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It has come down to this: all of the divisional races have been decided, but man oh man, the Wild Cards in both leagues truly are up for grabs, with two different teams clinging to a one-game lead as we head into the last three games of the regular season.
Here then is a look at who's in, who plays whom among teams battling for playoff positioning, and of course, where we stand in the Wild Card races.
First for the American League:
And now for our final look at the National League:
I hope, if you have been following along through the course of the season, that you have enjoyed these updates. There has been trial-and-error and experimentation along the way, and I am sure that next season things will be more refined from the get-go.
One thing is for certain: it has been fun for me to take this ride and watch things begin to clear up, and then to fall into place as week has followed week.
If you have any suggestions on how this would be "better" or "more pleasing" for you to read next season, please let me know.
Now that there is less than a week left in the regular season, it is time to zoom in with the microscope and focus not on the standings in general, but in the positioning of those teams that are in, and those that are close to in, or in contention. The sum total of those teams has shrunk significantly.
I will be looking at positions 1-4 in each league, and then at those teams just behind but still very much alive, and will be running down who each team will be facing in the next-to-last series of the regular season.
First for the American League
1. New York Yankees 95-60, 1st place AL East and have clinched the division. The Yankees have a magic number of three to clinch the home field advantage through the American League playoffs, and played Tampa Bay on Thursday night. New York hosts the Boston Red Sox this weekend.
2. Detroit Tigers 90-65, 1st place AL Central and have clinched the division. The Tigers still have an opportunity to catch the Yankees for the best record in the AL, but could slip as low as third in the playoff seeding. Detroit is playing a four-game series at home against the Orioles this weekend.
3. Texas Rangers 90-66, 1st place AL West and have a magic number of 3 to clinch the division. The Rangers also have a magic number of 5 to win a Wild Card, should they lose the division. Texas will be at home against the Mariners beginning Friday night.
4. Boston Red Sox 88-68, 2nd place AL East and have a magic number of 5 to clinch the Wild Card, assuming that they do not overtake New York. Boston is at New York this weekend.
If the playoffs began today, the Yankees would host the Rangers and the Tigers would host the Red Sox. Although the Wild Card usually plays the division winner with the best record, two teams from the same division cannot play each other in the first round. If any team besides Boston won the Wild Card, they would play New York, and Detroit and Texas would play in the first round.
Now for the teams still in contention:
Tie 5. Los Angeles Angels 85-70, 2nd place AL West. The Angels trail the Rangers by 4.5 games for the AL West lead, and trail the Red Sox by 2.5 games for the Wild Card. Los Angeles played at Toronto vs. the Blue Jays on Thursday, and will open a series at home against the Athletics on Friday.
Tie 5. Tampa Bay Rays 85-70, 3rd place AL East. The Rays' only hope of making the playoffs is to catch Boston, whom they trail at present by 2.5 games. Tampa Bay played in New York on Thursday and will come home to take on the Blue Jays beginning Friday night.
Now for a look at the National League:
1. Philadelphia Phillies 98-57, 1st place NL East. The Phillies have clinched the best record in the National League.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks 90-66, 1st place NL West. The Diamondbacks have a magic number of 2 to clinch their division and will have a chance to do that head-to-head this weekend when they take on the Giants at home starting on Friday.
4. Atlanta Braves 88-68, 2nd place NL East. The Braves cannot catch the Phillies, but have a magic number of 5 to clinch the National League Wild Card. Atlanta is at Washington to face the Nationals this weekend.
If the playoffs began today, the Phillies would host the Diamondbacks and the Brewers would host the Braves. As with the American League, since the Braves are in the same division with the team with the best record, they could not play Philadelphia in the first round. Should any team other than the Braves win the Wild Card, they would play the Phillies while the Brewers would play Arizona in the first round.
Now for the teams still in contention:
6. San Francisco Giants 84-71, 2nd place NL West. The Giants are down to an elimination number of 4 for the Wild Card, and to 2 for elimination from the division race. San Francisco played in Los Angeles against the Dodgers on Thursday and will start a series in Arizona on Friday night.
We will see you one more time this season, on Monday, when we will break down the last series of the season for all teams still in contention, either for a playoff spot or for postseason positioning.
With only ten days left in the regular season, lo and behold we have seen a couple of races develop where it looked like their would be no drama at all.
In the American League the Wild Card race is suddenly a dogfight, and the San Francisco Giants in the National League are determined not to give up their world championship status without a fight.
Let's take a look and see how things are shaking out with a week and a half to go. As always, we will give you the upcoming schedule for all teams still in contention...though that list gets shorter and shorter.
The Tigers are in, and the Indians are, believe it or not, still alive for the Wild Card (see below). Detroit currently has the second-best record in the American League, and if the season ended today would be facing the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs.
Detroit begins a series at Kansas City against the Royals on Tuesday, while the Indians play a make-up game against the Mariners on Monday before opening a home series vs. the White Sox on Tuesday with a day/night doubleheader.
The Yankees have a magic number of 7 to clinch a playoff spot, while Boston and the Tampa Bay Rays are in a sudden duel for the Wild Card spot in the AL (see below).
New York currently has the best record in the league, and if the season ended today would be facing Texas in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Yankees are home to Minnesota on Monday, while the Red Sox are hosting Baltimore. Tampa Bay begins a series in New York on Tuesday.
The Rangers currently have the worst record of a division leader in the AL, and if the season ended today would open the playoffs in New York. (The reason that the Yankees, with the best record, would not be playing the Wild Card winner in the first round is that a team cannot play another team in its own division in the first round, and as the Red Sox at present hold the Wild Card lead, they could not play the Yankees first.)
Texas has a magic number of 6 to win the West, while the Angels are still alive for the Wild Card as well as their division.
The Rangers are at Oakland to face the Athletics beginning Tuesday, while the Angels begin a series in Toronto vs. the Blue Jays on Monday.
|Tampa Bay||85||67||.559||2||Won 2|
|Los Angeles||83||69||.546||4||Won 1|
|Kansas City||67||87||.435||21||Lost 1|
(updated 9.19.2011 at 11:26 AM EDT)
Toronto and Cleveland are both mathematically alive for the Wild Card, although the "tragic number" for elimination is 1 for each club.
Boston's magic number to win the Wild Card stands at 9, but the way the Rays are coming on, don't be shocked if Tampa Bay makes Boston pay for their slow start so many months ago. And the Angels are hovering in the wings, ready to pounce should the Red Sox and the Rays falter down the stretch.
Now for the Senior Circuit:
The Brewers have been pushed a bit by the Cardinals, yet still Milwaukee's magic number is 4 to win the Central. St. Louis is still alive for the NL Wild Card (see below).
Milwaukee has the second-best record in the NL, and with the same situation as in the American League (best record and Wild Card leader from the same division), if the season ended today the Brewers would host the Wild Card-leading Braves in the opening round.
The Brewers begin the week in Chicago to face the Cubs on Monday, while St. Louis finishes a series in Philadelphia, also on Monday. The Cardinals then come home to face the Mets beginning Tuesday.
The Phillies have clinched the NL East, while Atlanta is the Wild Card leader. Philadelphia's magic number to clinch the best record in the National League is 2, and if the season ended today, the Phillies would be hosting the Diamondbacks in the opening round.
Philadelphia finishes a series with St. Louis on Monday and then hosts the Nationals starting Tuesday, while Atlanta begins a series in Florida on Monday vs. the Marlins.
Arizona continues to hold on in the est, with a magic number of 5 to clinch the division. If the season ended today the Diamondbacks would face the Phillies in the opening round. The Giants, meanwhile, have won eight straight to stay alive in both the division and Wild Card races, but they are running out of time.
Arizona begins the week at home on Monday vs. the Pirates, while San Francisco will be in LA to face the Dodgers beginning Tuesday.
|St. Louis||83||69||.546||3.5||Won 1|
|San Francisco||83||70||.542||4||Won 8|
|Los Angeles||76||76||.500||10.5||Won 3|
|New York||73||80||.477||14||Won 1|
|San Diego||65||88||.424||22||Lost 1|
(updated 9.19.2011 at 11:42 AM EDT)
Only three teams are left alive for the National League Wild Card. Right now the Braves' magic number to clinch is 7 over the Cardinals and 6 over the Giants.
And there we have it as the last full week of the season dawns. Be sure to check back on Friday for another update, as the season will head into its final two series for each club still in contention.
Since last we met, the Philadelphia Phillies have clinched a playoff spot, and other teams are getting close, with the Detroit Tigers right on the cusp.
Here is our Friday look at the Major League standings with a little less than two weeks to go in the regular season. We will give the "who's playing whom" for all teams still in contention.
Although the White Sox are technically in second place, Chicago has already been eliminated from any chance at the division title, as have the Royals and the Twins. Only the Indians have a "chance", and that chance will vanish with Cleveland's next loss or the Tigers' next win.
The Indians are in Minnesota this weekend, while the Tigers continue a series in Oakland.
The Orioles and the Blue Jays have no chance to win the East, although Toronto is still barely alive in the Wild Card race (see below).
The Rays are facing the Red Sox in a battle royale over four days, with Tampa Bay having won on Thursday and climbing closer to Boston. The Yankees are in Toronto over the weekend, with a magic number of 10 to win the division.
The Athletics and the Mariners are both out of contention, but the Angels still have a shot at both the division title and a Wild Card (see below).
The Rangers, with a magic number of 10, are in Seattle this weekend, while Los Angeles is in Baltimore.
|Tampa Bay||83||66||.557||3||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||82||67||.550||4||Won 2|
|Kansas City||65||86||.430||22||Won 5|
(updated 9.16.2011 at 12:01 PM EDT)
Technically, six teams are still alive in the Wild Card race in the AL, but in reality it is down to a three-team fight.
The Red Sox have a magic number of 11 to clinch at least a spot in the playoffs, and are embroiled in a series with the Rays all weekend in Boston. The Angels are in Baltimore, the Blue Jays are entertaining the Yankees, the White Sox (who will be out with a Boston win or a loss themselves) are in Kansas City, and the Indians are in Minnesota.
Now for a look at the National League:
The Cardinals have come back to make a race of it in the Central, but the Brewers magic number is down to 8, and all four other teams in the division are already eliminated.
Milwaukee is in Cincinnati to face the Reds this weekend, while St. Louis has what might be a mixed blessing as they head to Philadelphia. The Cardinals will be hoping that the Phillies take it easy, having already clinched a playoff spot.
The Phillies, as stated more than once in this report, have clinched a playoff spot, and their magic number to win the East is down to 2. The Braves, far from being despondent, are sitting pretty with the Wild Card lead (see below).
All other East teams are officially out of any playoff contention.
Philadelphia entertains St. Louis this weekend, while the Braves are home to take on the Mets.
Arizona is hanging on while the defending champion Giants are getting hot in a last ditch effort to return to the playoffs. The Diamondbacks have a magic number of 6 to win the West.
Arizona is in San Diego this weekend to take on the Padres, while San Francisco is on the road to take on the Rockies.
|St. Louis||81||68||.543||4.5||Won 2|
|San Francisco||80||70||.533||6||Won 5|
|Los Angeles||73||76||.489||12.5||Lost 1|
|New York||71||79||.473||15||Lost 6|
|San Diego||63||87||.420||23||Lost 3|
(updated 9.16.2011 at 12:14 PM EDT)
Cincinnati and Los Angeles would both be eliminated with a loss or an Atlanta win, so this -- like in the American League -- is realistically down to a three-team race.
Atlanta's magic number to win the Wild Card is 9.
The Braves are home to the Mets this weekend, while the Cardinals are in Philadelphia. San Francisco is in Colorado, while the Reds are home to Milwaukee and the Dodgers are hosting the Pirates.
Be sure to check back on Monday. By then it is pretty clear that things will have sorted out even more than they are sorted out now.
Last Friday, I lamented on the lack of drama in the final weeks of the regular season in the Major Leagues, and lo and behold, both Wild Card races went and tightened up over the weekend, and suddenly, there is indeed drama. And just in time too, what with the Indians about out of it and the Tigers running away with the AL Central.
Here then is the latest standings update as we near only two weeks left in the season:
There is no drama here, and no chance for the White Sox or the Indians as far as the Wild Card goes, but alas, it was not a bad ride this year, and the Tribe has a shot to finosh .500 or better. And hey, that would be a twelve-game improvement over 2010.
The Tigers have a magic number of 7, and the Royals and the Twins have been eliminated.
This division suddenly is starting to heat up. While the Yankees have a pretty firm grip on a playoff spot, Tampa Bay could still make a run at New York, what with the way the Rays are playing.
The Yankees begin the week in Seattle on Monday, while Boston hosts Toronto starting Tuesday. The Rays are at Baltimore beginning tonight.
New York has a magic number of 14 to win the East, while the Red Sox own the Wild Card lead at present (see below).
Only Baltimore is officially eliminated in this division.
The Angels continue to hang tough in the West, and also have an outside chance at a Wild Card (see below).
The Rangers entertain the Indians starting Tuesday night, while Los Angeles begins a series in Oakland on Monday.
Texas' magic number is 14, and the Athletics and the Mariners have both been eliminated.
|Tampa Bay||81||64||.558||3.5||Won 4|
|Los Angeles||80||66||.547||5||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||62||86||.418||24||Won 2|
(updated 9.12.2011 at 1:15 PM EDT)
This is a three-team race that has, indeed, become a race. Boston, as noted above, takes on the Blue Jays beginning Tuesday, while Tampa Bay is at Baltimore starting tonight, and Los Angeles is at Oakland.
Boston's magic number to clinch the Wild Card (at least) is 14. Oakland, Kansas City, Seattle, Minnesota and Baltimore have all been eliminated from postseason consideration.
And, in the National League...
This division was a runaway a few days ago, but has tightened up quite a bit.
The Brewers begin the week at home against the Rockies on Tuesday, while the Cardinals are in action tonight in Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee's magic number to clinch the Central is 10, and the Pirates, the Cubs and the Astros have all been eliminated.
Philadelphia is just about ready to be crowned as the champs of the East, and yet the Braves have the lead in the Wild Card (see below).
The Mets, the Nationals and the Marlins have all been eliminated.
The world champion Giants are just about gone, as the Diamondbacks' magic number has shrunk to 8.
Arizona is at the Dodgers to begin the week, while San Francisco is at home to face the Padres.
Colorado and San Diego have both been eliminated from the West race.
|St. Louis||79||67||.541||4.5||Won 5|
|San Francisco||76||70||.520||7.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||72||73||.496||11||Lost 1|
|New York||71||75||.486||12.5||Lost 2|
|San Diego||63||84||.428||21||Won 1|
(updated 9.12.2011 at 1:24 PM EDT)
The Cardinals got much closer to the Braves and are making a Wild Card race of it after all, and the Giants are still breathing, though just barely, for the fourth playoff spot.
Atlanta starts a series at home vs. Florida on Monday, while St. Louis is at Pittsburgh and San Francisco is at home to take on San Diego.
And there we have it, looking ahead to our next update on Friday. Two divisions are still up in the air and both Wild Card races have become interesting. Not much to look forward to, yet much more to look forward to than there was last Friday.
See you next time.
There is not a lot of drama left in Major League baseball's regular season, with a little less than three weeks to go. There is talk of perhaps adding another Wild Card sometime in the near future, and that is all well, fine and good -- unless you are a traditionalist and prefer not to see maybe 16 teams in the postseason, as there are in hockey and basketball.
However, we are not here to talk of the future, but the present, and here is another look at the standings, as well as the weekend schedule for those teams which are either pretty much in, or are still realistically alive.
Unfortunately for Indians fans, the Tribe needs to be counted out, painful as that is. The Tigers are at home this weekend vs. the Twins, while the White Sox continue their home series against Cleveland.
Detroit's magic number is 12, and the Royals and Minnesota are mathematically eliminated.
Here is one race that is alive, but not with much drama. Why? Because the second-place finisher in the East almost certainly will be the Wild Card, and it may come down to a second-place team with a chance to win a division resting players down the stretch instead of "trying" to claim a division title.
The Yankees are out West to play the Angels, while the Red Sox square off with the Rays in Tampa Bay. Although I am inclined to say that the Rays are finished, a good weekend could keep them in the hunt.
New York's magic number to take the East is 18. We will discuss Boston's magic number for the Wild Card after the Wild Card standings.
Baltimore is the only East team that has been mathematically eliminated from the playoff race.
Although there is the same gap between first and second in the West, the drama is completely different, as the second place team will probably have no shot at a Wild Card.
The Rangers entertain the Athletics this weekend, while Los Angeles is at home vs. the Yankees. Texas has a magic number of 17.
The Mariners have been mathematically eliminated from all playoff contention.
|Tampa Bay||78||64||.549||6.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||78||65||.545||7||Won 1|
|Kansas City||60||85||.413||26||Lost 2|
(updated 9.9.2011 at 10:42 AM EDT)
The AL Wild Card race is a three-team battle, though Boston has a pretty healthy advantage, and has a magic number of 14 to clinch -- unless they overtake New York for the AL East crown.
Oakland, Seattle, Kansas City, Minnesota and Baltimore all have no shot at a Wild Card.
Now to the National League:
Yet another two-team race, and yet another race where there is really no drama.
The Brewers have lost three straight and might be showing a dent in their armor, but even so, Milwaukee's magic number is 11.
Milwaukee faces the Phillies through this weekend, while the Cardinals are at home against the Braves.
The Cubs and the Astros have both been mathematically eliminated from all postseason contention.
Philadelphia just keeps rolling along and has reduced their magic number to 11. But the Braves have much to play for even though they will not catch the Phillies. Atlanta has a healthy lead for the NL Wild Card, which we will look at below.
Only the Marlins have been eliminated from playoff contention.
The final of the two-team races is in the NL West, where the Diamondbacks have reduced their magic number to 12. Arizona takes on the Padres at home this weekend, while the defending champion Giants try to hang on to flickering hopes as they face the Dodgers, also at home.
Only San Diego has been mathematically eliminated.
|St. Louis||76||67||.531||7.5||Won 2|
|San Francisco||75||68||.524||8.5||Lost 1|
|Los Angeles||70||72||.492||13||Won 2|
|New York||70||73||.489||13.5||Lost 2|
|San Diego||62||82||.430||22||Lost 1|
(updated 9.9.2011 at 10:47 AM EDT)
As in the American League, the NL has a three-team race for the Wild Card -- and like the AL, the Senior Circuit has basically no drama here.
Atlanta's magic number for the Wild Card is 12. Florida, the Cubs, San Diego and Houston are all eliminated.
We will be back on Monday for another update, Maybe something will happen this weekend to amp up one or two of the battles for playoff spots -- or maybe by Monday it will be down to just a few teams with any real chance.
So it all comes down to this: the Indians welcoming the Tigers to Progressive Field, and needing to win at least two-of-three -- perhaps needing even to sweep.
As we take our beginning-of-the-week look at the standings in the Major Leagues, and at who plays whom in games that really matter for contenders, it is impossible to find a series any bigger than Indians-Tigers.
But there are other teams fighting for their lives, and other big games to be played.
So let us proceed:
Obviously, if you are on this particular page, you know who plays whom beginning Monday afternoon in Cleveland, but the White Sox also have an outside chance, although they basically played their way out of contention when they were swept over the weekend.
Chicago heads to Minnesota and begins a series vs, the Twins with a doubleheader on Monday.
Detroit's magic number to clinch the Central stands at 18, while Chicago's elimination number is 16, the Twins is 4, and the Royals is 2.
This division is the tightest race left right now, with the Yankees in Baltimore on Monday and the Red Sox in Toronto. The Rays, who are literally about an update away from being considered "out of it", are home to the Rangers.
New York's magic number is 23, and whichever team finishes second in this division will probably get the Wild Card.
The Rangers are still the team to beat in this division, with a magic number of 19, but the Angels don't want to go away and are hanging peskily in there. Unfortunately for the Angels, it is pretty much down to "catch the Rangers or watch the playoffs at home".
Texas, as noted above, is at Tampa Bay to start the week while Los Angeles entertains the Mariners.
|Tampa Bay||76||63||.546||8||Won 2|
|Los Angeles||76||64||.542||8.5||Won 2|
|Kansas City||58||83||.411||27||Lost 1|
(updated 9.5.2011 at 11:43 AM EDT)
As can be seen by a cursory look at the Wild Card standings, the Red Sox are pretty much in the driver's seat, with a magic number of 16 to clinch the fourth American League playoff spot. And of course Boston is very much alive for the East crown.
And in the National League...
It is just about over in the NL Central, with the Brewers' magic number shrunken to 13. The Cardinals are in desperate condition, as they are well behind the Braves for the Wild Card.
Milwaukee goes to St. Louis to begin the week, and this race could literally be over in the next week or so.
The Cubs and Astros are already eliminated, while the Pirates and Reds will likely be gone from the race before the end of the week.
The Phillies have hit a little bump with two straight losses, but still their magic number is 18 to win another NL East crown.
Philadelphia will get a chance to just about put this division away when they take on Atlanta at home with a series beginning today.
Florida is out, and the Nationals will be eliminated with their next loss, or the next Phillies' win.
Arizona decreased their magic number to 16 by taking two-of-three from the Giants over the weekend. The Diamondbacks now head to Colorado to face the Rockies, while the defending champs from San Francisco are on the road to take on the Padres.
|St. Louis||74||66||.528||8.5||Lost 1|
|San Francisco||73||67||.521||9.5||Lost 2|
|New York||68||70||.492||13.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||68||71||.489||14||Lost 1|
|San Diego||61||79||.435||21.5||Won 1|
(updated 9.5.2011 at 11:53 AM EDT)
The Braves are just about out of contention in the NL East -- yet are looking good for the Wild Card, for which their magic number is 15.
Only Houston has actually been mathematically eliminated, but a slew of teams are likely to be history before our next update...
...which will be available for your perusal on Friday.
The Major League regular season has made it to September, and as leaves begin to fall in this last partial month of summer, so teams begin to fall out of playoff races.
The Indians, with whom we are most concerned, are still alive, very much alive, but teams such as the Orioles and the Astros are already looking toward next year, with no hope of the postseason even should they win every game for the remainder of the season.
Here is our Friday look at the standings and also who plays whom among teams with a legitimate chance. Right now that includes (in my opinion) any team within ten games of either first in a division or a Wild Card spot.
Soon, of course, even that criteria will have to be altered. But for now...
This three-team horse-race may become a little clearer over the weekend, or it could become truly muddy. A lot will depend on what happens in Detroit, where the White Sox begin a series with the Tigers on Friday. The Indians, meanwhile, are in Kansas City to face the Royals, who are playing well the role of spoiler.
The elimination number for the Royals is 7; for the Twins it is 9; and for the Indians and White Sox it is 22.
This is essentially a two-team race, with Tampa Bay being on the farthest fringe of contention. The Rays can still be a Wild Card, but would have to catch either Boston or New York to have a chance.
The Red Sox are home to the Rangers this weekend, while the Yankees host the Blue Jays. The Rays are also at home vs. the Orioles.
Baltimore has been eliminated from the post-season. Toronto's elimination number is 12 (for the East); and Tampa Bay's is 18
The true picture of a two-team race can be found in the West. The Rangers, as noted above, are in Boston this weekend, while the Angels are home to take on Minnesota.
The Mariners' elimination number is 7; the Athletics' is 9, and Los Angeles's is 22.
The Angels, however, also have an outside shot at the Wild Card.
|New York||82||53||.607||0||Won 1|
|Tampa Bay||74||62||.544||8.5||Lost 1|
|Los Angeles||74||63||.540||9||Won 1|
|Kansas City||57||81||.413||26.5||Won 1|
(updated 9.2.2011 at 11:20 AM EDT)
Let us use the same criteria for the Wild Card race as we do in the divisions: any team not within ten games might as well pack it in as far as postseason hopes.
Thus we have a three-team race here, and with New York's lead, it is a tepid "race" indeed.
Baltimore and Kansas City are eliminated from the Wild Card. Here are the elimination numbers for all teams still alive: Minnesota 2: Seattle 3; Oakland 5; Toronto 13; Cleveland and Chicago 15; Los Angeles 18; and Tampa Bay 19.
Meanwhile, in the Senior Circuit...
The Brewers were running away with this division, but have allowed the Cardinals some hope of still making a race of it.
Milwaukee is in Houston this weekend, while St. Louis takes on the Reds at home.
(We will dispense with magic numbers for the National League, and will just let you know who is officially done for as far as any hope goes, for either a divisional crown or a Wild Card. In the Central, that would be the Astros.)
Another exclusively two-team "battle", if such a word can be applied when there is an almost eight-game gap between teams.
The Phillies are in Florida to take on the Marlins this weekend, while the Braves (who own the Wild Card lead at present) are in Atlanta to entertain the Dodgers.
Finally we have the NL West, where the defending champion Giants are in serious trouble, needing to catch the red-hot Diamondbacks to really have a chance, since their deficit behind Atlanta is even larger.
Arizona goes for 10 in a row on Friday night in San Francisco in what is close to a do-or-die series for the Giants.
|St. Louis||73||64||.532||8.5||Won 4|
|San Francisco||72||65||.525||9.5||Won 1|
|New York||66||69||.488||14.5||Won 2|
|Los Angeles||66||70||.485||15||Won 4|
|San Diego||60||77||.437||21.5||Lost 7|
(updated 9.2.2011 at 11:32 AM EDT)
Here (as in the American League) is a three-team race for the Wild Card. And again, to use such a term might be a stretch (alright, it is a stretch).
Atlanta, as noted above, is at home for the Dodgers over the weekend, while the Cardinals are home to Cincinnati and the Giants host Arizona.
As has been seen, some races could really blow up this weekend -- or become closer. Will Detroit hold an almost nine-game lead come Monday? Or will the White Sox and the Indians close the gap before Detroit heads to Cleveland on Monday? Will the Giants hold serve at home and put the pressure on the Diamondbacks?
Check back Monday to find out.
As the final month of the regular season begins, only one team has been eliminated from any chance to make the postseason. However, the Houston Astros shouldn't feel too bad, as a few others are going to be joining them soon.
As the home stretch nears, here is the latest look at the standings in each division and in the Wild Card races, as well as who will be playing whom among teams still with a realistic chance to make the playoffs.
The Tigers prepare for a four-game series at home against the Royals, while the White Sox, who have finally overtaken the Tribe for second place in the Central, are at home for three vs. the Twins. The Indians are also at home, for four against the Athletics.
The Yankees finish a series vs. the Orioles in Baltimore on Monday, before New York heads to Boston for a showdown with the Red Sox beginning on Tuesday. The Rays, who refuse to go away, wrap up a series in Toronto before going to Texas to take on the Rangers.
The Angels head to Seattle to face the Mariners in a series beginning on Monday, while the Rangers will be home for the Rays on Tuesday night.
|New York||79||52||.603||0||Won 1|
|Tampa Bay||73||59||.553||6.5||Won 3|
|Los Angeles||72||61||.541||8||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||55||79||.410||25.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.29.2011 at 11:10 AM EDT)
This battle seems to be hanging on by a thread, waiting for one more New ork push, but as it still is alive, we can tell you that the Yankees finish a series in Baltimore today, while the Rays play one more game in Canada before heading for Texas, and the Angels go to the Pacific Northwest to face Seattle.
This decidedly two-team race sees the Phillies heading to Cincinnati to begin a series with the Reds on Monday, while the Braves will entertain the Nationals beginning Tuesday night.
I am ready to concede the division title to the Brewers in the NL Central, With Milwaukee having a magic number of only 18, it might all be over in a couple of weeks in the Majors' largest division.
The defending World Series champion Giants are starting to slip into dangerous territory, but this one is much too early to call. The Diamondbacks are home to take on the Rockies as the week begins, while the Giants will also be home, facing the Chicago Cubs.
|San Francisco||71||63||.529||8.5||Lost 1|
|St. Louis||70||64||.522||9.5||Won 1|
|New York||62||68||.476||15.5||Lost 2|
|Los Angeles||62||70||.469||16.5||Lost 1|
|San Diego||60||74||.447||19.5||Lost 4|
(updated 8.29.2011 at 11:18 AM EDT)
As noted above, the Braves take their healthy Wild Card lead into a series at home vs. Washington, while San Francisco hosts the Cubs. The Cardinals, who are as good as out of contention in the Central but within my 10-game "bubble" of contention for the Wild Card (it is, after all, still August) will begin a series on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Be sure to check back on Friday, when the picture may have become even clearer.
As we get into this last weekend of August, many teams are seeing their hopes for the postseason start to dwindle, if they haven't already disappeared. And magic numbers for leaders in the playoff race now begin to take on real relevance.
Here is our look at the standings as the last weekend of the month is underway. We will show you the current standings, tell you who the contenders will be facing over the next three hurricane-affected days, and give you the magic numbers for such teams as the Tigers (which would of course translate to a "tragic number" for the Indians, as the current second-place squad). Any number in parentheses will be a team's magic number in the body of text:
The Tigers (28) are looking pretty, having gained a full five games on their lead in the past seven days, Detroit is at Minnesota to take on the Twins this weekend, while the Indians entertain the Royals, and the White Sox head for Seattle to face the Mariners.
The Red Sox and the Yankees have the same amount of losses, and so technically there is no magic number in the East at present. Boston will play against the Athletics on Friday and Saturday, with two games being held on Saturday rather than even try to face Irene's wrath and get a game in on Sunday. Meanwhile, New York plays at Baltimore, and The Tampa Bay Rays -- marginally alive -- are in Toronto to face the Blue Jays.
The West is strictly a two-team race, with the Rangers (30) and the Angels ready for a head-to-head showdown in Arlington this weekend.
|New York||78||50||.609||0||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||71||59||.546||8||Won 6|
|Tampa Bay||70||59||.542||8.5||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||54||77||.412||25.5||Won 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:46 AM EDT)
The Yankees (26) are just about assured an AL Wild Card, and as noted above, the Angels are at Texas this weekend while the Rays are in Toronto.
And now for the National League:
The Phillies (27) are at present comfortably ahead of the Braves. Philadelphia entertains the Marlins this weekend in another series affected by Irene, while Atlanta takes on the Mets in New York in -- you guessed it -- another weather-affected series.
This division is a true runaway, with the Brewers (22) having the smallest magic number in the Majors. Milwaukee is home this weekend to the Chicago Cubs, while the Cardinals are also at home to face the Pirates.
This is a two-team race that, in fairness, should probably get at least one more weekend involving three teams, since the Rockies are hot and are capable of making up serious ground at the end of a season, as we discovered a few years ago. The Diamondbacks (29) are home to the Padres this weekend, while the Giants entertain the Astros. And those barely-in-it Rockies are in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers.
|San Francisco||69||62||.526||9.5||Lost 1|
|St. Louis||68||63||.519||10.5||Won 1|
|New York||61||68||.472||16.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||60||69||.465||17.5||Won 3|
|San Diego||60||71||.458||18.5||Lost 1|
(updated 8.26.2011 at 11:54 AM EDT)
The Braves (22) are looking excellent to claim the NL Wild Card, and as noted above are on the road to face the Mets this weekend, while the Giants are home to Houston.
And there we have it. Please check back on Monday, when we will again update -- and perhaps have a team or two less to consider a contender.
The Tampa Bay Rays have won five games in a row to stay alive in the American League East and the AL Wild Card picture, while the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers hold pretty healthy leads in the other two divisions of the Junior Circuit as we head into another week of Major League action.
Here is your latest look at the standings, as well as what the slate of the contenders looks like:
The Yankees take their thinnest of leads to the field at home vs. the Oakland Athletics for a series beginning Tuesday night, while the Red Sox have a challenge heading into Texas to face the Rangers starting Monday. The Rays, who have won five in a row and refuse to go away, open a four-game series at home against the Tigers on Monday night.
As noted above, the Tigers are in Tampa Bay for four games beginning on Monday, while the Indians play four games against Seattle in three days, with a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday against the Mariners. The White Sox, once again only a half-game back of the Indians, are out west starting Tuesday night to take on the Angels in Anaheim.
The Rangers host the Red Sox beginning Monday in what should be a barn-burner of a series in Texas, while the Angels host the Chicago White Sox beginning Tuesday night.
|Tampa Bay||69||56||.552||7.5||Won 5|
|Los Angeles||69||59||.539||9||Won 4|
|Kansas City||52||76||.406||26||Lost 1|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:34 AM EDT)
As can be seen by a look at the Wild Card standings, it is more and more looking as if the East will hold two of the four American League playoff spots, although Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are still hanging on.
It is evident that the Indians will not be a Wild Card, so it is a simple scenario for Cleveland: win the Central or watch the postseason on T.V.
The Braves are making a little run at the Phillies, although -- as in the American League -- it looks as if the East of the NL will have two playoff teams regardless of the division winner, as Atlanta holds a healthy lead for the Wild Card (see below). Philadelphia begins a series at home against the Mets on Monday, while Atlanta heads for Wrigley Field to face the Cubs.
The Brewers enjoy the largest lead in any division at present, and are in Pittsburgh vs, the Pirates beginning Monday, while the only other team that has a prayer will host the Dodgers when Los Angeles comes to St. Louis, also starting on Monday.
The Diamondbacks and the Giants have both struggled as of late, giving the Rockies the faintest breath of life for the postseason. Arizona begins the week in Washington against the Nationals, while San Francisco is at home vs. the Padres and Colorado is home to take on the Astros.
|San Francisco||68||60||.531||8||Won 1|
|St. Louis||67||60||.527||8.5||Won 1|
|New York||60||66||.476||15||Lost 3|
|San Diego||59||70||.457||17.5||Won 4|
|Los Angeles||57||69||.452||18||Lost 2|
(updated 8.22.2011 at 11:43 AM EDT)
The National League Wild Card mirrors the AL, with three teams in the running but -- truly -- one team head and shoulders above the rest.
Thus in both leagues, it is fair to say that in the Central and West Divisions, it is win it or go home.
Check back on Friday when we update again with a look at what's happening entering the last weekend of August.
As we reach the middle of August, things are still good for about half the teams in the Major Leagues and looking pretty grim for the other half or so.
The American League has eight teams either leading or within 10 games of the lead in their division, and the National League has only six.
Here is a team-by-team look at how the contenders stand as of the morning of August 15.
American League --
In the AL East, the Red Sox (73-46) have the thinnest of leads over the Yankees (72-46), while the Rays (64-55) are basically the only other team in contention in this division, albeit barely in contention at nine games behind. As the week begins Boston heads to Tampa Bay for a series the Rays simply must win, and New York is on the road in Kansas City, hoping to beat up on the Royals while their division rivals battle it out.
The AL Central is also a three-team race, and this one is more legitimate than the race in the East. The Tigers (64-56) entertain the Twins at the beginning of the week, while the Indians (60-57 and 2.5 games back) take on the White Sox (60-60) in Chicago.
The West is down to two teams left in contention, with only the Rangers (69-52) and the Angels (65-56) having any shot at the postseason. Los Angeles probably needs to catch Texas, because the Angels trail the Yankees by 8.5 games for the American League Wild Card. The Rangers and Angels open up a critical series in Anaheim on Monday night.
National League --
The National League is even "simpler" than the American, with only six teams in true contention for the four playoff spots.
In the NL East, the Phillies (78-41) continue their runaway for a division crown, with a nine-game lead over Atlanta (70-51).
The NL Central is a two-team race with the Brewers (70-51) a full five games up on St. Louis (65-56). Nobody else in the Central is within 11 games of either a division title or the Wild Card.
The West is also a two-team race with the Diamondbacks (68-53) two games ahead of San Francisco (66-55). Nobody else in the West is within 12 games of a playoff spot, at present.
Be sure to check back on Friday for the latest update as the season winds down to its last 40 or so regular season games. As we all know, the fourth quarter is truly the quarter that counts.
As the season begins to wind down, only 13 teams can truly be considered to be in contention for either a division title or a Wild Card, although I will add one more team this week that is on the very edge of contention. With seven weeks to go, an 8.5 games deficit could be overcome, although the context of who that team would have to catch makes that unlikely.
Be that as it may, here is a look at the standings among contenders as another weekend of the 2011 baseball season commences.
The American League has pretty much boiled down to seven of the 14 teams being out of it, but I will give props to the Rays, since they are within ten games of a playoff spot as things stand right now, and will claim that there are eight teams still in the hunt.
In the AL Central, the Tigers (62-55) saw their lead over the Indians (58-57) trimmed to three games after losing two-of-three in Cleveland. Detroit moves on to Baltimore for a weekend series against the Orioles, while Cleveland will be home for three against the Twins. With the Birds buried in the East and Minnesota always tough for the Tribe, we will consider ourselves fortunate if the deficit is not larger for The Good Guys come Sunday night.
The AL East is essentially a two-team race, but I will -- as said above -- be generous and include Tampa Bay in the mix, at least for now.
The Red Sox (72-44) have a one-game lead over the Yankees (71-45). Boston is in Seattle to take on the Mariners this weekend, while New York will be home to the Rays (63-54). Tampa Bay trails the Yankees by 8.5 games for the Wild Card, so it is fair to say that the Rays simply have to win this series in the Bronx or they can pretty much write off contending in 2011.
The AL West is definitely down to two teams. The Rangers (66-52) hold a two-game advantage over the Angels (64-54). Nobody else is within 12 games of the lead. Texas is at Oakland this weekend, while Los Angeles is in Toronto.
As far as the American League Wild Card goes, New York is firmly in front with an eight-game lead over their nearest challenger, which is Los Angeles.
And by the way? The AL Wild Card isn't going to come from the Central. Even the first-place Tigers trail the Yankees by 9.5 games, and if the Tigers do not hold on to the division lead, they certainly won't at the same time make up enough ground to catch New York (or Boston) for the AL's last playoff spot.
The National League has condensed into just six teams in true contention.
But before we feel sorry for Atlanta having little chance to win the East, consider that the Braves presently hold the NL Wild Card, and are leading San Francisco by five games for that spot.
The NL Central has suddenly become a two-team race where a couple of weeks ago it was a four-team battle. The Brewers (67-51) and the Cardinals (63-55) are the only teams within 10 games of first, as the Pirates and the Reds have both faded out of the picture.
We will check back on Monday for our next update. Will some team that is "out of it" now suddenly get back in? Will the Rays make a move or fall into oblivion?
Come back on Monday and find out.
The Indians blew a golden opportunity during the last road trip, even though winning three of seven in Boston and Texas would -- in a vacuum -- not be considered all that bad.
Since we don't live in a vacuum, the four losses on the trip all had their maddening aspect. Two walk-offs against the Red Sox and two blown leads late in Texas -- including yet another walk-off and a final at-bat win for the Rangers that was not a walk-off -- have to have the Tribe thinking that they could very well have gone 6-1 or even 7-0 during their hell-week trip to two of the AL's division leaders.
Be that as it may, here is a look at how the contenders stand as we enter the second week in August. And as every team has 50 or less games to go, it is time for the screws to tighten on whatever pretenders are still counted among those with a chance at the post-season.
The American League has become, in essence, a seven-team battle for four playoff spots, and to be reasonable, two of those spots are as good as decided already.
The Boston Red Sox (70-43) and the New York Yankees (69-44) sit atop the AL East and -- barring some collapse -- should both easily qualify for the playoffs, either as division champion or as the American League Wild Card.
The Yankees at present sit seven games up for that Wild Card spot over their nearest competitor, the Los Angeles Angels.
Third place in the East belongs to Tampa Bay (59-54), but at ten games behind the Yankees, it is fair to say that only a miracle will get the Rays into October baseball.
The Central has basically become a three-team race, and even that is a bit of a stretch, with the Indians (56-56) and the White Sox (55-58) flirting with .500 while the Tigers (61-53) are starting to look like the team to beat. But the Indians will take on Detroit for three games beginning Tuesday night, and winning two of three at least would keep Cleveland within hailing distance of the lead. However, losing at least two of three would put the Tribe in a hole they might find it difficult to dig out of.
Let's just say it. For more reasons than just the standings, Cleveland must win at least two games, at home, against Detroit. And with Justin Verlander going in one of those games for the Tigers, the Indians cannot afford to slip against Detroit's "lesser" starters.
The White Sox will start a series at Baltimore on Monday, and should the Indians do some damage against Detroit and Chicago find a way to do similar damage to the Orioles, there would be a much more-believable three-team dogfight.
The AL West is as simple as the AL East -- two teams battling it out for the top spot, with everyone else as good as out of it.
The Rangers (64-51) lead the Angels (63-52) by a single game, and there is added pressure on both teams to win the division, for the reason cited earlier -- surely whoever finishes second cannot hope to catch the Yankees for the Wild Card and simultaneously not be good enough to win the West.
The National League is at present basically a six-team race for four spots.
In the East, the Phillies (74-40) might as well start printing playoff tickets, as Philadelphia enjoys an 8.5 game lead on Atlanta (66-49). All other teams in the East might as well be in another time zone.
The Braves, albeit slipping out of contention for the East flag, lead in the NL Wild Card race, although by only 3.5 games over the Diamondbacks and by 4 over the Cardinals, so the NL looks as if it might be a whole lot more dramatic come late September as far as who will sneak into the playoffs without winning a division title.
The Central Division of the National League is morphing into a two-team race after being a four-team fight for a long time.
The Brewers (65-50) have a healthy three-game lead on the Cardinals (62-53). Next are the Reds, but at 9.5 games in arrears of Milwaukee, it is looking as if there will be a new champion in the Central in 2011. And the Pirates, having lost 10 in a row, might as well scuttle the ship of their playoff aspirations for this season.
The NL West is a two-team battle between the Giants (63-52) and the Diamondbacks (62-52), with the other three teams in the division pretty much buried.
Be sure to check back on Friday when we update again. By then, with the (hopefully) dramatic happenings in the American League Central, we won't be talking about a Detroit runaway in the making.
The Indians may well have accomplished a psychological win if nothing else in splitting four games in Boston, especially considering that they well could have won three of the games, or even swept, with a timely hit here or a fly ball a few feet shorter there.
Now the Tribe is off to Texas for three games, but what about the rest of the contenders in the Major Leagues?
The American League still has eight teams at least within ten games of their division lead, and thus, for the sake of argument, still in contention.
Starting first with the Indians' division, the Tigers (59-52) have a three-game lead over Cleveland (55-54), and while the Tribe spends the weekend in Texas against the Rangers, Detroit heads to Kansas City.
Let us hope that the Royals can do to Detroit what they did to the Indians last weekend -- take two of three (at least).
Nobody else in the East is within ten games of the lead -- or for the Wild Card, which is also a tie at the moment between Boston and New York.
Even more than in the East, the AL West is a two-team battle, with the Rangers (62-50) a game up on the Angels (61-51). While the Rangers deal with the Indians this weekend, Los Angeles will be home to take on the Mariners.
As does the American League, the National League also has eight teams "in contention" according to my parameters.
But it is Atlanta that leads in the NL Wild Card chase by 2.5 games over the Diamondbacks (61-50), so a large deficit for a division title is not so daunting to the Braves as of now.
The NL Central is seeing some separation, but four teams have to be considered still in the race.
The NL West is a two-team battle between the Giants (62-50) and Arizona, which resides just a half-game behind the defending champs.
Be sure to check back on Monday, when we take a look at where things stand entering the second week in August.
The Indians enter the first days of August in big trouble in the AL Central, as the Detroit Tigers have opened up a 2.5 game lead over the Tribe as Cleveland heads out on what could be a brutal visit to Boston and Texas.
In this latest look at the standings it will be noted that Detroit's lead is now tied for second for the widest margin in the Majors.
Here is a look at what the contenders in each league look like, and who plays who in the American League at the beginning of the week:
In the AL Central, the Tigers (57-51), as said, lead the Indians (53-52) by 2.5 games. Detroit entertains Texas beginning Tuesday night while the Tribe heads for four in Boston starting Monday.
The White Sox (52-54) find themselves four games back as they get ready to face the Yankees at home beginning Monday, and the Twins (50-58), seven games behind, now face the Angels at home starting on Tuesday.
Only two teams in the AL East are at present in contention, with the Red Sox (66-40) two games ahead of the New York Yankees (64-42). Third place Tampa Bay is 10.5 back, and that, in the East, is surely a near-insurmountable margin.
The AL West is also a two-team race, with the Rangers (61-48) leading the Angels (59-50) by two games.
The AL Wild Card is pretty much a two-team race as well at present, with the Yankees 6.5 games up on the Angels. Next in line, but 8.5 games back in the wild card race, are the Rays.
In case you wonder, the Indians are a full 10.5 games back of the Yankees. In other words, it pretty much boils down to: win the Central or watch the playoffs on TV.
The National League features eight teams that are in or on the cusp of contention. At this stage of the season, I would say that that would be any team within ten games of a division lead, although in truth, it is getting a bit too late even for a team that far back, although of course there is the wild card.
The NL East is assuredly a two-team race, with the Phillies (68-39) checking in six games up on the Braves (63-46). The Braves are the leader in the wild card battle in the National League, 3.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks.
In the NL Central, the Brewers (60-49) have a solid 2.5 game lead over the Cardinals (57-51), while the Pirates (54-52) have faded to 4.5 games back. Also in marginal contention in the Central are the Reds (53-55), 6.5 games in arrears of Milwaukee.
The NL West features a two-team race, with the World Champion Giants (61-47) coming in two games ahead of the Diamondbacks (59-49).
Obviously there is still time for the 14 teams at least ten games back to make a move, and also obviously, a couple of these teams have a much better chance than -- say -- the Astros, owners of baseball's worst record at 35-73.
But in truth, it looks more and more as if each league might have as few as eight teams in contention for four playoff spots as August rolls along.
Be sure to check back on Friday for our next update.
As with the last update, there are eight teams in the American League who can be said to be in legitimate contention, while six AL teams are probably focusing more and more on the off-season.
But there is still a lot of baseball to be played.
Let's take a look at the contenders in each division, and where they stand overall in the standings for the entire league, since one team that is contending will not win a division, but probably will win a wild card.
In the AL East, the Red Sox (62-37) lead the Yankees (59-40) by three games. Frankly, the second-place team in this division will in all probability be the Wild Card, as New York leads in that race at present by 5.5 games over the Angels. The Rays (53-47) are slowly slipping into non-contention land, from which they could possibly recover. But it would take passing at least one of the East juggernauts to do so.
The Central became more of a three-team than a four-team chase over the weekend. The Tigers (54-47) lead the Indians (51-48) by two games, while the White Sox (49-51) are 4.5 back of Detroit, but getting ready to open a series in Chicago against the Tigers.
Meanwhile the Twins (47-54) have slipped seven games off the pace after losing three-of-four at home to Detroit.
The West is a two-team race with the Rangers (58-44) three games up on the Angels (55-47). Nobody else in the West is any closer than 13.5 games.
Cleveland takes on the Angels for three to begin the week, while, as said, the Tigers face the White Sox. The Twins have the unenviable task of going into Texas to take on the red-hot Rangers, while Boston hosts Kansas City and the Yankees face the Seattle Mariners, who have lost 15 in a row as of Monday morning.
We will take a more in-depth look at both leagues in the next update.
As things stand now, the Tigers are a half-game ahead of the Indians, but in the rear-view mirror and approaching fast are the Chicago White Sox, as a two-team race is morphing into a three-team battle.
And the Minnesota Twins, you just have a feeling, are not out of it by a long shot.
Here then is a look at the standings in the Majors, with a focus on the AL Central, and on who will be facing whom this weekend in the Tribe's little cluster of the baseball universe:
The Detroit Tigers (44-38) are, as said, just a half-game ahead of the Indians (42-37). Detroit will be at home this weekend to face the Giants, while the Indians will be in Cincinnati for the Battle of Ohio, part two.
The White Sox (40-42, 4 games behind) will be "on the road" to take on the Cubs on the North Side this weekend.
Meanwhile, and rounding out the Central, the Minnesota Twins (34-45, 8.5 games behind) will be at home to take on Milwaukee, and the Kansas City Royals (33-48, 10.5 games behind) will be in Denver to take on the Rockies.
In the AL East, the New York Yankees (48-31) have the best record in the American league. In second place are the Boston Red Sox (46-34, 2.5 games behind), with the Tampa Bay Rays (45-36, 4 games behind) also in striking distance. Then there is a drop-off to the Toronto Blue Jays (40-42, 9.5 games behind) and the Baltimore Orioles (35-43, 12.5 games behind).
On a side note, I have to say that I am glad that the Indians do not have to face the annual juggernaut of the top three teams in the East that the Blue Jays and Orioles have to contend with.
The AL West is still led by the Texas Rangers (43-39), but the Los Angeles Angels (42-40, 1 game behind) are breathing down the Rangers' necks. The Seattle Mariners (39-42, 3.5 games behind) are next, with the fourth spot in the West going to the fading Oakland Athletics (36-46, 7 games behind).
The Red Sox are at current the leaders in the Wild Card race, with the Indians 3.5 games behind Boston. Translation: it would behoove the Tribe to win the Central, as the Wild Card will probably come from the East, Yes, it is too early to say for sure, but with the power of the top three teams in the East, that is the place where a sensible fan expects the fourth playoff contestant in the American League to come from.
The leaders in the National League East are the Philadelphia Phillies (51-31), who also have the best record in the Major Leagues. The only team within shouting distance of the Phillies are the Atlanta Braves (47-35, 4 games behind), while the New York Mets (41-40), the Washington Nationals (40-41) and the Florida Marlins (36-45) can just about write off any chance at a divisional crown in 2011.
The NL Central is a much tighter division at the top, with the Milwaukee Brewers and the St.Louis Cardinals tied for the lead at 44-38. The surprising Pittsburgh Pirates (41-39) and the Cincinnati Reds (42-40) are both just two games back, and then there is a major chasm before we find the Chicago Cubs (34-48, 10 games back) and the Houston Astros (29-53, 15 games behind).
The National League West has become a two-team race at present with the San Francisco Giants (46-36) on top, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks (44-38 and just 2 games behind). The Colorado Rockies (39-42) are by no means out of it, but it could be said that the San Diego Padres (37-45) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (36-46) are getting close to the point of non-contention.
And there you have it, for another weekend. I will update again on Monday, when baseball gets back to strictly intraleague play -- for a week, at which point everyone will take a break for the All-Star game.
Unfortunately for the scoring-challenged Tribe, there are six more games upcoming on the road in interleague play, and thus six more games where pitchers hit and Travis Hafner is relegated to pinch-hitting.
Here is the latest look at the standings in the Major Leagues, again with emphasis on the American League Central.
The Detroit Tigers (42-36) took over possession of first place on Sunday, although being tied with the Cleveland Indians (40-36) in the loss column. Detroit plays a make-up game on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays before jumping back into interleague play on Tuesday against the New York Mets in Detroit. The Indians, meanwhile, will travel to Arizona beginning Monday for three games with the Diamondbacks.
Rounding out the AL Central are the Kansas City Royals (33-45) and the Minnesota Twins (32-44), who are locked in a virtual tie, nine games behind the Tigers. Kansas City plays in San Diego against the Padres on Monday, while Minnesota will be at home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers to open a three-game set.
The New York Yankees (45-31) are owners of the best record in the American League, but lead the East by only a half-game over the Boston Red Sox (45-32). Breathing down the leaders' necks are the Tampa Bay Rays (44-34, 2 games behind), while the Blue Jays (39-39, 7 games behind) are showing some life, having won three straight. The Baltimore Orioles (35-40, 9.5 games behind) are last in the East.
Meanwhile, in the AL West, the defending American League champions are on top, with the Texas Rangers checking in with a tepid 41-38 mark -- tepid but still good enough to lead the Seattle Mariners (39-39) by a game and a half. The Los Angeles Angels (39-40, 2 games behind) are right in the mix, while there is a slight drop off to the Oakland Athletics (35-44, 6 games behind).
The National League has the team with the best record in baseball with the East-leading Philadelphia Phillies (49-30). The Phillies lead the Atlanta Braves (44-35) by five full games for the largest lead at present in the Majors.
Third in the East are the Washington Nationals (40-38, 8.5 games behind), who are holding their own record-wise. Next are the New York Mets (39-39, 9.5 games behind), while last place in the East goes to the Florida Marlins (34-44, 14.5 games behind).
The NL Central is opening up at the top with the Milwaukee Brewers (44-35) leading the pack. The St.Louis Cardinals (41-38, 3 games behind) have been slipping, and are being threatened by the Pittsburgh Pirates (39-38) and the Cincinnati Reds (40-39), both of whom are four games behind Milwaukee.
The rest of the NL Central is in real danger of being basically out of the race by July 4. The Chicago Cubs (31-46, 12 games behind) and the Houston Astros ((28-51, 16 games behind) will soon need telescopes to see the four teams in front of them, if they do not find lightning in a bottle and turn things around quickly.
The world champion San Francisco Giants (44-34) have won five in a row -- the last three courtesy of the Tribe. Meanwhile, Cleveland's next opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks (43-36, 1.5 games behind) were in first place as recently as Saturday morning, but are now looking up at the Giants.
Third place in the NL West goes to the Rockies (38-39, 5.5 games behind), followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (35-44, 9.5 games behind) and the San Diego Padres (34-45, 10.5 games behind) needing to turn things around to have any hope, now that the Giants are getting things together.
Look for your next update on the goings-on in the standings on Friday morning, when baseball prepares to enter its last weekend of interleague play in the 2011 season.
Cleveland (39-31) embarks on a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at home to begin this week, while the second place Detroit Tigers (39-33 1 game behind) go to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Chicago White Sox (35-38, 5.5 games behind) are home for three against their crosstown rivals, the Cubs.
The Minnesota Twins (31-39, 8 games behind) have been on fire, winning 14-of-16, and have moved into fourth place in the Central. Minnesota now heads to San Francisco to begin the week, while the Kansas City Royals (31-41, 9 games behind) will entertain the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The AL East sees the Boston Red Sox (43-28) on top, followed by the New York Yankees (41-29, 1.5 games behind). The Tampa Bay Rays (39-33, 4.5 games behind) are still within range, but the Toronto Blue Jays (36-36, 7.5 games behind) and the Baltimore Orioles (32-37, 10 games behind) are rapidly digging themselves a hole which it will be hard to crawl out of.
In the AL West, the Texas Rangers (38-35) lead the way, but the Seattle Mariners (37-35, 0.5 games behind) are hot on Texas' trail. After Seattle are the Los Angeles Angels (35-38, 3 games behind), with the Oakland Athletics (33-40, 5 games behind) bringing up the rear.
The National League East is becoming the Philadelphia Phillies' (45-28) playground. Philly checks in at the beginning of the week with the best record in the Major Leagues. The Atlanta Braves (40-33, 5 games behind) are well in the Phillies' rear-view mirror, but do find themselves tied, at present, for the Wild Card lead. Tied for third in the East are the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals, both at 35-37 and both 9.5 games behind, while the Florida Marlins (32-40, 12.5 games behind) are falling shockingly fast, having lost 10 in a row.
The NL Central finds a tie at the top between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St.Louis Cardinals, both of whom check in at 40-33. In third place are the Cincinnati Reds (38-35, 2 games behind). The Pittsburgh Pirates, after being swept by the Indians, have fallen back below .500 at 35-36, but find themselves only four games out of first.
Fifth place in the Central belongs to the Chicago Cubs (29-42, 10 games behind) while the Houston Astros (27-46, 13 games behind) find themselves with the worst record in baseball and the dubious distinction of being the only sixth-place team in the Majors -- helped, of course, by the fact that their division is the only one with six teams.
The NL West is led by the San Francisco Giants (39-33), but the Arizona Diamondbacks (39-34, 0.5 games behind) are hot on their tail. The Indians' next opponent, the Colorado Rockies (35-36, 3.5 games behind) slipped back below .500 with their loss on Sunday to the Tigers, while the West is rounded out by the Los Angeles Dodgers (32-41, 7.5 games behind) and the San Diego Padres (30-43, 9.5 games behind).
As stated above, the Braves are tied for the NL Wild Card lead with both the Brewers and the Cardinals, although, of course, the latter teams are also tied for first in their division.
In the American League the Yankees at present hold down the Wild Card spot, three games ahead of the Rays and the Tigers.
The Indians still lead the AL Central, but that lead has shrunk to a mere one game over the Detroit Tigers, and those Tigers have caught Cleveland in victories with 34 wins.
The Tribe isn't the only team that has been slumping. For example, the New York Yankees -- the Indians' next opponent -- have just been swept (for the second time this season) by the Red Sox at home.
Here is your look at the standings in the Major Leagues, with emphasis on the American League:
American League Central -
American League East -
American League West -
The National League has three fairly tight races, with the division-leader with the biggest lead being the St.Louis Cardinals leading the National League Central by 2.5 games over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cincinnati Reds are next, 5 games back, followed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6.5 behind, and the Chicago Cubs, who trail by 11.5 games. In the dust and in last place in the Central are the Houston Astros, languishing 13.5 games behind and with the largest deficit in the Majors.
The National League East sees the Philadelphia Phillies 2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves, while the slumping Florida Marlins have dropped to third, 5 full games behind. The New York Mets find themselves trailing by 6.5 games, and the Washington Nationals have fallen 10 games behind the Phillies.
Finally, in the National League West, the San Francisco Giants are on top, but only by a game over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Third place in the West goes to the Colorad Rockies, 4.5 behind, while at 6.5 back and deadlocked for fourth place are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
Be sure to check back on Monday for a look at how the standings change after this second weekend in June.
Even after losing six of their last nine games, the Indians still hold onto the best record in the Major Leagues, albeit by percentage points over the Philadelphia Phillies, as we head into the first weekend of June.
Ah, June, when many teams which have been hot in the cooler months of spring begin to wilt in the increasing heat. An increasing heat both literal, as the temperatures rise, and metaphoric, as the pressure rises to stay on top while rivals begin to draw closer (as the Tigers have drawn to within 4.5 games of the Tribe).
Here is a detailed look at the American League standings and upcoming schedules for the AL, and a thumbnail peek at the National as we move well past the one-third-of-the-season stage:
American League Central -
American League East -
American League West -
The Philadelphia Phillies lead the National League East by two games over the Florida Marlins, while the Atlanta Braves are 3.5 back. Then there is a significant drop-off to the New York Mets, eight behind, and the Washington Nationals, who find themselves nine full games back.
The National League Central is led by the St.Louis Cardinals, who have a two-game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers and a 3.5 game margin over the Cincinnati Reds. The Pittsburgh Pirates are fourth in the Central, 5.5 games behind, followed by the Chicago Cubs, eight games back, and the Houston Astros, who find themselves 9.5 back of the Cardinals.
Finally, in the National League West, the World Champion San Francisco Giants are only a half-game in front of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The slumping Colorado Rockies are 4.5 behind, with the West rounded out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in fourth place, 5.5 games in arrears, and the San Diego Padres, coming into this weekend 7.5 games in the Giants' rear-view mirror.
And there we have it, our latest look at who plays whom and what is what in the AL especially and the Major Leagues in general. Be sure to look for the next update, as the screw start tightening for some teams, and other teams begin to get into their annual contention mode.
The Indians, even after their woes in the last two games against Boston, are the only division-leader with a sizable advantage as we head into the last weekend of May. The Tribe's six-game lead over the Tigers is 3.5 games better than the Cardinals' 2.5 lead over the Brewers.
Here is your Friday look at the standings and the American League schedules for the weekend.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 30-17 .638 0 Games Behind -- Up Next: @Tampa Bay Friday-Sunday
Detroit Tigers 25-24 .510 6 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs. Boston Friday-Sunday
Chicago White Sox 24-28 8.5 Games Behind -- Up Next: @ Toronto Friday-Sunday
Kansas City Royals 22-27 .449 9 Games Behind -- Up Next: @ Texas Friday-Sunday
Minnesota Twins 16-32 .333 14.5 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs. Angels Friday-Sunday
American League East -
New York Yankees 27-21 .562 0 Games Behind -- Up Next: @ Seattle Friday-Sunday
Boston Red Sox 28-22 .560 0 Games Behind -- Up Next: @ Detroit Friday-Sunday
Tampa Bay Rays 26-23 .531 1.5 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs. Cleveland Friday-Sunday
Baltimore Orioles 24-24 .500 3 Games Behind -- Up Next: @ Oakland Friday-Sunday
Toronto Blue Jays 24-26 .480 4 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs White Sox Friday-Sunday
American League West -
Texas Rangers 26-24 .520 0 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs. Kansas City Friday-Sunday
Los Angeles Angels 26-26 ,500 1 Game Behind -- Up Next: @ Minnesota Friday-Sunday
Seattle Mariners 24-25 .490 1.5 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs. Yankees Friday-Sunday
Oakland Athletics 24-27 .471 2.5 Games Behind -- Up Next: vs. Baltimore Friday-Sunday
The National League features the St.Louis Cardinals in the Central with a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cincinnati Reds have slipped to four games behind.
The NL East sees the Philadelphia Phillies on top by only a game over the Florida Marlins, with the Atlanta Braves in third place, 3.5 games back.
And the National League West has the San Francisco Giants a game and a half clear of the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the Colorado Rockies having slipped to third place and under .500 after their fast start.
And there is your somewhat abbreviated look at the standings. I have streamlined it a bit to make it less "wordy", but I would appreciate any input from you, the reader, into how you would like to see things written-up in the future. This column can always be a work in progress, and your contributions would be welcomed and implemented if they were good suggestions for what I am trying to do here.
After the first weekend of inter-league play of 2011, the Indians have seen their lead over the Tigers expand to seven full games, while in the AL East, the Yankees are percentage points ahead of the Rays and the Red Sox are only a half-game out as Boston comes to Cleveland. The AL West has the Rangers on top at only a game over .500.
Here is your Monday look at the standings in the Major Leagues, as well as a look at early-week action in the American League.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 29-15 .659 0 Games Behind -- The Indians finished off a sweep of the Reds on Sunday and find themselves well clear of the Tigers, for now. Now the Boston Red Sox come to Cleveland for a three-game series beginning on Monday night.
Detroit Tigers 23-23 .500 7 Games Behind -- The Tigers dropped the first two games in Pittsburgh before salvaging the finale of their series with the Pirates on Sunday, As the new week begins, the Tampa Bay Rays come to Detroit for a three-game set starting on Monday, before the Red Sox come to town for a series beginning on Thursday.
Kansas City Royals 22-24 .478 8 Games Behind -- The Royals are sinking rapidly, and are coming off of having lost two of three at home against the St.Louis Cardinals. Now Kansas City goes to Baltimore for three with the Orioles, beginning on Tuesday evening.
Chicago White Sox 22-26 .458 9 Games Behind -- The White Sox are playing well and have crept to within two games of second place after taking two of three at home vs. the Dodgers. Chicago plays three in Texas Monday through Wednesday, before heading to Toronto to begin a series with the Blue Jays on Thursday.
Minnesota Twins 15-30 .333 14.5 Games Behind -- The Twins continue to sink in the Central, after being swept in Arizona by the Diamondbacks. Minnesota is back home for three with the Mariners beginning on Monday night.
American League East -
New York Yankees 25-20 .556 0 Games Behind -- The Yankees took two-of-three from their rivals from New York over the weekend, and now welcome Toronto for three games against the Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay Rays 26-21 .553 0 Games Behind -- Only percentage points separate the Rays and the Yankees after Florida took two of three over the weekend against Tampa Bay. The Rays go to Detroit for a three-game set starting Monday night against the Tigers.
Boston Red Sox 25-21 .543 .5 Games Behind -- The Red Sox took two of three from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, and now stop off for three in Cleveland starting on Monday before moving over to Detroit for a series beginning on Thursday.
Toronto Blue Jays 23-23 .500 2.5 Games Behind -- Toronto lost two of three over the weekend at home against the Houston Astros, and now must go to New York for three games against the Yankees starting on Monday. Then the Blue Jays return home to open a series with the White Sox on Thursday.
Baltimore Orioles 21-24 .467 4 Games Behind -- The Orioles took two of three from the Washington Nationals this past weekend, and now welcome Kansas City for a three-game set beginning on Tuesday.
American League West -
Texas Rangers 24-23 .511 0 Games Behind -- In the tightly-bunched West, the Rangers crept over .500 on Sunday when they salvaged the final game of three in Philadelphia. Texas is back home on Monday to start a three-game set with the White Sox.
Los Angeles Angels 24-24 .500 .5 Games Behind -- The Angels took two of three from the Braves at home over the weekend, and now entertain the Oakland A's for four games beginning on Monday night.
Seattle Mariners 22-24 .478 1.5 Games Behind -- The Mariners are getting hot, having just swept three games in San Diego against the Padres. Next Seattle heads to Minnesota for three games with the Twins starting on Monday.
Oakland Athletics 22-25 .468 2 Games Behind -- The A's have slipped into last place in the West but are only two games out of first after being swept in San Francisco. Oakland will try to regroup starting on Monday when they travel to Anaheim to take on the Angels in a four-game series.
In the National League Central the St.Louis Cardinals (28-20) benefited from the Indians sweep of the Cincinnati Reds (25-22) to open a little margin. The Milwaukee Brewers (24-23) are next, followed by the Pittsburgh Pirates (22-24). The Chicago Cubs (20-25) are fifth, while the Houston Astros (17-30) languish in last place, 10.5 games behing.
The National League East sees the Philadelphia Phillies (28-18) on top, with the Florida Marlins (26-19) within striking range. Next are the Atlanta Braves (26-23), and then there is a drop-off to the New York Mets (22-24) and the Washington Nationals (21-25).
Finally, in the National League West, the San Francisco Giants (27-19) are firmly in first, followed by the Colorado Rockies (23-22) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (23-23). Bringing up the rear in the West are the Los Angeles Dodgers (21-27) and the San Diego Padres (19-28).
And there you have it, your Major League standings as a new week begins. Be sure to check back on Friday for another update.
This is the time of year when things start to get interesting. Up until now the cumulative wins and losses of both leagues adds up to a .500 record, but now inter-league play starts, and if a team cannot hold their own in inter-league and other teams in their divisions excel, it can put a team in a hole.
When the Indians were winning six of seven division titles in the last '90s and early '00s it was due in large part to being dominant against the National League. In the past few years that has not been the case, and it has been reflected in the final record. But now in 2011, the Tribe is having a renaissance. It will be important for continued success to fare well in the 18 scheduled inter-league games that Cleveland will play in 2011.
Note: Since every American League team was scheduled to play back-to-back two-game series to begin this week, I will forgo being redundant and saying "X split two games with Y and swept two from Z". For this edition of our Standings Update, I will simply give the won/lost totals for each team for Monday through Thursday. Those totals will not always add up to four games, as weather did play a factor in early-week action. Also note that, since all series this weekend are three-game sets (no wraparound four-game series this time around), I will forgo saying "team X will play three this weekend against team Y". No sense numbing your mind with a bunch of redundancies with "twos" and "threes".
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 26-15 .634 0 Games Behind -- The Tribe has gone 2-2 so far this week, and welcomes their downstate rivals to Progressive Field this weekend when the Cincinnati Reds come to Cleveland.
Detroit Tigers 22-21 .512 5 Games Behind -- The Tigers are looking for their first win of the week, having gone 0-3 thus far. Now Detroit goes to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates.
Kansas City Royals 21-22 .488 6 Games Behind -- The Royals pulled one out last night against Texas and has gone 1-3 this week. Kansas City is home this weekend to take on their in-state rivals when the St.Louis Cardinals pay a visit.
Chicago White Sox 20-25 .444 8 Games Behind -- The White Sox, after sweeping the Indians, are 3-1 this week, and now welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to town, in a rematch of the 1959 World Series' opponents.
Minnesota Twins 15-27 .357 11.5 Games Behind -- The Twins have won three in a row and are 3-1 on the week, as they head to Arizona this weekend to take on the Diamondbacks.
American League East -
Tampa Bay Rays 25-19 .568 0 Games Behind -- The Rays have gone 2-2 so far this week, and now head to the Atlantic Coast-side of Florida to take on the Marlins this weekend.
New York Yankees 23-19 .548 1 Game Behind -- The Yankees have gone 3-1 on Monday-Thursday and now the action heats up in New York as the Mets come to the Bronx for an intense weekend series.
Baltimore Orioles 19-23 .452 5 Games Behind -- The Orioles are slipping back again, having gone 0-3 to start this week, Now it is time for a neighborhood rivalry of sorts when the Washington Nationals visit Baltimore this weekend.
American League West -
Texas Rangers 23-21 .523 0 Games Behind -- The Rangers have gone 2-2 at the beginning of the week but have overtaken the slumping Angels for first in the West. Texas now goes to the Keystone State to take on the Phillies in Philadelphia.
Oakland Athletics 22-22 .500 1 Game Behind -- The A's have also passed the Angels simply by going 2-2 to start the week. It will be fun and games this weekend when Oakland heads across the Bay to take on the San Francisco Giants in a renewal of a bitter rivalry.
Los Angeles Angels 22-23 .489 1.5 Games Behind -- It's hard to believe that this is the same team that has given the Indians so much trouble this year. The Angels have lost five straight and are 0-4 on the week, as they face the Atlanta Braves in Anaheim this weekend.
Seattle Mariners 19-24 .442 3.5 Games Behind -- It's anybody's division so far in the West as the Mariners, after slumping for much of the season, win a couple of games and find themselves only 3.5 out of first. Seattle has gone 3-1 this week and now travel to San Diego to take on the Padres.
In the National League Central, the St.Louis Cardinals (26-19) have climbed back into first, just ahead of the Cincinnati Reds (25-19). After these two teams there is quite a drop-ff to the Milwaukee Brewers (21-23) in third. Next are the Pittsburgh Pirates (20-23), while the Chicago Cubs (19-23) are fifth, with the Houston Astros (15-29) now sporting the worst record in the Majors and 10.5 games behind the Cardinals.
The National League East sees the Philadelphia Philles (26-17) leading the way, with the Florida Marlins (24-18) not too far behind. The same can be said of the Atlanta Braves (25-21). The New York Mets (21-22) enter the weekend a tick below .500, and the East sees the Washington Nationals (20-23) in last place.
Finally, the the National League West, the San Francisco Giants (24-19) have the thinnest of leads over the Colorado Rockies (23-19). The Arizona Diamondbacks (20-23) are improving and have slipped into third, while the Los Angeles Dodgers (20-25) are enduring struggles on and off the field and are five games back of the Giants. Fifth and last in the West are the San Diego Padres (19-25), just a half-game from dropping the Dodgers into the cellar.
And there is our look at the standings until Monday. This brief taste of inter-league play will only last the weekend, before a gap that will stretch until June 17, when the meat of the inter-league slate will kick in.
The baseball season is just about a quarter of the way over. While the Indians have only managed to get in 37 games thus far, there is more than one team that has already passed 40, and several others have at least 40, and so we can rightly say that the season is about 25% of the way over.
The Indians held onto the best record in the American League over the weekend, although they only ended up playing one game. This week features a slew of two-game series between Monday and Thursday.
Let's take a look at where things stand as we enter the second half of May and the second quarter of the 2011 season.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 24-13 .649 0 Games Behind -- The Indians only got one of their three scheduled games against Seattle in over the weekend. This week begins with a two-game set in Kansas City against the Royals, followed by two more against the White Sox in Chicago.
Detroit Tigers 22-18 .550 3.5 Games Behind -- The Tigers are on a roll, having won seven in a row. Over the weekend Detroit took two from the Royals but were rained out yesterday at home. This week starts off with two in Detroit against Toronto, before the Tigers go to Boston for two vs. the Red Sox.
Kansas City Royals 20-19 .513 5 Games Behind -- The Royals lost the first two of a three-game set against the Tigers before being rained out yesterday. On Monday Kansas City hosts Cleveland for the first of two games, before the Royals welcome Texas for another pair, against the Rangers.
Chicago White Sox 17-24 .415 9 Games Behind -- The White Sox went into Oakland over the weekend and took 2-of-3 from the A's, but still languish far in the Indians' rear-view mirror. This week begins for Chicago with a pair at home against Texas, and then Cleveland comes to the Windy City for two more.
Minnesota Twins 12-26 .316 12.5 Games Behind -- The Twins are free-falling, having dropped eight in a row after having been swept at home by Toronto over the weekend. Now Minnesota tries to right their ship beginning Monday as they head to Seattle for two, followed by two more in Oakland.
American League East -
Tampa Bay Rays 23-17 .575 0 Games Behind -- The Rays have barged into first place in the East, but did drop the last two of three games at home against Baltimore over the weekend. Tampa Bay opens a big two-game set with the Yankees in Florida on Monday, then on Wednesday head to Toronto for two against the Blue Jays
New York Yankees 20-18 .526 2 Games Behind -- The Yankees are in a funk, having just been swept by Boston in three games at Yankee Stadium and losers of five straight. Now New York goes to Tampa Bay for two with the first-place Rays beginning on Monday, followed by two more in Baltimore starting on Wednesday.
Boston Red Sox 20-20 .500 3 Games Behind -- The Red Sox have reached .500 for the first time this season and did it in the most impressive fashion possible, sweeping three games in New York. Now Boston returns home for two vs. the Orioles, before hosting Detroit for two beginning on Wednesday.
Toronto Blue Jays 20-20 .500 3 Games Behind -- The Blue Jays duplicated the Red Sox' feat, sweeping Minnesota over the weekend to reach .500. Toronto plays on Monday and Tuesday in Detroit, then return to Canada to host the Rays for two games starting Wednesday.
Baltimore Orioles 19-20 .487 3.5 Games Behind -- The Orioles round out the tightly-packed East, having won two of three against the Rays on the road. Baltimore plays in Boston on Monday and Tuesday before hosting the Yankees the next two days.
American League West -
Los Angeles Angels 22-19 .537 0 Games Behind -- The Angels are barely holding on to the top spot in the West after dropping 2-of-3 in Texas over the weekend, Los Angeles' road trip continues now with two games in Oakland and two more further up the coast in Seattle.
Texas Rangers 21-19 .525 .5 Games Behind -- The Rangers crept closer to first place by taking two out of three at home against the Angels. Now Texas goes on the road for two in Chicago against the White Sox, followed by two more in Kansas City.
Oakland Athletics 20-20 .500 1.5 Games Behind -- The A's had a chance to perhaps claim first in the West over the weekend, but dropped 2-of-3 to the White Sox at home. Oakland now has another chance to move up when they entertain the Angels for two games beginning on Monday, with the Twins coming into town for two more games beginning on Wednesday.
Seattle Mariners 16-23 .410 5 Games Behind -- The Mariners are the only team not in the mix at the top of the tightly-contested West. Seattle dropped their only game of the weekend on Friday in Cleveland, and this week returns home to take on Minnesota for two, with the Angels following the Twins into town for two more.
Meanwhile, the National League Central has seen the Cincinnati Reds (23-17) take over first place, followed by the St.Louis Cardinals (22-19) after a Reds' sweep of St. Louis over the weekend. In third in the Central are the Milwaukee Brewers (19-21), followed by the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-22) and the Chicago Cubs (17-21) in a virtual tie for fourth. Last in the Central are the Houston Astros (15-25).
The National League East has the Philadelphia Phillies (25-14) on top, followed by the Florida Marlins (23-16). The Atlanta Braves (23-19) check in at third in the East, and then there is a tie for fourth between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals, both of whom start the week with a record of 19-21.
Finally, in the National League West, the defending world champion San Francisco Giants (22-17) are leading the pack, followed by the Colorado Rockies (20-18), who have been slipping mightily. Third in the West goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers (19-22), followed closely by the Arizona Diamondbacks (17-22) and the San Diego Padres (17-23).
And there, once again, is your look at the current standings in Big League baseball. Be sure to check back again on Friday for an update that will reflect a lot of results from two-game sets in the American League.
As we near the middle of May, the Indians have seen their momentum slowed by back-to-back series in which they lost two of three. The Royals are still hanging in there and the Tigers are coming on strong. In the AL East, the Rays have managed to overtake the Yankees for the top spot.
As the weekend begins, here is another look at the standings in baseball, and at who plays whom in the American League over the next three days.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 23-13 .639 0 Games Behind -- The Indians have lost two series in a row to come back to the pack a bit after dropping two of three to Tampa Bay. Now the Seattle Mariners come to town for three games beginning Friday night.
Kansas City Royals 20-17 .541 3.5 Games Behind -- The Royals come off of having gone into Yankee Stadium and winning two of three from New York. Kansas City now goes to Detroit for three in a battle for second place in the Central against the Tigers.
Detroit Tigers 20-18 .546 4 Games Behind -- The Tigers are hot, having won five in a row after taking two from the Twins earlier this week. Detroit welcomes Kansas City to Motown for three games this weekend, with the winner of the series finding themselves in second place come Monday.
Chicago White Sox 15-23 .395 9 Games Behind -- The White Sox managed something that the Indians were unable to in two trips into Anaheim -- Chicago took two of three from the Angels. Now the Sox head up the coast for three games in Oakland.
Minnesota Twins 12-23 .343 10.5 Games Behind -- The Twins had a short first four days of this week, playing only two games, both against the Tigers, and both losses, to sink firmly into the Central cellar. This weekend the Twins entertain the Toronto Blue Jays for three games.
American League East -
Tampa Bay Rays 22-15 .595 0 Games Behind -- The Rays have completed a comeback from a 1-8 start to vault to the top of the East after taking two of three in Cleveland. Tampa Bay goes back home to Florida now for three games against Baltimore.
New York Yankees 20-15 .571 1 Game Behind -- After losing two of three to Kansas City, the Yankees find themselves looking up at the Tampa Bay Rays. Now comes a fun weekend for one and all as New York hosts Boston for three games against the Red Sox.
Baltimore Orioles 17-19 .472 4.5 Games Behind -- The up-and-down Orioles are up again after sweeping three from Seattle at home, but now have the unenviable task (ask the Indians) of facing Tampa Bay for three games in a weekend series.
Boston Red Sox 17-20 .459 5 Games Behind -- The Red Sox keep getting to the cusp of .500 and dropping back, as they did again this week by being swept in a two-game mini series in Toronto. Now Boston gets to have fun and play three games in the Bronx against the Yankees.
Toronto Blue Jays 17-20 .459 5 Games Behind -- Toronto got a little energized by winning two in a row at home against the Red Sox to stay within five games in the East, and now head to Minnesota for three games against the stumbling Twins.
American League West -
Los Angeles Angels 21-17 .553 0 Games Behind -- The Angels slipped in their series at the beginning of the week, losing two of three at home against the White Sox, and now head to Texas for an important three-game set with the defending AL champion Rangers.
Oakland Athletics 19-18 .514 1.5 games Behind -- The Athletics split two games in Texas before the scheduled third game of their series with the Rangers was washed out, and find themselves tied for second in the West as they return home for three games with the White Sox this weekend.
Texas Rangers 19-18 .514 1.5 Games Behind -- The Rangers were on fire in the early going, but now find themselves only a game above .500 after splitting a pair with Oakland. Now the Rangers entertain Los Angeles for a big three-game set against the first place Angels.
Seattle Mariners 16-22 .421 5 Games Behind -- Seattle comes off of being swept in three games in Baltimore, and now take on the Indians for three in Cleveland, after having been swept by the Tribe earlier this season in Seattle.
In the National League Central, the St.Louis Cardinals (22-16) lead the way, with the Cincinnati Reds (20-17) within a game and a half. Then there is a drop-off to the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-19) in third. The Chicago Cubs (16-20) are fourth, with the Milwaukee Brewers (16-21) a half-game back in fifth. The Houston Astros (14-23) are sixth, 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals.
The National League East has the Philadelphia Phillies (24-12) on top with the best record in the majors. The Florida Marlins (21-15) have slipped back a bit, followed by the Atlanta Braves (21-18). The Washington Nationals (18-19) are next, 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies, with the New York Mets (17-20) another game back and in last place.
Finally, in the National League West, the world champion San Francisco Giants (21-16) have overtaken the free-falling Colorado Rockies (19-16). The Los Angeles Dodgers (18-20) trail their ancient rivals by 3 1/2 games, with the Arizona Diamondbacks (15-21 next, and the San Diego Padres (15-22) last in the West, six games back of the Giants.
And there you have it. Please check back on Monday for the results from this weekend, and a preview of a week that starts with a lot of two-game series in the American League
After a trip to the West Coast, the Indians are back home with their 13-game home streak set to be tested by the Tampa Bay Rays beginning on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile the Angels have climbed to the top in the AL West and the Yankees lead the East, although the Rays are breathing down New York’s neck.
Here is another look at the standings as we head for the middle of May:
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 22-11 .667 0 Games Behind — After completing a West Coast swing by losing two of three in Anaheim for the second time this season over the weekend, the Indians come back home, and begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, knowing that the Rays have won eight in a row on the road.
Kansas City Royals 18-16 .529 4.5 Games Behind — The Royals lost two-of-three at home against Oakland and failed to take advantage and gain ground on the Indians. Now Kansas City takes to the road for three in New York against the Yankees beginning Tuesday night.
Detroit Tigers 17-18 .486 6 Games Behind — The Tigers have won two of the first three games in Toronto of a four-game series that concludes on Monday. Then Detroit goes to Minnesota for an abbreviated two-game set with the Twins beginning on Tuesday.
Minnesota Twins 12-20 .375 9.5 Games Behind — The Twins have dropped two straight after winning the first of a four-game set in Boston. That series with the Red Sox concludes on Monday, before the Twins go back home to take on the Tigers for two games beginning Tuesday.
Chicago White Sox 13-22 .371 10 Games Behind — The White Sox took two of three from Seattle over the weekend, and now have the task of going to Anaheim and taking on the Angels in three games beginning Monday.
American League East -
New York Yankees 19-13 .594 0 Games Behind — The Yankees have seen the Rays pull into a virtual tie for first place even though New York went into Texas and won two of three over the weekend. Now the Yankees welcome the Royals to the Bronx for three games beginning Tuesday.
Tampa Bay Rays 20-14 .588 0 Games Behind — The Rays went into Baltimore over the weekend and swept the Orioles to run their road winning streak to a club single-season record eight in a row. Something will have to give when Tampa Bay takes that streak to Cleveland — where the Indians have won thirteen in a row — for a three-game set beginning on Tuesday.
Boston Red Sox 16-18 .471 4 Games Behind — The Red Sox have climbed to third in the East, more due to the failings of Toronto and Baltimore than to their own achievements. But Boston has won their last two, and wrap up a four-game set with Minnesota on Monday at Fenway. Then the Red Sox go to Toronto for a quick two games with the Blue Jays beginning Tuesday night.
Toronto Blue Jays 15-19 .441 5 Games Behind — After winning the first of four against Detroit on Friday, the Blue Jays have lost the last two — including being no-hit by Justin Verlander. That series wraps up on Monday before Toronto welcomes Boston for two games starting Tuesday.
Baltimore Orioles 14-19 .424 5.5 Games Behind — After a 6-1 start the Orioles have slipped all the way into the cellar in the East after being swept at home by Tampa Bay in three games over the weekend. The Birds now take on the Mariners for three games at home, starting on Tuesday night.
American League West -
Los Angeles Angels 20-15 .571 0 Games Behind — After the Angels took two of three from the Indians over the weekend, Los Angeles finds itself in first place in the West. Now the White Sox come to town for a three-game set starting on Monday.
Oakland Athletics 18-17 .514 2 Games Behind — By taking two-of-three in Kansas City, the A’s have caught the Texas Rangers and are tied for second in the West. Now comes a showdown with those same Rangers in Arlington, where the two teams will play a three-game set beginning on Monday.
Texas Rangers 18-17 .514 2 Games Behind — The defending American League champions have been scuffling, and after losing two of three to the Yankees at home now find themselves tied with their next opponent, the Oakland Athletics, with whom the Rangers start a three-game series at home on Monday night.
Seattle Mariners 16-19 .457 4 Games Behind — The Mariners have been able to get ever-so-close to .500, but after losing the last two of three against the White Sox, Seattle has fallen back again. The Mariners now go to Baltimore for three games, beginning Tuesday night.
In the National League Central, the St.Louis Cardinals (20-15) lead the way by a game and a half over the Cincinnati Reds (18-16). In third place and two and a half back are the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates (17-17), while the Chicago Cubs (15-18) check in four full games back. Next are the Milwaukee Brewers (14-20), five and a half behind, and last place still belongs to the Houston Astros (13-21), who find themselves six and a half games behind the Cardinals.
In the National League East, the Philadelphia Phillies (22-11) lead the way, tied with the Indians for the best record in the majors. Two games behind are the Florida Marlins (20-13), while the Atlanta Braves (20-16) have been playing well to get to within three and a half games. In fourth place are the Washington Nationals (16-18), with the New York Mets (15-19) in last place, seven and a half behind the Phillies.
In the National League West, the Colorado Rockies (18-14) are really scuffling and are seeing their lead shrink away. Right behind the Rockies are the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants (18-16), now only a game behind. Third in the West belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers (16-19), who find themselves three and a half behind, while the Arizona Diamondbacks (15-18) are in a virtual tie with the Dodgers. The San Diego Padres (14-20) check in at last in the West, but are only five games from the top of the West.
Please check back on Friday for our next look at the standings in advance of a busy weekend of action.
With my unique vantage point in central Pennsylvania, I find myself sandwiched between the two best teams in baseball at this point in 2011. The Indians to the west and the Philadelphia Phillies to the east both check in at 21-9 as we head into the sixth weekend of the season.
Here, again, is our look at the Major League standings, with an emphasis on the American League -- where teams have been, where they are going, and how they have done.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 21-9 .700 0 Games Behind -- Here we are, well into the second month of the season, and the Indians continue to cruise along at a .700 clip, after having taken two of three in Oakland, It doesn't get any easier this weekend as Cleveland goes to Anaheim for three against the Los Angeles Angels.
Kansas City Royals 17-14 .548 4.5 Games Behind -- The Royals took two out of three from the Orioles at home to extend a decent run to 5-1. Now Kansas City welcomes the Oakland Athletics to town for a three-game weekend set.
Detroit Tigers 15-17 .469 7 Games Behind -- Detroit was looking dead in the water at the beginning of the week, but, after losing the first of four against New York, the Tigers won three straight over the Yankees to keep within hailing distance of the Indians. Now the Tigers go to Toronto for four games with the Blue Jays in a series which extends through Monday.
Minnesota Twins 11-18 .379 9.5 Games Behind -- The Twins have played only two games this week, sweeping an abbreviated set in Chicago. The first of those games was a no-hitter for Minnesota's Francisco Liriano. Now the Twins go to Boston for a four-game wraparound weekend series with the Red Sox.
Chicago White Sox 11-21 .344 11 Games Behind -- After beating Baltimore on Monday, the White Sox dropped games on the next two days to Minnesota, and after an off-day yesterday, Chicago heads to Seattle to kick off a road trip with three against the Mariners.
American League East -
New York Yankees 17-12 .586 0 Games Behind -- There may be trouble in Yankee-town as New York dropped the last three games of a four-game set against the Tigers in Detroit. It doesn't get any easier for the Yankees this weekend, as they head into Arlington for three games with the Texas Rangers.
Tampa Bay Rays 17-14 .548 1 Game Behind -- The Rays creep ever-closer to first place in the East after their awful start. After taking two out of three at home against Toronto, Tampa Bay now heads to Baltimore for three this weekend versus the Orioles.
Baltimore Orioles 14-16 .467 3.5 Games Behind -- Baltimore finds themselves in the middle of the pack in the East, but only a half-game from last place. After losing in Chicago on Monday, the Orioles dropped two of three in Kansas City, and now comes back home for three games against Tampa Bay.
Boston Red Sox 14-17 .452 4 Games Behind -- The Red Sox got the week off to a good start, beating the Angels on Monday and Tuesday, but Los Angeles returned the favor by winning in Boston on Wednesday and Thursday. Now the Red Sox entertain the Twins in a four-game set that concludes on Monday.
Toronto Blue Jays 14-17 .452 4 Games Behind -- After dropping two or three in Tampa against the Rays, the Blue Jays now come back home for four games with the Tigers, in a series which stretches through Monday in Toronto.
American League West -
Los Angeles Angels 18-14 .562 0 Games Behind -- After losing the first two games of four in Boston, the Angels rebounded to win the last two and split the series, Now Los Angeles goes back home and begins a three-game set with Cleveland on Friday night.
Texas Rangers 17-15 .531 1 Game Behind -- The defending American League champions are scuffling a bit but are always dangerous. After losing in Oakland on Monday, Seattle took two of three from the Rangers in Seattle as the week continued. Now Texas returns home to face the Yankees in a three-game weekend set in Arlington.
Oakland Athletics 16-16 .500 2 Games Behind -- The A's beat Texas on Monday, and then dropped two out of three to the Indians to wrap up a home-stand. Now Oakland goes to their "old home" in Kansas City for three games with the Royals this weekend.
Seattle Mariners 15-17 .469 3 Games Behind -- The Mariners have improved since a bad start to 2011, and that improvement continued when they took two of three at home against the Texas Rangers. This weekend Seattle has three at home against the reeling White Sox.
In the National League East, Philadelphia (21-9) is holding off the stubborn Florida Marlins (19-11) for first place. Next in line in third are the Atlanta Braves (18-15) coming in 4 1/2 games behind. The rest of the East included the Washington Nationals (14-17) and the New York Mets (13-18).
The NL Central continues to look congested, but there has been a little separation between top and bottom. The St.Louis Cardinals (18-14) lead the Central, with the Cincinnati Reds (16-15) a game-and-a-half behind. Next are the Pittsburgh Pirates (15-16), who have to be thrilled to be this close to .500 at this stage of the season. The Chicago Cubs (14-16) are right on the heels of the Pirates, with the Milwaukee Brewers (13-18) and the Houston Astros (12-19) rounding out this division wherein there are only 5 1/2 games separating first place from sixth.
In the West, the Colorado Rockies (18-11) have cooled down a bit, but still enjoy a four-game lead over the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants (15-16). Right behind the Giants are the Los Angeles Dodgers (15-17) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (14-16), while the San Diego Padres (12-19) languish seven games behind.
And there you have it as we get set for a full weekend of fun. Be sure to look for another edition of this Update on Monday.
As May begins, the Indians keep rolling right along. After their sweep of a six-game homestand, Cleveland finds itself a full 4 1/2 games ahead of the Royals...and after that there is a gulf between second and third, and then between third and fourth.
Can the Tribe maintain their advantage during an upcoming six-game West Coast swing? We will see, and while we are at it, here is your look at the latest standings in the Major Leagues.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 19-8 .704 0 Games Behind -- The Indians, after sweeping both Kansas City and Detroit at home last week, now head to the West Coast for six games. After a day off today, Cleveland is back in action on Tuesday night against the Athletics as a three-game set begins in Oakland.
Kansas City Royals 15-13 .536 4.5 Games Behind -- The Royals rebounded nicely at home, sweeping the Minnesota Twins to once again edge over .500. Kansas City also broke clear of the pack below them and have a three-game lead over third-place Detroit. The Royals begin a three-game series at home against Baltimore beginning on Tuesday.
Detroit Tigers 12-16 .429 7.5 Games Behind -- The Tigers have been swept in consecutive series, after losing three in Cleveland, and have fallen well behind in the Central. Now Detroit gets the Yankees at home for four games beginning tonight.
Chicago White Sox 10-19 .345 10 Games Behind -- The White Sox are free-falling, having dropped the first three games of a wraparound weekend series against Baltimore which ends today, and five straight overall. After the Orioles' series concludes, Chicago plays two at home against Minnesota, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Minnesota Twins 9-18 .333 10 Games Behind -- The Twins have dropped six in a row, after being swept in Kansas City over the weekend. Minnesota now has days off Monday and Thursday, sandwiched around a two-game set in Chicago beginning on Tuesday.
American League East -
New York Yankees 16-9 .640 0 Games Behind -- The Yankees just finished taking two-of-three at home against Toronto, and now head to reeling Detroit for a four-game set beginning on Monday night.
Tampa Bay Rays 15-13 .536 2.5 Games Behind -- The Rays lost two-of-three to the Angels at home over the weekend, and now welcome the Blue Jays for three in Tampa beginning on Tuesday night.
Baltimore Orioles 13-13 .500 3.5 Games Behind -- The Orioles have been the ultimate streaky team so far this season, and are at present on a three-game winning streak after having taken the first three games in a series that concludes tonight against the White Sox. Then Baltimore goes to Kansas City for three with the Royals starting tomorrow.
Toronto Blue Jays 13-15 .464 4.5 Games Behind -- Toronto took the first of three with the Yankees but then dropped the last two over the weekend, Now the Blue Jays go to the Sunshine State to take on Tampa Bay beginning on Tuesday.
Boston Red Sox 12-15 .444 5 Games Behind -- The Red Sox lost two-of-three at home to the Mariners over the weekend, and now entertain the Angels in four straight games in Boston.
American League West -
Los Angeles Angels 16-12 .571 0 Games Behind -- The Angels and the Rangers have been battling for most of the early-season and now find themselves tied atop the West. Los Angeles took two-of-three against the Rays in Tampa, and now go to Boston for a big four-game set with the Red Sox.
Texas Rangers 16-12 .571 0 Games Behind -- The Rangers find themselves tied for first with the Angels after losing two of the first three against Oakland in a wraparound series that concludes tonight against the Athletics. Then Texas heads up the coast to Seattle for three with the Mariners, beginning on Tuesday.
Oakland Athletics 14-14 .500 2 Games Behind -- The Athletics are hanging close to the lead in the West as the Angels and the Rangers both rather stumble along. Oakland will finish their four-game series against Texas at home tonight, having won two of the first three, before entertaining the Indians in three games beginning Tuesday night.
Seattle Mariners 13-16 .448 3.5 Games Behind -- The Mariners have somewhat resurrected their season. After winning five in a row in Detroit and Boston, Seattle lost the last of their three-game set yesterday to the Red Sox. Now the Mariners welcome the Rangers for three games back home.
In the National League East, the Philadelphia Phillies (18-9) have the smallest of leads on the Florida Marlins (17-9), and then there is quite a drop-off to the Atlanta Braves (14-15) and the Washington Nationals (13-14), who both trail by five games. The New York Mets (12-16) bring up the rear in the East.
The Central is still congested, but there is at least a little separation now. The St.Louis Cardinals (16-12) lead, and are the only division team above .500. In second are the Cincinnati Reds (14-14), with the Milwaukee Brewers (13-14) in third. The step-ladder-looking Central then has the Pittsburgh Pirates (13-15) in fourth and the Chicago Cubs (12-15) in fifth. The dubious honor of Only Sixth-Place Team In The Majors goes to the Houston Astros (11-17).
The NL West is led by the Colorado Rockies (17-9), who have a healthy lead of 4 1/2 games -- tied with Cleveland for largest lead -- over the Los Angeles Dodgers (14-15) and the San Francisco Giants (13-14). The Arizona Diamondbacks (12-15) and the San Diego Padres (11-17) round out the last of the National League.
Look for your next MLB Standings Update this coming Friday.
As April comes to an end, the Indians have separated themselves from the rest of the American League Central, taking a 4 1/2 game lead over Kansas City and Detroit. The margin is tied with Colorado's for the largest in the majors.
But it is early, the Tribe have the Tigers coming to town with a chance to draw closer -- and here is your latest look at the standings in the American League specifically, and the majors in general.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 16-8 .667 0 Games Behind -- The Indians, with their sweep of the Royals over the last three games, found themselves also picking up three games on Detroit. The Tigers come to Cleveland for the weekend for three games. Another Tribe sweep would seriously damage Detroit, but one feels that there will be a roar of Tigers sometime in the next three days.
Detroit Tigers 12-13 .480 4.5 Games Behind -- Detroit was looking good at the beginning of the week, having just swept Chicago, but the Mariners came to Detroit and swept the Tigers in three straight, and now Detroit goes to Cleveland needing to win at least two-of-three to stay within shouting distance of the Indians.
Kansas City Royals 12-13 .480 4.5 Games Behind -- The Royals have nose-dived, and only the struggles of the White Sox and the Twins keep Kansas City as high in the standings as they are. After being swept in consecutive series by the Rangers and the Indians, the Royals entertain Minnesota for three games this weekend.
Chicago White Sox 10-16 .385 7 Games Behind -- The White Sox won the first two games of four in New York, but dropped the final two games for an overall split with the Yankees. Now Chicago welcomes the Orioles for four games on the South Side, stretching through Monday.
Minnesota Twins 9-15 .375 7 Games Behind -- The Twins come off of being swept at home in three games by the Tampa Bay Rays -- including a doubleheader loss on Thursday. Minnesota now goes to Kansas City for three games with the Royals, in a series matching a six-game (Royals) and a three-game losing streak.
American League East -
New York Yankees 14-8 .636 0 Games Behind -- The Yankees dropped the first two games against Chicago, but rebounded to win on Wednesday and Thursday, and now face the Toronto Blue Jays for a four-game series extending through Monday in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay Rays 14-11 .560 1.5 Games Behind -- The Rays have come storming back from a 1-8 start, and are riding a five-game winning streak, after beating the Twins in three straight in Minnesota. Now the Angels come to Tampa for a three-game series.
Toronto Blue Jays 12-13 .480 3.5 Games Behind -- Toronto went into Texas and acquitted themselves well, winning three-of-four against the Rangers, and now enter the second of a set of daunting road series, taking on New York for four games in a series which runs through Monday.
Boston Red Sox 11-13 .458 4 Games Behind -- The Sox stumbled a bit this week, losing two-of-three in Baltimore after rising to within a game of .500, but still, Boston has gone 9-3 in their last twelve games. The Red Sox now entertain Seattle for three games.
Baltimore Orioles 10-13 .435 4.5 Games Behind -- The Orioles took two-of-three from Boston to stop their downward slide, yet find themselves last in the East. Now Baltimore heads for Chicago for four games with the White Sox in a series which carries over to Monday.
American League West -
Texas Rangers 15-10 .600 0 Games Behind -- The Rangers have cooled off after their red-hot start, and are coming off losing three out of four to Toronto at home. Texas now goes to Oakland for a four-game wraparound series that lasts through Monday, against the Athletics.
Los Angeles Angels 14-11 .560 1 Game Behind -- The Angels took two-of-three from Oakland to start their week, creeping closer to the Rangers in the process. Now Los Angeles heads to Tampa to take on the Rays for three this weekend.
Oakland Athletics 12-13 .480 3 Games Behind -- The Athletics managed to salvage the last of three games in Anaheim and now must go to Texas to take on the Rangers in a four-game series that will continue through Monday, with a chance to draw closer in the divisional race, and also in danger of falling much further behind.
Seattle Mariners 11-15 .423 4.5 Games Behind -- The Mariners, who seemed to be...well...sunk at the beginning of the week, have righted their ship with a three-game sweep in Detroit. Now Seattle moves on to Boston for three games against the Red Sox.
In the National League...
The Philadelphia Phillies (16-8) have reclaimed first place in the East over the Florida Marlins (15-8) in a division which has see-sawed a bit at the top. Then there is a drop off to the Atlanta Braves (13-13), who trail by four. The Washington Nationals (11-13) and the New York Mets (11-14) round out the East.
The St.Louis Cardinals (14-11) have opened up a one-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds (13-12) in the hotly-contested Central Division. Right behind the Reds are the Milwaukee Brewers (12-12), with the Pittsburgh Pirates (11-14) and the Chicago Cubs (10-14) next in line. Trailing the pack in the Central are the Houston Astros (9-16), who trail the Cardinals by five full games.
In the West is found the team which -- currently -- owns the best record in the major leagues. The Colorado Rockies (16-7) have a lead which matches the Indians' 4 1/2 games as the largest leads in the majors. The Los Angeles Dodgers (13-13) and the San Francisco Giants (12-12) are tied for second, with the Arizona Diamondbacks (11-13) alone in fourth. The San Diego Padres (9-16) share the worst mark in the bigs with the Padres, and are already eight games behind the Rockies.
As of last Friday, there was a pretty clear separation atop the AL Central with the Indians and the Kansas City Royals riding high and every other team in the early-season dust.
Now all that has changed, the Detroit Tigers have vaulted into a tie for second with the Royals, and the Minnesota Twins -- who at one time trailed by seven games -- have climbed to within four games of first-place Cleveland.
Welcome to this edition of the MLB Standings Update.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians 13-8 .619 0 Games Behind -- The Indians lost an abbreviated two-game set in Minnesota over the weekend yet still lead the Central by a game and-a-half after the Royals dropped three straight in Texas. The Tribe now welcomes Kansas City for a three-game set in Cleveland beginning Tuesday.
Detroit Tigers 12-10 .545 1.5 Games Behind -- The Tigers swept three games from the White Sox over the weekend and vaulted into a tie with Kansas City. Before a series next weekend in Cleveland, Detroit will entertain Seattle for three games in a series beginning tomorrow night in Detroit.
Kansas City Royals 12-10 .545 1.5 Games Behind -- The Royals came from far behind to make a game of it yesterday in Texas, but the Rangers hung on to sweep the three-game set and drop Kansas City into a tie with Detroit. The Royals now go to Cleveland for three games starting Tuesday night, in a rematch of the four-game set that was split in Kansas City last week.
Minnesota Twins 9-12 .429 4 Games Behind -- The Twins, after Friday's game was rained out, beat the Indians both Saturday and Sunday to creep closer in the Central. Minnesota now takes on Tampa Bay for three games at home starting Tuesday.
Chicago White Sox 8-14 .364 5.5 Games Behind -- The White Sox have landed in the cellar hard, losing their last three games to the Tigers and watching the Twins sail right past. Chicago's reward? A four-game series in the Bronx against the Yankees, beginning tonight.
American League East -
New York Yankees 12-6 .667 0 Games Behind -- The Yankees opened up some separation over the weekend, winning twice in Baltimore in a rain-shortened series. New York now entertains the White Sox in four straight starting tonight in New York.
Tampa Bay Rays 11-11 .500 3 Games Behind -- The Rays have come back from their dreadful start, and after winning two of three in Toronto over the weekend, now move on to Minnesota for three games with the Twins in a series that will start on Tuesday.
Boston Red Sox 10-11 .476 3.5 Games Behind -- Boston has rebounded from a 2-10 start, and in a most-impressive fashion. The Sox won four straight from the Angels in Anaheim over the weekend to get within a game of .500, and will now travel to Baltimore for three with the Orioles.
Toronto Blue Jays 9-12 .429 4.5 Games Behind -- After losing the last two games of a three-game series with the Rays at home, Toronto now gets the unenviable task of going to Texas to play four straight against the West-leading Rangers.
Baltimore Orioles 8-12 .400 5 Games Behind -- The Orioles have finished their plunge to the bottom of the AL East after beginning the season 6-1. Losing two to the Yankees over the weekend gives Baltimore 11 losses in their last 13 games. Baltimore has a day off today, before welcoming the red-hot Red Sox for three starting tomorrow.
American League West -
Texas Rangers 14-7 .667 0 Games Behind -- Although having the same winning percentage as New York, the Rangers lead the Yankees by a half-game for the best mark in the AL after sweeping three from the Royals at home. Texas will remain in the friendly confines for a four-game series against Toronto, beginning tonight.
Los Angeles Angels 12-10 .545 2.5 Games Behind -- The Angels were riding high atop the AL West preparatory to a four-game home set with the (at the time) struggling Red Sox. It looked good for Los Angeles -- until they lost all four games to Boston. The Angels will try to regroup in a three-game series against Oakland, beginning tonight in Anaheim.
Oakland Athletics 11-11 .500 3.5 Games Behind -- The Athletics just finished a four-game split in Seattle wherein they lost the first two games to the Mariners before bouncing back and winning on Saturday and Sunday. Oakland now travels to visit the Angels for three games starting tonight.
Seattle Mariners 8-15 .348 7 Games Behind -- Owners of the worst record in the major leagues, the Mariners lost the last two games of four with Oakland over the weekend to split that series. Seattle now goes on the road to take on red-hot Detroit for three games, beginning on Tuesday night.
In the National League East, the Philadelphia Phillies have now claimed the best mark in the majors with a record of 15-6 after winning five in a row. Philadelphia leads the Florida Marlins by a game and-a-half, the Washington Nationals by 4.5, the Atlanta Braves by five full games and the New York Mets by six and-a-half.
In the NL Central the St.Louis Cardinals poked their beaks into first place yesterday, with a record of 12-10. The Milwaukee Brewers sit in second, a half-game back, with the Cincinnati Reds a full game behind and the Cubs 1.5 games back and in fourth place. The Pittsburgh Pirates are next, two and-a-half games behind, and the Houston Astros bring up the rear in the only six-team division in the majors, four games behind the Cardinals.
In the National League West, the Colorado Rockies are still on top at 14-7, and have a three-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The defending World Series' champion San Francisco Giants are third in the West, four games out, while the Arizona Diamondbacks trail the Rockies by 5.5 games, and the San Diego Padres find themselves last, six and-a-half games behind.
And there you have it as we proceed through the last week of April. Be sure to check back on Friday, when the next edition of the standings will be found right here.
Even after their tough loss last night, the Indians are still owners of the best record in the American League, although a couple of teams are nipping right at their heels — most importantly, the Royals.
Meanwhile the Yankees sit atop the East while the rest of the division tries to figure out how to play .500, and in the West, the Halos have overtaken the Rangers for the division lead.
Welcome to another edition of the baseball standings update as we head into the fourth weekend of the 2011 season.
American League Central -
Cleveland Indians (13-6 .684 0 Games Behind) The Indians come off of a tough, last at-bat loss to the Royals last night, but still lead the Central by a game over Kansas City after splitting a four-game series in Missouri. Cleveland next heads to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a three-game series. The Twins have been stumbling, but they will be ready for the Tribe.
Kansas City Royals (12-7 .632 1 Game Behind) After staying right behind the Indians in dramatic fashion last night, Kansas City has a tough test this weekend when they travel to Texas to take on the Rangers in a three-game set before heading to Cleveland for a rematch with the Tribe next week.
Detroit Tigers (9-10 .474 4 Games Behind) After taking two-of-three in Seattle, the Tigers come home to face the Chicago White Sox in a battle between two teams at present fighting for third place in the AL Central.
Chicago White Sox (8-11 .421 5 Games Behind) The White Sox finally broke a seven-game by skid that threatened to bury them in the cellar of the division by salvaging the final game of four in Tampa and are suddenly a win away from moving into a tie for third as they head into Detroit for a three-game set between Cleveland’s division rivals.
Minnesota Twins (7-12 .368 6 Games Behind) The Twins are stumbling along five games under .500 after splitting a four-game set in Baltimore, but the fact is, Minnesota has played only five home games, so their record might need the codicil that a little home-cooking could right their season. We will test that codicil this weekend when the Indians go to Target Field for a three-game set that the Twins would love to win, to keep the Tribe in sight.
American League East -
New York Yankees (10-6 .625 0 Games Behind) The Yankees went to Toronto for an abbreviated two-game series and got a split, losing on Tuesday when Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season but bouncing back on Wednesday. The Bronx Bombers now head to Baltimore for three with the Orioles.
Tampa Bay Rays (9-10 .474 2.5 Games Behind) Tampa came all the way back from a 1-8 start to reach .500 on Wednesday, before dropping the last of four games with Chicago to dip back below break-even, but seem to have righted their ship. The Rays now go to Toronto for three against the Blue Jays.
Baltimore Orioles (8-10 .444 3 Games Behind) Baltimore, after a 6-1 start, endured an eight-game slide before splitting a four-game set with the Twins and have now won two of three. The Birds now entertain the Yankees for three, in a series that might well determine if the Orioles can stay alive beyond April in the AL East.
Toronto Blue Jays (8-10 .444 3 Games Behind) The Jays have lost two-of-three this week, falling to Boston and then splitting two with New York, and find themselves tied for third with Baltimore, as they get set to entertain second-place Tampa Bay. Win at least two-of-three and Toronto will pass the Rays.
Boston Red Sox (7-11 .389 4 Games Behind) The Red Sox, after their dreadful 2-10 start, have won five of six, including the last two — one in Oakland and the second in Anaheim, where Boston continues a four-game set against the Angels through the weekend.
American League West –
Los Angeles Angels (12-7 .632 0 Games Behind) The Angels went into Texas and won two of three to take over first place, before losing last night at home to Boston, and will try to regain their momentum in a four-game series with the Red Sox that runs through Sunday.
Texas Rangers (11-7 .611 .5 Games Behind) The defending American League champs have stumbled since starting 9-1, having won only two of their past eight games. That slide includes losing two-of-three at home to the Angels this week to fall out of first place in the West. The Rangers welcome the Kansas City Royals to town for three games this weekend.
Oakland Athletics (9-10 .474 3 Games Behind) Oakland began the week by splitting two games with the Red Sox before falling under .500 last night with a 1-0 loss at Seattle in the opener of a four-game weekend series against the Mariners.
Seattle Mariners (7-13 .350 5.5 Games Behind) The Mariners are in a lonely place at present, mired in the cellar of the West and a winning-streak away from seeing even third place, but Seattle, after losing two-of-three to the Tigers, defeated Oakland last night to creep a little closer in the first of a four-game series in Seattle.
The National League sees one really tight race from top to bottom and one race that is morphing into a two-team battle, while a third race features a team that has the largest lead in the majors at present.
That largest lead would belong to the Colorado Rockies (13-5), who lead the West by three full games over the World Champion San Francisco Giants (10-8). Meanwhile, in the East, the Philadelphia Phillies (12-6) have only a half-game lead over the Florida Marlins (11-6).
The NL Central right now is the most interesting division, as all six teams are bunched within three games of each other — in other words, sixth place in the Central is as far behind as is second place in the West. The Cincinnati Reds and the St.Louis Cardinals are tied atop the Central at 10-9, with the Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers tied for third, only a half-game back at 9-9. In fifth place but only two back are the Pittsburgh Pirates (8-11), while the Houston Astros (7-12) are sixth, but — as said — only three games from the top.
After several teams endured a wild and windy weekend and after a couple of double-headers, baseball heads into a new week with one wraparound series finishing up and new matchups all around. Two East teams that hit bottom fast have shown signs of bouncing back, while the leaders in the West have come back to earth.
And the Indians -- yes, the Cleveland Indians -- have the best record in the American League as we sit here on this Monday morning.
This could be a very interesting season indeed.
Let's have a look at the current standings, as well as a glance at who-plays-whom heading toward next weekend:
American League Central --
Cleveland Indians (11-4 .733 0 Games Behind) The Indians finished off their third sweep of the season in five series, taking down Baltimore and assuming first place alone on Sunday afternoon with the Royals' loss. The Tribe now goes to Kansas City for four games to decide who will lead the division entering next weekend.
Kansas City Royals (10-5 .667 1 Game Behind) When the Seattle Mariners finally broke through to win the finale of a four-game set in K.C., the Royals fell into second place, a game back. But now the Indians come to Missouri for four games in an intriguing battle for the divisional lead.
Chicago White Sox (7-8 .467 4 Games Behind) Chicago comes off of being swept by the Angels and finds themselves four games back of the Tribe, after beating Cleveland two straight to open the season. The White Sox are off to Tampa Bay for a four-game series against the resurrecting Rays.
Detroit Tigers (7-9 .438 4.5 Games Behind) The Tigers climbed to .500 by winning the first two of a four-game set in Oakland, but then dropped the final two to once again fall below the break-even point. Detroit continues their West Coast swing with a three-game series in Seattle.
Minnesota Twins (5-10 .333 6 Games Behind) The Twins won in Tampa yesterday, salvaging the final game of their series against the Rays, and now head to Baltimore for four, in a somethings-gotta-give kind of series between two teams in early-season trouble.
American League East --
New York Yankees (9-5 .643 0 Games Behind) The Yankees took two out of three from the Texas Rangers over the weekend (thus allowing the Indians to claim the best record in the AL). Now New York -- after a day-off today -- heads north of the border for an abbreviated two-game set with the Blue Jays.
Toronto Blue Jays (7-8 .467 2.5 Games Behind) In this division, there is a danger of the Yankees getting so far ahead that all the other teams will have to settle for contending for a wild-card. Toronto -- after completing a four-game set in Boston with a Patriots' Day game today -- will have a chance to keep the Yankees close, with a two-game series at home against the Bronx Bombers beginning tomorrow.
Baltimore Orioles (6-8 .429 3 Games Behind) The Orioles had it going on, sitting at 6-1, but a devastating seven-game losing streak has Baltimore sinking fast. Can the Orioles right their ship in the friendly confines with four against the Twins? We will see, beginning tonight.
Tampa Bay Rays (6-9 .400 3.5 Games Behind) The Rays broke out of the doldrums of a 1-8 start with five straight wins -- a streak that ended yesterday against Minnesota -- and are showing signs of life, although without Johnny Damon winning game after game in the last at-bat...Tampa now entertains Chicago for four games in the Sunshine State -- although it is hard to see sunshine through a dome.
Boston Red Sox (4-10 .286 5 Games Behind) The Red Sox -- after losing the series opener to fall to 2-10 -- have taken two in a row from Toronto, and wraps up their series with the Jays this morning on Patriots' Day in Boston. The Sox then head to Oakland for two, and then on to Anaheim for the opener of a series with the Angels on Thursday.
American League West --
Los Angeles Angels (10-5 .667 0 Games Behind) The Angels ended the Indians' eight-game run last Tuesday and are now on a five-game run of their own, having just come off a sweep in Chicago. Now the fun really starts for Los Angeles, which heads to Texas for a three-game battle for first place with the Rangers. The Angels then head back home to take on Boston, which comes to Anaheim on Thursday.
Texas Rangers (10-5 .667 0 Games Behind) The Rangers were at one time sitting at 9-1, but -- after losing four-of-five, including two-of-three in New York -- find themselves deadlocked atop the West with the Angels, who visit Arlington for three games starting tonight. Whoever wins the series will lead the West heading into next weekend.
Oakland Athletics (8-8 .500 2.5 Games Behind) The A's were able to salvage the final two games against Detroit to give them a split with the Tigers and to climb back to .500. By winning those last two games, Oakland was able to pick up two full games on first place and to stay in range. Now Oakland plays two at home against Boston before heading up to Seattle on Thursday to begin a series against the Mariners.
Seattle Mariners (5-11 .312 5.5 Games Behind) After a closed-door clubhouse meeting, the Mariners finally beat Kansas City yesterday, salvaging one of four from the Royals. Seattle now returns home for three against Detroit, and begins a series against Oakland on Thursday.
In the National League, the Cincinnati Reds lead the Central by a game-and-a-half over the St.Louis Cardinals. Cincinnati sits at 9-6 and is the only team in the division over .500. In the East, the Philadelphia Phillies -- at 10-4 -- lead the Florida Marlins by two full games, and in the West, the Colorado Rockies have the best record in the majors at 12-3, and lead the San Francisco Giants by four full games.
For a full look at the standings, for breakdowns of home/away, division records, etc, please check the standings on Yahoo! Sports.
I will "see you" again on Friday and we will see where...why, where we stand...so to speak.
As baseball enters its third week, some teams are already feeling desperate, or at least, their fan bases are. An example of that would be the fan base of the Boston Red Sox, who seem to be falling back into that old "woe is us" syndrome that they carried for so many years.
Maybe they still haven't absorbed that they won it all in 2004 and 2007?
Be that as it may, here is a look at the standings in the American League as we head into the third weekend of the season. The format will be different starting with this edition. It won't be so much like Wiley Coyote trying to look for the Roadrunner when you search for the record of each team. I hope that you will like this more user-friendly format.
American League Central
Cleveland Indians -- 8-4 .667 0 Games Behind. The Indians come off of a tough last two games in Anaheim but are still tied for first entering the weekend against Baltimore.
Kansas City Royals -- 8-4 .667 0 Games Behind. The Royals are one of the surprise teams of the early season (along with the Tribe). Kansas City took the first of a four-game set at home last night against Seattle, a series which will continue through the weekend.
Chicago White Sox -- 7-5 .583 1 Game Behind. Chicago has had a couple of bullpen implosions this week, but is lurking right behind Cleveland and Kansas City. The White Sox open a series at home tonight against those pesky Angels.
Detroit Tigers -- 6-7 .462 2.5 Games Behind. Detroit has started to put it together, beating Texas on consecutive days in their last at-bat and then opening a West Coast trip with a victory last night in Oakland, where the Tigers will spend the weekend.
Minnesota Twins -- 4-8 .333 4 Games Behind. The Twins are having a tough time of things, as was exemplified last night when they surrendered a two-run lead in the ninth, retook the lead in the tenth, only to lose in the bottom half to Tampa Bay, in the opener of a four-game set in Florida.
American League East
New York Yankees -- 7-4 .636 0 Games Behind. The Yankees have returned to their comfort zone, beating Baltimore in their last two games to overtake the Orioles and climbing into first in the East. New York has what should be a good test this weekend at home, against the Rangers.
Baltimore Orioles -- 6-5 .545 1 Game Behind. The Tribe's opponent this weekend has lost four in a row, suffering a tough loss last night after jumping ahead of New York, 5-0. Even so, pitching has been a strength for the O's so far, and the Indians will need to be at their best offensively.
Toronto Blue Jays -- 6-6 .500 1.5 Games Behind. After losing the first two of three in Seattle, the Blue Jays beat the Mariners in the final game of their set to climb back to .500. Toronto goes to Boston this weekend to take on the Red Sox, in what could be a revival for Boston or what could be a nail in their hopes, even this early in the season.
Tampa Bay Rays -- 4-8 .333 3.5 Games Behind. The Rays got off to an awful 1-8 start, but have rebounded with two wins earlier this week in Boston, and a stirring come-from-behind win last night at home against Minnesota, with Johnny Damon hitting a walk-off, two-run homer to win it for Tampa in the opener of a four-game series.
Boston Red Sox -- 2-9 .182 5 Games Behind. In an oddity, the Red Sox' only two wins on the season came at the expense of the Yankees. Against all teams not in New York, the Sox are 0-8. After losing twice this week to Tampa, Boston welcomes the Blue Jays for a weekend series at Fenway, needing a spark to keep the Yankees in sight.
American League West
Texas Rangers -- 9-3 .750 0 Games Behind. The Rangers, like the Indians, rolled through the better part of their first ten games, but have now lost two straight, but still maintain a decent lead in the West. The defending American League champs will be tested this weekend with a three-game set in New York against the Yankees.
Los Angeles Angels -- 7-5 .583 2 Games Behind. The Angels come off of back-to-back wins over the Indians at home, and take their act on the road to Chicago this weekend for a three-game set before heading to Texas next week. A critical time for the Halos, who were able to shave two games off of their deficit in two days, keeping the Rangers in sight.
Oakland Athletics -- 6-7 .462 3.5 Games Behind. Oakland is treading water in the West, winning one, losing one, winning one etc. this week. Thus they are due for a win after dropping the opener of their four-game set at home against Detroit.
Seattle Mariners -- 4-9 .308 5.5 Games Behind. It is hard times for the Mariners, who won their first two games of the season and have gone 2-9 since. After losing a rain-shortened game last night to the Royals, Seattle will continue their series in Missouri tonight, looking to somehow stay in contention at least through April.
In the National League, your division leaders are Philadelphia in the East at 9-3 and with a two-game lead over the Florida Marlins; the Cincinnati Reds in the Central at 8-4 and a game up on the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Colorado Rockies in the West, who, at 10-2, have the best record in baseball and a solid four-game lead over the World Champion Giants.
I hope -- as I said at the beginning of this piece -- that you have found this format more favorable. Any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to let us know.
The Cleveland Indians weren’t supposed to be this good. Not this quickly at least. Plenty of pundits and fans thought that the Indians would play better baseball than they did a year ago when they won just 69 games and finished 25 games behind Minnesota in the AL Central standings. Having Grady Sizemore and Travis Haffner back healthy will do that for you I suppose, but don’t forget that the Indians had one of the better team ERAs in the American League down the stretch of last season.
We’ll see if things hold up, but for now, there’s plenty to be optimistic about for the downtrodden fans of Cleveland. The Tribe is currently 8-3 as of Wednesday, just a half game behind Texas for the best record in baseball. (The Indians are currently tied with the Angels, 1-1, during Wednesday night’s game).
Needless to say, GM Chris Antonetti is pleased with the team’s hot start. But he knows it’s a long season, and that there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the young squad. On Tuesday, Antonetti joined WKNR in Cleveland to discuss the encouraging start to the year, if the Indians might be buyers at the trade deadline if their solid play continues, and other topics Indians’ fans might be interested in hearing his take on while optimism remains high along Lake Erie.
On the hot start:
“It’s been a really encouraging start. I think some of the things that we’ve talked about being keys for our season have played out that way so far; specifically one of the things that we thought would be important for our success would be the consistency of our starting rotation. If you take out the first game for Fausto (Carmona) and the first few innings of (Carlos) Carrasco we’ve gotten very consistent starting pitching and they’ve given us a chance to win games. That’s been boosted by an offense that has had consistent at-bats and everyone has contributed to helping us win games in every spot in the lineup. Combine that with some very good defense and sound execution. I think that’s led to the quick start.”
Whether or not they can be buyers as opposed to sellers at the deadline if they keep playing well:
“Yeah I think that is our mindset. We need to be prepared for that. Manny (Acta) said this in the offseason that his job is to try and put the Dolans in a position to add guys at the deadline. That’s certainly my focus. Part of our job as we go into a season is prepare for all the different ways the season can go. We’re hopeful that if we can continue to play quality baseball and are in contention, we will make sure we examine all those opportunities to improve the club and give us the best position we can in the second half.”
On what they still need to get better at:
“I think the same things. We try to be mindful of not looking into ten games. You can fall into some traps if you make evaluations based on that. I think the consistency in our rotation I think is going to really determine the success of our season. If those guys can continue to give us a chance to win games then I think we do have a chance to surprise some people. I think that’s the thing, because it is such a young group and they don’t have the same track record as other teams have, although they are exceptionally talented, I think that consistency is going to be the important thing for our season.”
The Indians, who have just completed their second of consecutive sweeps of Boston and Seattle, and who stand at 7-2 on the season, will go to Anaheim on Monday night to begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels (5-4), who won the final two games of their weekend series against Toronto (5-4) and reside in second place in the AL West. Cleveland finds itself -- at the beginning of a new American League week -- atop the Central Division by one full game over the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox, both of whom begin the week at 6-3.
Chicago will be in action on Monday at home against the Oakland A's (4-5), while the Royals will be off on Monday and will begin a series on Tuesday in Minnesota against the Twins (3-6).
The final member of the Central Division, the Tigers (3-6), have the unenviable task of welcoming the Texas Rangers (8-1) to Comerica Park on Monday for the beginning of a three-game series against the defending American League champions, who have the best record in the major leagues, and who bounced back from their first loss of the season in the opener of a Saturday doubleheader in Baltimore with two straight wins over the Orioles (6-3).
The Rangers are already three games clear of second place in the West, and Seattle (2-7) -- the victim of the Indians' sweep -- already finds itself six full games behind Texas after only nine games. The Mariners have lost seven in a row and will welcome Toronto to town on Monday night, looking for a win, any win.
In the East, the Orioles, despite their two straight losses, still lead by a full game over the Yankees (5-4), after New York's late loss on Sunday night against the Red Sox (2-7), who, believe it or not, are at present ahead of the Rays (1-8).
The Blue Jays find themselves in a tie with the Yankees, a game behind the Orioles
Another resource that I like to peruse is mlb.com, which is excellent for all things major leagues, not just for standings.
Be sure to check back here for another update on Friday morning, when we will take a look at how things have changed between now and then, and give you the weekend match-ups all throughout the AL.