MLB Notes for May: Minnesota Twins Take Over AL Central - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
MLB Notes for May: Minnesota Twins Take Over AL Central
Nearly a third of the MLB season is over. Some teams rode high in April, but were shot down in May while others experienced April showers which blossomed into May flowers.

AL East

This division should be called the AL Least. Once the most powerful division in MLB, no team in the AL East had a winning record in the month of May. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are tied for top spot in the division with a 26-25 record with the Baltimore Orioles (23-26), Toronto Blue Jays (23-29) and Boston Red Sox (22-29) all below .500. The Red Sox were particularly horrible going 10-19 in May, a month which saw them fire pitching coach Juan Nieves and replaced him with veteran pitching coach Carl Willis. It hasn’t made much of a difference. Yet despite all the misery, the Sox are only four games out of first place. One good week and they could be on top of the division. Ditto for the O’s and Jays. This is anybody’s division.

AL Central

April was a see-saw between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals. Well, move over Tigers & Royals. The Minnesota Twins want in. Here is what I wrote last month:
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.
Well, the Twins have made things interesting by going an AL best 20-7 in the month of May and moved into first place in the AL Central on the final day of the month and now boast a record of 30-19. The Twins lead the Royals (29-19) by a ½ game and the Tigers (28-24) by 3½ games. It’s still too early to tell if there will be October baseball in the Twin Cities, but they have made the AL Central a three team race.

Yet i could turn into a four team race. Although the Cleveland Indians (24-26) are 6½ games out, they went 17-12 in May after going 7-14 in April and are likely to get better. The jury is however out on the Chicago White Sox (23-26). Although they are only ½ game behind the Indians, the off-season acquisitions of Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche and Jeff Samardzija have not borne fruit. Although they played .500 ball in May (15-15) treading water won’t be good enough in the AL Central.

AL West

The Houston Astros (31-20) proved their 15-7 April was no fluke by going 16-13 in May and retain a four game lead in the division. Dallas Keuchel is turning in a Cy Young campaign for the Astros. However, both the Los Angeles Angels (27-24) and Texas Rangers (26-25) are on the Astros’ heels. I’m sure both the Angels and Rangers wish they were in the AL East. The Angels also went 16-13 in May and are only 4 games back of Houston while the Rangers, following a 7-14 April, went 19-11 in May and are only 5 games out of the lead. The Rangers have won 8 of their last 10 games. Their surge is particularly astonishing when you consider Yu Darvish, Nick Martinez, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison are all on the DL. Prince Fielder has returned to All-Star form while Josh Hamilton is happy to be back in the Lone Star State. However, Adrian Beltre just injured his thumb and it won’t be easy to find an All-Star calibre third baseman. But new manager Jeff Banister has got them much farther than anyone possibly expected.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners (24-26) are treading water. A 14-14 May leaves the M’s 6 ½ back of the Astros. But who would have thought that the Oakland A’s (20-33) would be 12 games back of Houston on June 1st? The A’s went 11-19 in a month which saw a 9-game losing streak. The A’s recently added former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington to their coaching staff. A’s manager Bob Melvin must be looking over his shoulder.

NL East

After being the darlings of baseball in April, the New York Mets (28-23) came back down to earth with a 13-15 May. The Washington Nationals (28-22) took full advantage of this situation with the return of Denard Span in the leadoff spot and the power of Bryce Harper. The Nats took over first place just before Memorial Day Weekend. However, due to a three game sweep by the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, the Nats only have a ½ game lead over the Mets. Can you believe 42-year old Bartolo Colon is leading MLB with 8 wins? It will be interesting to see how the Mets respond to a six-man starting rotation?

The Atlanta Braves (25-25) are holding their own with a respectable 15-13 May and are only 3 games back of the Nats. The month of May was anything but respectable for the Miami Marlins (20-31) who fired Mike Redmond and replaced him with GM Dan Jennings who hasn’t managed a team since he coached high school baseball in Alabama during the Reagan Administration. The Marlins went 10-19 in May and are 4-9 under Jennings thus far. Despite this, Giancarlo Stanton has 15 HR and Dee Gordon is leading the NL in batting with a stellar average of .377.

The Philadelphia Phillies (19-33) were playing decent ball in May until embarking upon their current 7-game losing streak. These days Phillies fans are counting the days until GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. trades Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jonathan Papelbon.
NL Central
The St. Louis Cardinals (33-17) continue to be the class of MLB. The Cardinals followed a 15-6 April with an 18-11 May and haven’t missed a beat despite losing Adam Wainwright for the rest of the year. It will be interesting to see if the loss of Matt Adams prompts them to make a move. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals make a move for the aforementioned Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard. That would make an already great club nearly unbeatable.
The Cardinals lead the Chicago Cubs (26-22) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (26-24) by 6 and 7 games, respectively. Even if the Cubs don’t make the post-season, rookies Kris Bryant and Addison Russell make them fun to watch. Although the Bucs were 14-14 in May they have won 8 of their last 10 games.
The Cincinnati Reds (22-27) had a rough May going 11-16 which included a 9-game losing streak. However, they did end the month on a positive note by sweeping the Washington Nationals. Still, a team which includes the likes of Joey Votto, Brendan Phillips, Todd Frazier and ace Johnny Cueto should be better than they are.
Still, the Reds are much better than the Milwaukee Brewers (17-34) who fired Ron Roenicke in May and replaced him with Craig Counsell. The Brewers are doing no better under Counsell (10-16) than they did under Roenicke
(7-18). At this rate, Bob Uecker may soon turn into Harry Doyle.
NL West
The Los Angeles Dodgers (29-20) still lead the NL West, but by only ½ game over the San Francisco Giants (30-22). The Dodgers had a good May (16-12), but the Giants went an MLB best 21-9 after a 9-13 April. The return of Hunter Pence proved to be a spark for the defending World Series champions.
Despite the additions of Matt Kemp, Will Myers, Justin Upton, Derek Norris and James Shields, the San Diego Padres (25-27) are only marginally better than they were at this time a year ago (26-31) and only marginally than both the Arizona Diamondbacks (23-26) and the Colorado Rockies (22-26).
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