baseball left this season.  Let’s look at where things are now, and how things could be shaping up as the season continues on.

1.    American League East

Current Standings:

Tampa Bay – 33-35

New York – 32-25

Baltimore – 32-26

Toronto – 30-28

Boston – 29-29

Baltimore has finally lost that top spot.  The Orioles have been continuing an amazing run this season, but recent series with Tampa Bay and Boston have given the Yankees and Rays the chance to overtake the Orioles at the top.  That’s not to say that Baltimore is suddenly out of the race, because one day puts them back at the top, tied with Tampa.  Boston is finally looking better, making it to .500 (at the expense of my Detroit Tigers).

This is one of those divisions that couldn’t be closer, but is also starting to shape up.  As wonderful as it’s been for Baltimore to be at the top of the heap for more than a third of the season, the Yankees are too good not to be at or near the top sooner or later.  And it looks like it’s finally starting.  But, again, when the top and bottom of the division are separated by four games, a single week can totally shake up the entire look of things.

2.    American League Central

Current Standings:

Chicago – 32-26

Cleveland – 31-26

Detroit – 26-32

Kansas City – 24-32

Minnesota – 23-34

Chicago has been on a tear lately.  They have really come alive again in a season where many (except me) said they were still rebuilding.  No one seemed to expect Adam Dunn to come alive like he has.  Paul Konerko looks a little reenergized, too.  This team is really clicking on all cylinders right now, and deserves to be at the top.  Cleveland, too, is playing very well right now, jockeying for first with the White Sox.

The biggest disappointment, of course, is the Detroit Tigers.  It’s worth remembering that the Tigers never set any expectations for the team, other than just playing its best and doing whatever it could to win.  The media set the lofty expectations that fans are so angry about right now.  Granted, I too am upset that every day seems to bring another loss.  But there’s too much time left in the season to start panicking yet.  Unless of course you’re the Detroit media, in which case now is the appropriate time to initiate  panic riot from the fanbase.

3.    American League West

Current Standings:

Texas – 34-25

Los Angeles – 30-29

Oakland – 27-33

Seattle – 26-33

The A.L. West is one of those divisions that is really shaping up.  Despite a slow start to the season, the Angels are back in the race out west.  They could not get it going, and now all of a sudden they’re only four games out of first place.  Luckily for them, the Rangers have slowed a little bit, giving everyone else a chance to catch up.  This division race is far from over, but at least the teams that should be on top finally are.

The question that’s really shaping up is what kind of year will Josh Hamilton have?  Hamilton’s on a tear in Arlington, and could put up ridiculous career numbers by season’s end.  Josh will be a free agent at the end of the season, and someone is going to throw amazing amounts of money at him.  Will it be Texas?  Will it be New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or some other team that’s shown a willingness to spend to win?  Only time will tell.  But in the meantime, Hamilton will use his amazing year to help the Rangers make a three-peat to the World Series.

4.    National League East

Current Standings:

Washington – 33-23

Atlanta – 33-25

New York – 32-27

Miami – 31-27

Philadelphia – 29-31

Unlike it A.L. East counterpart (the Orioles) Cinderella of the National League is still right at the top of the division.  Washington is really proving that they have the whole package this season, from pitching to offense to management.  They’ve got it all, and no matter how much Atlanta (and recently both New York and Miami) have picked it up in recent weeks, the Nationals are still holding tight to the lead.  But they’re going to have to remain at the top of their game for the rest of the season if they want to hold on.  Only three games separate the top four teams in the division, and a really good week for Philly makes it a brand new season.  The Phillies are going to need to really get it together, though.  With Halladay out for a while, the rest of the rotation will need to pick it up to make sure they stay competitive for the second third of the season.

5.    National League Central

Current Standings:

Cincinnati – 32-25

Pittsburgh – 30-27

St. Louis – 30-29

Milwaukee – 27-31

Houston – 25-33

Chicago – 19-39

After proving that they are in fact worthy of the World Champion title for most of the season, the Cardinals have fallen from grace.  The Reds have been playing fantastic baseball, with a bullpen that is easily one of the best (if not the best) right now.  It’s no surprise that the Reds are competing though.  Even though it seemed more likely that the Brewers compete for this division, the Reds have been way too obviously good this season to be anywhere but at the top.  The real surprise, though, is now close Pittsburgh is to being in first place.  The Pirates have been historically bad for nearly a decade, so to see such signs of life is absolutely amazing.  It’s always fun when teams that aren’t supposed to compete show up ready to play and win.

6.    National League West

Current Standings:

Los Angeles – 37-22

San Francisco – 33-26

Arizona – 28-30

Colorado – 24-33

San Diego – 19-40

The Dodgers and Giants are really the only teams left to compete in this division.  While the Diamondbacks could make a run with a decent couple of weeks, the top two in the division have pulled so far ahead that it’s going to be next to impossible for the Rockies and Padres to get back into things.  But at the top only four games separate the Dodgers and Giants.  That will be a race to the very end, and it seems like the Giants still stand the best chance of coming out on top.  After such a slow start, they’ve gotten this close to first place that it’s not going to take much more to put them over the edge.

So that’s how things have shaped up thus far.  There’s still a lot of season left to go, but things are really starting to fall in line.  Hopefully by the All-Star break some of these races will be all but over.  Only time will tell.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Tweet us @BVTSB.

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One response

  1. Pingback: New Content Added: Week of June 3rd | Before Visiting The Sportsbook

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