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.