Monday, June 15, 2015

MLB - New Kids on the MLB Block

Now that we’re a third of the way though the MLB it’s time to recognize that some the amazing turnarounds we’ve seen to start the season aren’t early season aberrations, and these clubs figure to around with the season changes. Houston Astros – Perhaps a change of scenery was exactly what the franchise needed. Perpetual cellar dwellers in the NL for years, a change the on AL West where they still went a dismal 70-92 last year but up from the year before and in 2015 actually sit atop the AL West at 36-28, 2.5 games clear of the Rangers, and five games off the best record in the league. Easily their best start since they used to challenge for not just the division crown but the League Pennant back when they had pitchers like JR Richard and Nolan Ryan. I know it’s early but they’re following the formula for success, be tough to beat at home, the Astros have a league best 21 wins and play .500 ball on the road where they’re 15-14. Of course the million dollar question is can the keep this going through the gauntlet that is 162 games? Texas Rangers - Speaking of the AL West the only team finish worst than the Astros in the division last year were the Rangers whom now reside right behind them in second place. A balance of crafty vets and young talent Texas has brought some excitement back to the lone-star state outside of football season. The shot in the arm of bringing back Josh Hamilton for one more trip around the bases has put cheeks in the seats and he immediately paid dividends before going to the DL, (again). He will need to stay healthy and continue to produce for the Rangers to be around come September, and they had better be close to the top because come August, all the attention in the State will move towards the grid iron. New York – Wait for it….METS! Yep it’s the Metropolitans not the Yankees that are the talk of the Empire State right now, at 34-18 they’re ion a battle with Nationals for the NL East lead. That itself is kind of big news as we’re already in June and they haven’t faded yet, but it gets bigger when you throw into the mix that the Nationals were not only the consensus pick to win the division, but the NL as well. Moreover, this wasn’t even supposed to be close, like last year when the Nats won the divison by 17 games. Yea, can you believe it? I’m talking 17 games, that’s over 10% of the season they could have taken off and still taken the flag, and it was over by this time last year! So yes, the Mets going from a distant third to leading the NL East is a big deal even though it’s early June and if you don’t believe me ask anyone McFadden’s how happy they are that they have some statistical retorts for the fans from that other team that resides in the state. Minnesota Twins – This can’t be the best story simply because the Twins have rings on their fingers and were once the best team in baseball. The fact that it was well over a decade ago is part of the lure. The Twins are 34-26 recently falling out of first place due to a 3-7 stretch but they’re right in the mix. Last year, Minnesota was dead last, just three games above the club with the worst record in baseball, the afore mentioned Texas Rangers. That alone is something to celebrate but the fact that they’re holding off the challenge from the ‘lumber company’ that is the Detroit Tigers, the pre-season favorite to take the division is something that has fans that aren’t used be being happy this time of the season, or for most of the year for that matter, have to be exited about. That those old glory days of Jack Morris and Kirby Pucket may not be too far away.

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