First, the current standings:
|New York Yankees||32||22||.593||–||17-8||15-14||294||224||+70||L1||5-5|
|Boston Red Sox||31||25||.554||2||17-10||14-15||271||233||+38||W2||6-4|
|Tampa Bay Rays||29||30||.492||5.5||16-13||13-17||272||267||+5||L3||5-5|
|Toronto Blue Jays||28||29||.491||5.5||17-14||11-15||249||255||-6||W1||7-3|
|Chicago White Sox||24||31||.436||6||12-11||12-20||248||251||-3||L5||4-6|
|Kansas City Royals||24||31||.436||6||15-14||9-17||194||244||-50||L1||5-5|
|Los Angeles Angels||29||31||.483||13.5||18-12||11-19||243||259||-16||L1||4-6|
|New York Mets||24||31||.436||11||14-19||10-12||269||298||-29||L1||5-5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||26||28||.481||2.5||14-15||12-13||223||227||-4||L3||3-7|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||35||23||.603||0.5||21-8||14-15||283||199||+84||L1||7-3|
|San Diego Padres||23||35||.397||12.5||13-16||10-19||200||294||-94||L2||6-4|
|San Francisco Giants||23||35||.397||12.5||13-14||10-21||203||267||-64||L2||3-7|
The American League East is the closest division in baseball, with the Blue Jays in last place and only 5.5 games out of first place. We knew the AL East was going to be a dogfight all year and so far it has played out to our expectations. What was not expected was the strength of the Yankees this year. They are getting MVP level play from Aaron Judge who is already a lock to win Rookie of the Year. Matt Holiday and Brett Gardiner are also solidly contributing to a first place Yankee club. The Red Sox and Orioles are right on their heels though and the division is still up for grabs. The Orioles just went 4-3 in 7 games against the Sox and Yanks, showing that they still have some fight in them even though their starting pitching has been downright poor so far. Dylan Bundy has really been the only guy that they have counted on for quality innings. With the loss of All-Star closer Zach Britton, they have struggled with late leads. Once he returns from injury, look for the Orioles to vault back into first place.
Around the League
Out in Cali, Albert Pujols his his 600th career home run this weekend. He has put up Hall of Fame numbers throughout his career. Mike Trout hurt his wrist sliding head first into second base. I love playing the game hard, but headfirst slides are never worth the risk of injury. The Houston Astros are running away with the AL West, already leading the division by 13.5 games. I had a feeling they were going to be good, but I didn’t think they’d be this good. They are just demolishing their opponents with great pitching and studly hitting. Springer, Correa, Bregman, McCann, Gurriel, Altuve, they are just good. I think they are the favorite to win the American League right now at 1/4 of the way through the season. The Minnesota Twins are also staying hot, leading the AL Central right now with a 29-24 record. They were horrific last year, so this turn around is very surprising. However, with Paul Molitor at the helm, you had to expect that they would play better baseball. It’s good to see the Twins have a competitive team, there are some really good baseball fans up in Minneapolis and they deserve a good team to cheer for. Joe Mauer has also got to be happy after dealing with losing for most of his career.
Over in the National League East, the Nationals have basically already won that division. They are too good, and with all the injuries the Mets have suffered, there is no way that anyone is catching the Nats with the way they are pitching and hitting. Ryan Zimmerman is healthy again and is putting up MVP numbers. Throw in former MVP Bryce Harper and you have the two most potent bats in the NL back to back. That’s gotta be scary for any pitcher looking at that lineup. The NL Central is still the Cubs division to lose, but surprising Milwaukee and always tough St. Louis are hanging around. The Cubs really haven’t hit their stride yet, but they have too much talent to not win that division. It has been uncharacteristically cool so far this year, but the warm weather should be right around the corner, and once it heats up, expect to hear about hot stuff happening at Wrigley.
The Rockies are leading the shabby NL West, but they always get off to quick starts at Coors field and I still like the Dodgers in that division. They have a kid they just brought up, Cody Bellinger, who is just knocking the cover off the ball. He and Aaron Judge are must watch at-bats. Bellinger has a really quirky swing but he is so quick and just crushes balls. His swing reminds me of that of one of my all time favorite players, Will Clark. Will the Thrill was one of the best hitters of the 80’s for the San Francisco Giants. He was the MVP in 1989 when the Giants played the A’s in the Battle of the Bay World Series when there was an earthquake before game 1. He was a great hitter and this kid Bellinger looks like he is going to be a great one also.
That’s it for my baseball roundup for this week. I hope all of the Buffalo baseball fans out there are enjoying the season so far. The Bisons just had Star Wars night and it looked like this might have been the best Star Wars night ever. The stadium was packed and every kid had a light sabre and a huge smile on their face. This is an awesome event, and it’s great to see so many people out at the ballpark supporting the Bisons and Buffalo Baseball. I can’t wait for the next Friday Night Bash and for it to warm up for those Sunday day games we love so much in the Summer.
Hope you all had a great Memorial Day, Greek Festival and Pride weekend. We are gearing up to have our best summer yet. Next week is the Allentown Art Festival. Hope to see everyone out there.