MLB Notes for April: How About Those Houston Astros? | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
MLB Notes for April: How About Those Houston Astros?
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It’s hard to believe the first month of the season is already over. Here are my observations of each AL and NL division.

AL East

This is anybody’s division. New York Yankees (13-9) hold a one game lead over the Boston Red Sox & Tampa Bay Rays (both 12-10). The defending AL East champion Baltimore Orioles are at .500 (10-10) while the last place Toronto Blue Jays (10-12) are only 2½ games out. The Yankees and Rays are doing surprisingly well although I wonder about the Yankees given that Masahiro Tanaka is hurt again while C.C. Sabathia is 0-4 with a 5.96 ERA.

AL Central

The defending AL champion Kansas City Royals (15-7) have a ½ game lead over the defending AL Central champion Detroit Tigers (15-8). A lot of people didn’t think the Royals had it in them (myself included). They have been playing with a chip on their shoulder and have been in two well-publicized brawls with the Chicago White Sox and one with the Oakland A’s (mostly Brett Lawrie). The Royals can’t play angry for 162 games. Meanwhile, the Tigers haven’t missed a beat despite the absence of Justin Verlander, the departure of Max Scherzer and Joe Nathan being out for the season with Tommy John surgery.

Both the Chicago White Sox (8-11) and Cleveland Indians (7-14) have been disappointments. The White Sox are probably the bigger disappointment with all their off-season acquisitions although I did not think much of those acquistions.

The team to watch in this division is the Minnesota Twins (10-12). They are 9-6 following a 1-6 start. I like Paul Molitor as their manager. He is still The Igniter. They might not play October baseball, but they will make things interesting.

AL West

This division was supposed to be a three team race between the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. Of those three teams, only the Angels are at .500 (11-11) while the Mariners (10-12) have been so-so and the A’s (9-14) are barely ahead of the Texas Rangers (7-14).  

How many people thought the Houston Astros (15-7) would be tied for the best record in the AL at the end of April? That’s what I thought. I didn’t think much of their chances either. Sure, they improved in 2014, but they let go of Bo Porter. Given that A.J. Hinch didn’t have a very successful tenure with Arizona a few years back, my expectations were not very high. Well, the Astros are the hottest team in MLB having won seven in a row. Can they sustain this early success?

NL East

The achievement of the Astros has been overshadowed by the New York Mets (15-8). Although they finished the month with three straight losses, they did win 11 in a row in April and presently have a 4 1/2 game lead over both the Atlanta Braves (10-12) and Miami Marlins (10-12). The two teams seem to be going in opposite directions. The Braves began the season 6-1, but have gone 4-8 since while the Marlins have gone 7-1 after beginning the season 3-11. Although the Washington Nationals (10-13) ended the month by winning three straight games, they spent most of April neck and neck with the lowly Philadelphia Phillies (8-15). The Nationals, who were widely picked to win the NL East, have been the biggest disappointment in MLB.

NL Central

This division is matching my predictions with the St. Louis Cardinals (15-6) leading the Chicago Cubs (12-8) and Pittsburgh Pirates (12-10) by 2½ and 3½ games, respectively with the Cincinnati Reds at .500 (11-11) while the Milwaukee Brewers (5-17) own MLB’s worst record and are already 10½ back of the Cards who have MLB’s best record. How long will the Brewers stick with Ron Roenicke?

NL West

The Los Angeles Dodgers (13-8) have a two game lead over the Colorado Rockies (11-10) who got off to a 7-0 start, but are 4-10 since. The restocked San Diego Padres (11-12) are just under .500 as are the Arizona Diamondbacks (10-11) with the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants (9-13) in last place albeit only 4½ games back. Then again this an odd numbered year so no one is surprised that the Giants aren’t in championship form.

Question for May

The Houston Astros & New York Mets rode high in April. Will they be shot down in May?

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