The baseball season is so long that you have to break it up and this is the first mile post the quarter mark of the season around 40 games. Quick glance around the league has the Yankees and Rays neck and neck in the AL East, Kansas City has a couple game lead in the AL Central, big surprise out West in the AL as Houston is in first place and is sporting a five game lead. The NL has Nationals and Mets close a top the East, with St. Louis as normal atop the central with a few game lead over the Cubs, and the West the Dodgers in first with the Giants just a couple of games back.
The biggest surprise is not that the Astros are in first place, but that they have the biggest lead of any team in first place and that Oakland with their great pitching are in last place and the farthest out of first place. LA Angels, Seattle and Texas round out 2, 3, and 4 in the division and are bunched up separated by just three games between second and fourth place. In the Central the Tigers jumped out to a big league, but have since been caught and passed by Kansas City by a couple of games. Minnesota has gotten better as the weather has gotten and are just a few games back, however that’s it as Chicago and Cleveland have stumbled out of the game finding themselves seven and nine games back respectfully, but don’t count them out just yet with quality pitching and a lot of season left to go. The East is interesting as it was wide open when the season started and still is as first place Tampa Bay and last place Toronto are separated by just five games with the Yankees nipping at the heels of the Rays, Baltimore three games back and the Red Sox three and a half back so truly anyone’d division. Still all teams are alive for the playoffs and the teams that are a good amount back have made runs before and have the pitch and the time right now to make their moves.
The National League is a little more cut and dry as it is half the league (seven teams) within 3.5 games of first place while the other half (eight teams) are all at least five games out and as many as 12.5 games out. NL East had a big surprise with the Mets jumping out to a big lead early and the Nationals struggling and both was for the same reason was cause of pitching as the Mets rode that pitching and the Nationals have great pitching and got it, but no hitting. Both have come back to each other and will battle all season as they will get the quality pitching it is up to the hitting that will separate one from another and take the division crown.
They won’t be alone Atlanta is just a few games back and are always one to make runs at the division. In the Central it is old reliable Cardinals sitting on their perch atop the division, but things are going to be a little tougher this season without their ace Adam Wainwright who is out for the season with a knee injury. The Cubs are the ones that will be putting pressure as they are just a few games back and have some solid pitching and good young hitters and the only question mark is will it old up through the dog days of summer and through the September push. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are eight games back, but have what it takes to make a push in the last 120ish games between pitching and hitting. Pittsburgh has the better chance, but both teams need to start chipping away now to give them more of a chance in the second half of the season. The NL West is a little bit of a classic that started in New York many years ago and continued out West as the Dodgers and Giants are separated by a couple games and will be as such all season as they have the arms and bats and play solid not to go into extended slumps. San Diego and Arizona are five games back and could make some sort of push especially San Diego with solid pitching and a few good bats, but it is more likely they will be competing for a wild card than the division. Colorado is eight games back and might start moving pieces like Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. The West with Dodgers and Giants and the Central with Cardinals and Cubs will have classic rivalries fighting throughout the summer and new rivals in Nationals and Mets with the same all three divisions should be good watching,
In both leagues and all six divisions it will be the teams that are their right now and playing well to be there come the end of the season it doesn’t seem like any team will make their big push like in years past as for the first time in a long time it seems like the league is divided into top and bottom with no middle ground for a team to be down now but forge throughout the summer and emerge as a division winner or wild card team. Jumping out to a quick start is vital to allow for lulls or 2-5 road trips as a cushions. Until the midway point enjoy the action!
Written by Frank Jordan of VegasTopDogs.