Posted 05/15/2008 at 02:36 PM
Believe it or not but we are now a fourth of the way through the MLB season. Interleague play starts up this weekend and it will be an interesting measuring point for several teams. There have been several notable storylines and several surprising results as the early season numbers typically mean more than most people think.
In the American League every division is wide open with the current leaders only separated by a half game over the next closest contender. All five teams in the AL East are within four games and all five teams in the AL Central are within five games. The modest starts for the Yankees and Red Sox dominate the focus in the AL East as Tampa Bay and Baltimore are surprising teams to still be in the mix at this point in the season. The Blue Jays were the team many expected to have a chance to overtake one of the favorites and although Toronto is still within striking distance they have been a bit of a disappointment. In the Central everything starts with the struggling Detroit Tigers. Many saw this team as a lock for the postseason but the talented lineup has not produced and the pitching has been horrible. The Indians have taken the division lead but at only two games above .500 as no team has really impressed. Oakland was a sleeper team this season and the A’s look ready to compete with the favored Angels in the AL West. Seattle has taken a major fall back after a competitive year last season but Texas may be a team to watch if the runs keep coming in.
The success of the Marlins and the struggles of the Rockies and Padres have to be considered the most notable trends of the first six weeks of the season in the National League. Florida continues to recycle star players into young talent and the Marlins appear good enough to hang around in an NL East division with flawed opponents. The Mets, Phillies, and Braves are all capable of becoming playoff teams but so far it has been a very undistinguished start for the big three. St. Louis and Houston are both hitting the ball well and either team can hang around in the NL Central. The Cubs are off to a great start while the Brewers have struggled but the roles could reverse as they did last season. Arizona appears to be falling back to earth after an amazing April and what was a highly competitive division last season may not be that way this year. Colorado and San Diego needed a tie-breaker to decide the Wild Card spot last season, right now they require a tie-breaker for the worst record in baseball.