So far we have seen some interesting things come out of this season. Many players have lived up to expectations, while others have lived well below the fans expectations.
First let's start off with standings. Most of the standings are jumbled up in no way you would have thought it.
AL East - At the top is the Boston Red Sox, not really a surprise there, but what is a surprise is the rest of the group. We all knew Tampa Bay was supposed to be better this year then in previous years, but who thought they would be just 2.5 games back of the Red Sox at 7 games over .500? Next in the standings is the Baltimore Orioles of all teams. This team was supposed to be one of the worst in the league this season, and yet they are managing, in fact, they are 2 games above .500. and only 5 games out of the lead. Then you have Toronto even at 24-25 in 4th followed by the team with the highest payroll in the Bigs, the New York Yankees, at 22-25, 7.5 games out of first.
AL Central - Pretty much this whole division is in it except for one team right now, and that one team is the Royals right? Wrong, in fact, dead wrong. The team that is in last is the Detroit Tigers with a record of 20-27. This team was supposed to be one of those teams that could reach the 100 win mark - to do that they would have to go 80-35 the rest of the way, highly unlikely. The White Sox are the real positive surprise this year in the division. They are in first with a record of 26-20; impressive for a team that wasn't supposed to be very good this year.
AL West - Everything in this division is in order, except for one part, the Seattle Mariners. They were supposed to contend with the Angels for first place, yet 48 games into their season they are in last place by 9.5 games with a dismal record of 18-30. Oakland is a bit of a surprise with a record above .500, something I think will be tough to continue with such an inexperienced team.
NL East - This division is all messed up. Wasn't this supposed to be a two-way race between the Mets and the Phillies. Well its not. In fact, your division leader going into today is the Florida Marlins, one of the youngest (and most inexperienced) teams in the league. At 27-19, they are 1.5 games up on the Braves and Phillies, while the Mets are 4.5 games back with a 22-23 record. The Nats are in last place 8 games out.
NL Central - Let me start off by saying I hate this division because it has too many damn teams. The Cubs in first aren't much of a surprise, but what is a surprise is the impressiveness of the Cardinals and Astros. They are 7 and 5 games above .500 respectively. Another surprise in the division is the Brew Crew from Milwaukee, at 22-25 they are in 4th place 6.5 games out of first. At least their city can make good Beer still!
NL West - The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are playing to par, but the rest of the division is making what was supposed to be a jam-packed division race somewhat uneventful. Colorado hasn't played well and so they find themselves 11 games under .500 and 10 games out of first. I am not surprised that San Francisco is 19-29, but I am surprised that they aren't in last place. That belongs to the San Diego Padres, home of the worst record in baseball. At 18-31, the Padres find themselves in a 11 game hole, way too early in the season. Things are only going to get worse for them as Peavy will have to sit a game or more with and injury.
Onto the Pitchers
Good Surprises - Yeh, yeh, we all know that Brandon Webb is good, but to think that he has 9 wins through less then 50 games. Another healthy surprise, is Dice-K, he has had some problems with his control, but he is still managing to win games and he is now 8-0. Two other surprises are the two kings in terms of ERA so far. Edison Volquez of the Reds and Cliff Lee of the Indians are 1, 2 in ERA. Through 9 starts Volquez is 7-1 with a 1.33 ERA, while Lee is 6-1 with a 1.37 ERA through 8 starts. So far, the best pitcher so far in my opinion is the young Tim Lincecum. In 9 starts he is 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 69 strikeouts, pretty impressive when your playing with a bad team. My surprise for Closers has to be George Sherrill of the O's. He is second in the league in saves with 17 saves in 19 opportunities.
Bad Surprises - Barry Zito and Justin Verlander about sum it up in terms of your loss leaders. Barry Zito has made 9 starts, and through those games, he is 0-8. Justin Verlander has a 2-7 record through 10 starts, not much better. It will be interesting to see if either of these guys can find their stuff, and hopefully for their teams, soon. So far you might not be surprised to find that Eric Gagne is only 10 for 15 in save opportunities, but you might be surprised to learn that Jason Isringhausen is 11-17 in save opportunities with an ERA sitting at 8.00 with a 1-5 record.
To the Offensive Side of Things
Good Surprises - Chipper Jones and Lance Berkman are just lighting up pitchers left and right. Jones is hitting .412 with 12 HRs and 35 RBIs while Berkman is at .388 with 16 HRs and 45 RBIs. One of the more pleasant surprises is the rise of Josh Hamilton down in Texas. Hamilton is now hitting .335 with 12 HRs and 53 RBIs. Hamilton, and believe it or not, that puts him on pace for 171 RBIs! Nate McLouth of the Pirates has also been a good surprise with 12 HRs, 36 RBIs and a .314 average.
Bad Surprises - How about Ryan Howard for a start, he has 13 big flies and 31 RBIs, but to go with that, he also is only batting .207 with 71 strikeouts. 71 Ks is 12 more strikeouts then anyone else in the league. Andruw Jones is struggling for the second straight year. With only 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, 44 K's, and a .167 BA, he could have yet another rough season.
Well that's all I have to say, please leave comments below, thanks!
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