One month into the Major League Baseball season, there’s only so much you can actually glean from what’s happened up to this point, but a few things are clear: The Red Sox would struggle to compete in my men’s softball league, the Rangers lineup is stupid good, Bryce Harper probably has a substantially better sex life than most 19-year-olds and Jamie Moyer is growing more and more paranoid as he draws closer to receiving free senior citizen coffees at McDonalds.
But, even though we’re just one-sixth of the way through the schedule, there are some actual takeaway from baseball’s first month that should give us a clue as to how the summer is going to play out. Some are more obvious then others, but anybody who tells you that April is insignificant is crazier than Ozzie Guillen, and probably equally as offensive.
Therefore, as we cruise past the first week of May, I think it’s time for a two-parter. It’s been a while. Without further ado, in part one, I give you:
WHAT TO MAKE OF ALL 14 AMERICAN LEAGUE TEAMS
American League East
Baltimore Orioles - They’re better than we thought, namely because Adam Jones had decided to turn into the player everybody assumed he would become, Matt Wieters is finally hitting the ball hard and the team has gotten some good pitching from Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Jake Arietta. But they’re still the worst team in the division, although the Red Sox might give them a run for last place when it’s all said and done. Still, put it this way: When your hopes and dreams of staying in contention are based on the arm of some guy named “Chen,” then you’re not staying in contention. Just look at all Bruce Chen’s track record.
Tampa Bay Rays - They’re still as annoying as ever because they continue to win with guys like Reed Brignac hitting third, or something equally as dumb (I hate when Rays fans tell me Ben Zobrist is a legitimate No. 3 hitter. Just read that statement with a straight face. You can’t). But at the end of the day, they’re probably the best team in the division. Even with Matt Moore struggling, they’re still 19-10, and the starting pitching as a whole is just filthy, especially with David Price finally pitching like he’s supposed to.
Toronto Blue Jays - We all thought they could hit coming into the year, and now they don’t have a single player hitting above .300. On the other hand, we didn’t think they could pitch, and they have four starters with ERA’s of 3.64 or under. So what the hell does that mean? Uh, that they’ll start to hit better and pitch worse as the season wares on? I guess. This is one of the teams that is a little bit befuddling after the first month. They’re good…and maybe just good enough to stay in the hunt for that second Wild Card spot.
New York Yankees - They’re fine. At 15-13, sans Rivera, they’re still going to make the playoffs after ripping off 25 0f 29 during a stretch in June and July. They could have gone 0-23 in April and I would have penciled them in for a Wild Card berth. They’re one of the teams where April actually doesn’t matter, because they’re not going to miss the playoffs. I’d bet my grandmother on the Yankees playing baseball in October. Plus, perjurer Andy Pettitte will be joining the club in the near future. If he can’t help put one of the evilest men on the planet, Roger Clemens, behind bars, he can at least help the Evil Empire gear up for another run, I suppose.
Boston Red Sox - I hate this team. Hate isn’t a strong enough word. There are like three redeemable people in the entire organization, and two of them are bat boys. Read this if you want more, but I don’t have the energy to say anything else (Okay, maybe a few more things. After being cautiously optimistic to open the season, I actually think the team is going to win something like 80 games. Not only are they unlikable, but they just aren’t very good top to bottom. With the injuries in the outfield, there’s no offensive depth, and the pitching staff has picked up where it left off last September. It’s just a mess).
American League Central
Cleveland Indians - Much, much better than we gave them credit for in the off-season. They still aren’t better than the slow-starting Tigers, but Jason Kipnis looks like he can hit a baseball, and Asdrubal Cabrera – his unfortunate first name aside – is a star, even if nobody ever mentions him in that category because they’re scared that they’ll gross everybody out when they say his name. The pitching is a little bit scary, but I’m a Derek Lowe guy through and through, and Ubaldo Jiminez and Justin Masterson have proven track records, April be damned.
Detroit Tigers - They’re the class of the division, even after a mediocre start. I’m appalled at the combined weight of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, but they’re hitting just fine, and Austin Jackson is trying to make Detroit not feel so bad about giving up Curtis Granderson a few years ago. The Tigers also have a young kid named Drew Smyly, who has a 1.61 ERA in five starts. True story – I have a friend named Drew Smiley, who is one of the funniest, but also strangest people you’ll probably never meet. The other day he texted me asking if I wanted to hang out, and then when I texted back an hour later he was in New York. We live in Rhode Island. You can’t get to New York in one hour. But all of that only adds to my enjoyment of the new Drew Smyly.
Chicago White Sox - The good news? Adam Dunn has already had a better season than he did a year ago, and he’s only hitting .236. That bad news? The White Sox will be out of contention by July. Sorry guys. I know Jake Peavy is pitching really well, and that’s great to see, but there’s not a hell of a lot to work with besides that. I just don’t get fired up about Alexei Ramirez, but maybe I’m in the minority…
Kansas City Royals – This is our year! We’re going to be in contention! No…no you’re not. It takes more than Alex Gordon to wash away the curse of Kansas City.
Minnesota Twins - I feel so bad for the twins. They were never going to be good this year, but does Justin Morneau really have to deal with ANOTHER injury? I mean good God – this guy won the MVP not too long ago. Now he can’t stay on the field, and the Twins are the worst team in the AL. Yes, that was a compliment, Royals fans.
American League West
Texas Rangers - I thought the Yankees were the best team in the AL entering the season. I was wrong. The Rangers are absolutely the best team in the league, and probably the best team in baseball. I can’t think of an NL team that rivals them, and they’re blowing away teams in the AL. Their lineup is just frightening. Here’s some food for thought: Mike Napoli – he of the .320 average and 30 home runs last year – hits seventh for the Rangers. Cody Ross hit cleanup for the Red Sox on Monday. Be very, very afraid of Texas.
Oakland Athletics - What have we learned? Despite being 15-14, the A’s kind of suck. Josh Reddick hits third for them. I’d be surprised if Moneyball doesn’t fail by June. On the bright side, even though Billy Beane inexplicably traded away Gio Gonzalez in the off-season, he did sign Yoenis Cespedes, who is my absolute favorite player in all of baseball. He absolutely does not give a fuck. I’ve seen him swing as hard as he can at change-ups and miss them by two feet, and just not care at all. I’ve also seen him make the same swing and hit a ball 600 feet. He’s unbelievable. I want to watch every single at-bat he has during the entire season. Oh, and they have a few decent young arms, but they’ll trade them away next year for more prospects, so don’t get attached.
Seattle Mariners - Their leading hitter is “Kyle Seager.” Ichiro is old, Felix Hernandez is good, Jesus Montero will be good soon and that’s pretty much where it ends. Man, there has been a string of bad seasons in Seattle huh? It makes you long for the days when Jay Buhner would do his best Cespedes impression. Unfortunately, nothing in April tells me that the Mariners are going to be anywhere near contention. At least Soundgarden is making a comeback…
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – These guys are absolutely the most puzzling team in the American League. They’ve got talent all over the diamond, but they’re playing like the Royals. Yet, I have this feeling that the Angels are coming. After beating Minnesota on Monday, they’ve won three straight, and Albert Pujols decided to finally hit one out of the park. Are they as good as the Rangers? Christ, no. But they’ve got way too much talent to be hanging out in last place when the A’s and Mariners are in the division, plus they’ve got the rally monkey. If April has shown us anything about the Angels, it’s that they’re going to get very hot, very soon.
Bottom Line - Their are six teams competing for five playoff spots, Albert Pujols is going to go off, the Yankees are going to go off, the Red Sox are going to hang around at .500, Buck Showalter is going to infuriate everybody he talks to, Asdrubal Cabrera will remain under the radar, the rally monkey will soon make an appearance, the Mariners will suck, the Royals will suck, the A’s will suck, the Tigers will be fine, Miguel Cabrera will throw up Bloody Mary mix on Jim Joyce’s chest protector, Josh Beckett will have blisters, Prince Fielder will be fat, Billy Beane will be praised but still won’t win, Yoenis Cespedes will have 200 strikeouts and 38 500-foot home runs, Jay Buhner isn’t walking through that door and Drew Smyly will continue to light it up.
Everybody, I give you the American League.
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