Domonic Brown went all “Miguel Cabrera” on the NL last week, and that coincided perfectly with the real Cabrera going on something of a slump. (.267, with 3 HR, and 8 RBI). Or at least a slump by his standards. Anyways, the Cardinals hold on to the top spot while the NL occupies 4 of the top 5 spots. See where your team ranks:
#1 St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have lost only two series all year, both of which came in April. The starting pitching has continued to be unreal, no matter who they have run out there. If they are going to keep up this pace and stay ahead of the Reds and Pirates in the Central they are going to need the young guys to keep pitching. Doesn’t seem like a problem so far.
#2 Texas Rangers
By the 2013 Rangers standards, they have been reeling as of late losing 4 out of 7. No need to worry in Arlington though. The Rangers splits continued to be extremely good when it comes to home/away, RHP/LHP, run differential, etc. Keep an eye on the starting pitching though, hasn’t quite been as solid as the early going.
#3 Cincinnati Reds
An already accomplished starting staff (4th in quality starts) has Johnny Cueto back and is managing to keep within striking distance of the white hot Cardinals. Keep an eye on their huge home series (where the Reds are 20-7) with Cards coming up on Friday.
#4 Atlanta Braves
The bullpen will continue to be an adventure with a new look bridge getting the ball to Kimbrel. The Braves just took 2 out of 3 from the Nats though and have stretched their division lead to 6.5 games. Also, their starting pitching has been flying under the radar (4th in quality starts), even with veteran Tim Hudson having some off and on struggles.
#5 Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates keep finding a way to score just enough runs, while running their bullpen into the ground. If the Pirates want to make a serious run, they are going to need to start giving some of their bullpen studs some rest as we get into the heat of summer. Let’s hope they keep this up though, it’s good for baseball.
#6 Boston Red Sox
The Sox took 2 out of 3 in New York over the weekend in a series that felt like a huge statement series for the Red Sox. In a very talented AL East, anytime you take 2 out of 3 on the road against one of you division rivals, it’s a big deal. The Sox need to keep taking advantage of a pretty healthy (and talented) offense that had health questions coming into the year.
#7 Oakland A’s
A’s are back to their streaking ways, winning 9 out of 10. I expected their starting staff to be a little better than they have been, but I also didn’t expect their offense to be 6th in runs. No matter, bottom line is: this team is a blast to watch and should be in the AL West hunt for the long haul.
#8 Detroit Tigers
Well, you can’t get everything right. I expected the rest of the AL Central to be struggling at this point in the season. However, I thought the Tigers would be taking much more advantage of the lack of division competition. The Tigers are still 2nd in runs and 8th in ERA, so you have to figure the wins will start coming in more bunches.
#9 New York Yankees
People are getting healthy, but the Yankees as a whole are not. After losing 5 in a row, the Yankees then lost 2 out of 3 to the Red Sox at home. The Yankees are now the coldest team in the AL East and aren’t showing too many signs for optimism.
#10 Arizona Diamondbacks
The Dbacks aren’t doing anything special, but they are doing just enough. While everyone else in the NL West is having their struggles, the Dbacks keep chugging merrily along and now hold a 2.5 game lead. We are about to see what they are really made of though, as they are on the road in St. Louis to take on the best team in baseball.
Follow Cole Stevenson: @Cole_Stevenson