As we approach the midway point in May, American League teams are continuing to struggle while the National League teams are cruising.
We are halfway through the month of May and it’s evident that a lot of the teams in the American League are struggling, and look like they’re going to continue to struggle. The reasons for each American League team’s struggles vary, but it seems the common denominator is and will continue to be pitching, outside of the AL East.
In the AL East, the Red Sox seem to have found their stride as they’ve won eight out of their last 10 games, and now sit only three games back of the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees, who returned back to New York after taking two-of-three from the Rays, only sit a half-game back, and have another weekend series with the Rays starting Friday.
In the West, things seem pretty cut and dry. The Houston Astros have the biggest lead out of any division leader in baseball, at six-and-a-half games. They’re the only team in the AL West with a positive run differential, at plus-76, with the Angels being the next-closest with an even run differential. We haven’t even reached June and this division is quickly getting out of hand.
Wrapping up in the Central, the Indians are trying to keep their heads above water, but with a 4-6 record in their last 10 games and injuries on their pitching staff piling up things are only going to get tougher. The good news is that the Twins don’t seem to want to run away with the division as they hold a four-game lead and are only 6-4 in their last 10 games. It will be interesting to see what the Indians do at the deadline to help their pitching staff as Mike Clevinger, Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar won’t be back until closer to August.
In the National League, the East is starting to look like the Phillies’ to lose. That being said, the Mets and Braves are well within striking distance, with only four-and-a-half games separating all three teams. The bad news for the Mets is that they go on streaks where they play really bad baseball, which isn’t ideal for a team that was constructed specifically to win games and fight for a playoff spot.
In the NL Central, the last-place team has the second-highest run differential in the division. That’d have to be a typo right? It’s not, and yet the Reds are seven-and-a-half games out of first place with the best team ERA in the National League. Unfortunately, they’re not going to win too many games with the worst team batting average in the league. As for the Cardinals, Brewers and Cubs they’re going to duke it out all season. The Brewers have a plus-two run differential, but what might get lost when discussing their pitching staff is that they’re missing Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson, who would both relieve pressure off their bullpen.
Wrapping it up out West, as usual the Dodgers are still beating teams into the dirt with a plus-53 run differential, the fourth-highest in all of baseball. This division may be separated by six-and-a-half games between the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies but it’s far from over. If the Rockies ever get their starting pitching together they and the Padres are the Dodgers’ biggest threats.
Invest your time in National League baseball because they’re going to continue to bring out the best in each other while the American League keeps trying to figure things out.