The AL East and NL Central division races are heating up, while the Rangers and Braves continue to chug along. Also, the Tigers knock their division rival Indians down a few rungs. See where your team ranks in this week’s top 10:
#1 Texas Rangers
It would be hard to move the Rangers out of the top spot when they have done virtually nothing to justify the move. The Rangers have lost back-to-back games only 4 times this season and have yet to lose 3 in a row. Consistency at its finest.
#2 St. Louis Cardinals
With the best record in baseball, the Cardinals could easily be #1. However, the fact that they have played 19 out of their last 22 against teams with a record below .500 has them just behind the Rangers. After their series with the Royals, the Cardinals have 9 straight against the Giants Diamondbacks, and Reds. That is when we will find out if this team is going to be this good all year.
#3 Cincinnati Reds
Despite the Cardinals not losing back-to-back games since April 29th, the Reds have managed to cut the division lead to 1.5 games. The Reds are also more balanced than the Cardinals and seem to be staying a lot healthier. Going to be a fun summer in the NL Central.
#4 Atlanta Braves
Braves just had their 8 game winning streak snapped when their injury-depleted bullpen blew a 2-1 8th inning lead against the Mets on Sunday night. The Braves are finally completely healthy on offense and the rotation appears to be getting stronger. Their fate now rests in the newly appointed bridge to Craig Kimbrel after losing their top 2 set up men for the year.
#5 Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates game plan so far this year seems to be: score a couple runs, have the starter get you 5/6 innings, have the bullpen shut down the opponents for the last 3 or 4 innings. It has worked so far, but the problem is: if they don’t find a way to get their starters deeper into games, or start scoring more runs so that they have a bigger cushion, they are going to wear out that bullpen.
#6 New York Yankees
First off, it is downright amazing that the Yankees are in first place in this division with the amount of injuries they have had. Unbelievable. However, I don’t see it lasting much longer with their current roster. Then again, the Yankees have yet to prove me right this year. So, you’re welcome Yankee fans.
#7 Boston Red Sox
Well, Sox fans, the Red Sox have been proving me wrong most the year as well, so I don’t want to jinx them by saying anything. Especially since I have plenty of family in Sox Nation. I will say that keeping Big Papi healthy is going to be crucial though. He still seems to be the heartbeat of this team.
#8 Detroit Tigers
Sticking with this team as my “first team to clinch” pick. Seeing them pass the Indians in the division this past week after the Indians were so hot helped confirm my beliefs. Also, there is no adjectives left to describe Miguel Cabrera.
#9 Oakland Athletics
The A’s are back in the top 10 after a short hiatus. To be fair, the Houston Astros get an assist in the A’s success thus far. Seeing as the A’s are 9-0 against their new division foe this year.
Tied #10 Arizona Diamondbacks
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I like the makeup of this team. The starting pitching continues to impress and the offense has been good enough at the right times. J.J. Putz scares me though.
Tied #10 San Francisco Giants
Still not buying into the 2013 version of the defending champs just yet, but they are winning games. As of now, the only reliable starter in the rotation is Bumgarner. That is a scary thought for a team that wants to contend in this division.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson