Each Week I recap the top 10 story-lines from the week, whether they are about a team, player, owner, fan, equipment, or whatever else is impacting the game.
We’re roughly 60 games through the year, so there’s no better arbitrary time than now to take a look at the standings. In case you were wondering, we’re coming off of a long week, so I will only review Tuesday through Sunday.
From first place to last, here is Week 9, Recapped: The Standings Edition.
10. New York Yankees – AL East
The Yankees did a great job of fending off the surging Sawx this week, going 4-1 vs. the A’s and the Angels. The two teams entered play on Tuesday, tied. While the Red Sox went 3-2, the Yankees were able to win 4, and now sit a full game ahead of Boston for the division lead.
New York only scored 24 runs on the week, but it didn’t matter, because their pitching was solid. New York allowed either 2 or 3 runs in each of their games this week. Who says the rotation is their problem? This division could very well go back and forth for quite some time. Oddly enough, though, the two teams play each other tonight. I haven’t looked yet, but I’m assuming that every game will be nationally televised.
9. Texas Rangers – AL West
The reigning AL champs currently sit atop the AL West, just 2 games above a team in Seattle that most predicted to finish dead last. The league’s smallest division was insanely tight after Memorial Day. But this week seemed to be the scalpel that tore it open.
The Rangers won a league-best 5 games, while losing just 1. And, if you thought the Yankees 2.6 runs allowed per game was good, the Rangers allowed just 1.8, including 3 shutouts. They outscored their opponents by 20 runs, which was the highest total of the week.
8. Seattle Mariners – AL West
Staying in the AL West, let’s look at another team who had a phenomenal week. The Mariners hosted the Orioles and the Rays, going 4-2, and winning a 4 game series against Tampa Bay. By scoring twice as many runs (30) as they allowed (15), Seattle was able to keep up with the Rangers, and now sit just 2.5 games out of first place
7. Oakland Athletics – AL West
Holy AL West! Playing on the West Coast, and hanging around the middle of their division, Oakland hasn’t gotten much love in recent years. They’ve got one of the best young staffs in the league, and they play in a pitcher-friendly park. However, none of that really matters when you have to face the Yankees and Red Sox back to back.
The A’s lost all 5 of their games this week, and are now scraping the bottom of the barrel, 7 games back of the Rangers. It just goes to show you, that it’s tough to win when you allow 7.4 runs per game.
6. Milwaukee Brewers – NL Central
In the NL Central, the Brewers have been doing everything they can to pass the Cardinals and take the division lead. They went 4-1 against the Reds and Marlins, using a little bit of everything to win. They put up a respectable 5 runs per game, and allowed just 3.6. It took some late inning heroics by both the bats and the arms, this week, as the Brewers won or lost 4 of their 5 games by just 1 run.
Since the Cards had about 20 come-from-behind wins this week, the Brewers didn’t gain much ground. However, because both teams kept winning, and the Reds were 2-3, they were successful in pushing Cincinnati further down in the standings.
5. St. Louis Cardinals – NL Central
Although the Brewers were .800 on the week, Milwaukee is probably left asking the following question: “WHY WON’T YOU DIE”?
St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to be much of a contender once Wainwright went down. Now that his replacement, one that was adequately carrying the torch, went on the DL, they’ve got to go away, right? Wrong.
The Cards won 4 of 6, including two extra inning space jams from Lord Pujols, and only conceded a half game to the Brewers. The Cards will travel to Milwaukee next weekend, so I’m sure I’ll have more on this storyline next Monday.
4. Cleveland Indians – AL Central
Cleveland entered Tuesday leading the Tigers by 5 games. But after losing 4 to the Rangers, they now sit just 2.5 ahead of the streaking Tigers (Yes, I realize that, technically, a tiger is always streaking…). The series against the Rangers was especially bad, as the Indians were outscored 23-6, and shutout twice. Could Cleveland be sellers at the deadline, after all?
Perhaps not. They begin a series tonight with the worst team in baseball.
3. Detroit Tigers – AL Central
The Tigers know that the Central is their division to win, right now. They are only 2.5 games behind the Indians, but Cleveland has already begun one of the most predictable slides in Major League history.
Minnesota is already well out of it, and the White Sox are still 4.5 games behind Detroit. They aren’t in a position to turn on autopilot just yet, but if they continue to play slightly better than .500, they should be in control of the Division by the break.
2. Philadelphia Phillies – NL East
The Phillies botched an opportunity to blow the flood gates open in the East, this week. They had a road trip to Washington and Pittsburgh, and they only managed to win 1 game. The Phillies’ 14 runs were the 5th fewest in MLB.
Luckily, the Braves and Marlins struggled through the week as well, so Philly remains at the top of the East by 3.0 games.
1. San Francisco Giants – NL West
Coming off of a week where they were the top story for losing their best bat for the year, San Francisco had to go on the road to St. Louis, and host a talented Rockies team. In short, things weren’t looking good on Tuesday.
But the Giants muscled through it, taking 4 of 6, and taking a half game lead over the Diamondbacks.
The Giants pitching is still sensational. In this weekend’s series against the Rockies, the Giants offense only put up 6 runs. However, it was enough to win 2 of 3 games, as they held the Rockies to a measly 4. That’s an ERA of 1.33!
I still think that the Giants will struggle down the road, unless a bat (Brandon Belt) can emerge, but they’ll start this week off by hosting the light hitting Nationals. While the Dodgers and Rockies should make it closer as the season progresses, the Giants are in the driver’s seat, and they’ve got a bit of breathing room.
Anyway, please, don’t mind me while I discount the Diamondbacks completely.