- 05/28/2012, 11:54PM ET
Usain Colt said 05/28, 11:54 PM
So far, here are your division leaders: Orioles/Rays, Indians, Rangers, Natinals, Reds, and Dodgers.
For this year, I think that the team that will most hold onto their division lead HAS to be the LA Dodgers. This team not only lacks divisional competition, but they have the NL MVP favorite Matt Kemp coming back, pitching that has allowed the second-fewest runs in the Majors, and something that they didnt have last year, solid grounds with owners, coaches, and the team themselves. This Dodger team can run away with the division.
The team that I hate to assume falls is the Baltimore Orioles. This division could very well have 3 out of 5 teams in the playoffs. The Blue Jays have dynamic pitching, the Rays have the coaching and the power to contend, the Yanks can fire up the offense at any time and outscore nearly anyone, and the Sox have the talent to throw kinks into any plans the Orioles have. The fighting showalters do not have the pitching that can last a full 162 games. I mean can Jim Johnson and Adam Jones continue at this pace? We've seen Matt Wieters be in a slump lately and their fan base always leaves in August when the Orioles aren't im contention which impacts them
C-C-C said 05/29, 07:11 PM
Obviously the O's have to be the choice of least likely. They are simply the worst team in the best division in baseball. No way in hell they hold onto first at the All Star break, let alone all year. Honorable mention to Cleveland who just doesn't have the arms to beat out both Chicago and Detroit in the long run.
The Dodgers certainly have gotten off to a great start, but the Giants aren't going away. Right now the major difference between them in the standings can be linked to Lincecum's struggles. That's not likely to continue (linked to a blister) and those two teams should be in a dog fight until seasons end.
The team most likely to retain their division position has to the the Texas Rangers. Possibly the most complete team in all of baseball, the two time defending American League Champ looks to be as good as ever and tends to hit even better as the temperatures rise.
Oakland and Seattle pose no threat what so ever to win that division, leaving only the .500 Angels to challenge the Rangers. The Rangers have fewer question marks than the Angels and the recent success and experience to maintain their lead for the long haul.
Usain Colt said 05/29, 11:15 PM
The Rangers have several questions surrounding them as well. What happens to the stability of their pitching staff that's already fairly inconsistent towards the end of the rotation in the heat of the summer? What happens to Yu in August when the temperature inside of the ballpark is over 100? With Pujols heating up, Trumbo bringing the power, and their bullpen settling down, the Angels are poised to continue their win streak and start eating into that Texas lead, especially if Roy Oswalt is a bust.
The Dodgers success comes from their balanced pitching and hitting. Chris Capuano leads the team in wins with 7 and he's not even considered their ace! The Dodgers pitching has posted 31 quality starts (Texas has 28) out of 48 games (64.5%) and the highest ERA of anyone on the starting rotation is 4.31, Texas' is 4.66. The Rangers are a few shaky Darvish outings away from losing that 6.5 game lead. The Angels are a far better team than the Giants. How can the giants threaten when they are 19th in Runs and 20th in Slugging percentage? The Dodgers have maintained their lead even with the 2nd best player in the majors on the DL for two weeks. Andre Eithier has really stepped up too.
C-C-C said 05/30, 06:53 PM
That's a whole lot of "if's". Of course nothing can be known with certainty. There are solid reasons for prediction, however.
Jered Weaver was just placed on the disabled list with an inflamed disc, an indication of a serious back problem. Cause is unknown. Return is uncertain. Without Weaver, one of the top 2 or 3 pitcher in the A.L., the Angels already slim odds of coming back become exponentially longer.
You are comparing ERA of individual starting pitchers between the Dodgers and Rangers? That's silly. The Dodgers are 2nd in MLB ERA, Texas is 4th (1st in AL) Adjust for league and Park differences and the Rangers pitching has been BETTER than the Dodgers.
Texas - 283 (1st in MLB by a WIDE margin)
Angels - 194 (23rd in MLB)
Texas - .287 (1st)
Angels - .252 (15th)
The Angels are far more dependent on their pitching than Texas is, and the Rangers didn't just lose their ace indefinitely.
The Angels are definitely NOT "a far better team than the Giants". The Giants have a better record, have allowed fewer runs, and have scored more run than the Angels. Calling LA "far better" is wishful thinking devoid of evidence.
Usain Colt said 05/31, 06:04 PM
Let's look at the schedules since a division lead can be during in a series of hard games. It's obvious that the American League is more supreme than the National League. With 8 great teams all in one league, the schedule gets extremely difficult, quick. For three weeks in July/August, the Rangers play several powerful teams: @Angels, vs Boston, vs CWS, vs Angels, @ Boston, vs Detroit,@NYY, @Tor. The only break they get in that stretch is 3 vs KC. Even if they go .500, which could be difficult, they may still lose a couple of games to LA who are playing teams like KC, Oak, Seattle, and Cle in this stretch.
With the Dodgers, they will play teams like SD, Colorado, and the Cubs. The Dodgers are 21-8 at home! Their rotation is very strong and their unity is fantastic. People don't consider the Dodgers a power team, yet they are 4th in BA, 3rd in OBP, and 10th in Slug %. Mix this in with their 2nd lowest Opp BA, 2nd lowest ERA and youve got a more complete team.
I hate to point this out, but you're supporting a team that gave up 31 runs to Seattle in 2 games at home! 14% of Seattle's runs for the year were scored in two games! A team with the 5th worst BA in the majors. Go Dodgers
C-C-C said 05/31, 06:56 PM
Sorry, but the whole schedule thing is useless when arguing division winners. See...it doesn't matter to the Rangers who the Dodgers are playing. The Rangers play the same basic schedule as the Angels rendering the schedule argument completely meaningless. The Giants get to play all of those crappy teams too, eliminating the Dodgers "advantage".
Yes, the Rangers lost a couple of blowouts...they should just forfeit the season now! I find it amusing that you praise the Dodgers offensive prowess and completely dismiss Seattle. How about the only offensive stat that matters?
Dodgers - 219
Mariners - 218
Angels - 199
Rangers - 291
The truth is the Dodgers have been playing over their heads and have combined that with a little luck to get off to the great start. They are a very good team, but so are the Giants. Texas is GREAT, the Angels are not.
Any way you slice it, the Rangers are a better team than the Dodgers, making it that much more difficult to catch them. Add in that the Giants are at least equal to the Angels and it's clear that Texas is the team most likely to retain their division lead at the end of the season.
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