As we approach June, teams that aren’t in first place find themselves trying to keep their heads above water in their divisions.
Baseball is such an interesting sport because you never know what could happen, and teams can overcome almost anything. The Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff has surrendered 88 home runs on the season, which is the second-most in baseball. They are the only team in baseball that’s bottom-five in home runs allowed but are yet within two games of their division.
The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies have all surrendered 64 home runs, tying them for ninth-most in baseball. It seems that you can surrender the long ball as a pitching staff and still survive in this league, because two of those three teams currently lead their division.
We start our trip around baseball in the AL East, where the Yankees have now won eight of their last 10 games and are still hitting home runs against the Orioles. The Orioles have surrendered 100 long balls this season and it feels like the Yankees have hit 125 of them. The Bronx Bombers have increased their lead against the Rays to two games while the Red Sox are slowly crawling back in the picture.
In the Central, it’s become evident that the Twins are here to stay. They are second in baseball with 90 home runs and eighth in team ERA. They’ve done it on both sides of the ball, and it should make the Indians sweat a little bit. The Indians find themselves six-and-a-half games out, but Francisco Lindor is back on a 41 home run pace and it won’t be long before Jose Ramirez gets going.
Wrapping up the American League in the West, and — breaking news — the Houston Astros are very good. They own the biggest lead of any division leader in baseball and boast an incredible plus-99 run differential. It’s crazy to think that the Mariners started the season 11-3 and couldn’t stop hitting home runs, and now they’re 11 games back and have lost seven of their last 10 games.
In the National League, we begin in the East where things are getting interesting in multiple ways. The Phillies and Braves are separated by two games, and the Mets are hanging around at five-and-a-half games after a huge win on Tuesday night. The division is also interesting because Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez and Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway both seem to be more on the hot seat than Don Mattingly, whose Marlins team has the worst record in baseball.
In the Central, the Cubs are, in all likelihood, not going to run away with the division simply because their schedule is about to get more difficult. Plus the Cardinals, Pirates (who have a minus-44 run differential) and Brewers are all separated by four-and-a-half games. The Reds, who have the third-best team ERA, are seven games back, but if they ever choose to start scoring runs things could turn in their favor.
Wrapping up in the West, things are starting to look a lot like the AL West with the Dodgers holding a seven-game lead, and the feeling that they’re probably never going to lose again. The Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies are all fading fast, but the good news is that they’re still all in play for the Wild Card. It looks like the prediction of the Padres winning the division isn’t happening this year.