If the 2016 season is proving anything, it’s that the already risen cream is staying at the top. The Orioles, Cubs, Rangers and Nationals have led their divisions virtually wire to wire and show no signs of letting up.
At the same time, both the Indians, who haven’t lost since the Cavs and LeBraun won their championship, and the Giants put together a strong run over the last month to solidify their hold at the top.
Clayton Kershaw is even better than ever and is making it look way too easy, even though we know it’s not. Jake Arietta is proving that last year was not a fluke and leads the Cub’s staff along with Jon Lester who is (now) really liking the National League which aligns itself nicely with his pitching repertoire.
Jose Altuve is assembling a MVP season and Miguel Cabrera continues to be a hitting machine. Daniel Murphy has taken his playoff run last year for the Mets and played it forward for the Nationals. David Ortiz has to be pleasantly surprising even himself and wondering if he should make an announcement similar to Mark Twain’s “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”…………while Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado have moved into an elite spot among players today.
So, is there any reason why we should watch and pay attention to the Leader Boards?
In the case of the Cubs, Rangers, and Giants – probably not. In the NL Central, the Pirates keep stalling and the Cardinals are playing too much like the Yankees – old and predictable. In the AL West, only Houston presents a challenge to the Rangers and they figure hot only in the Wild Card race despite a disastrous start. Same with the Giants who will play cat and mouse with the Dodgers, but never let them get close enough to the cheese.
Washington is a interesting team to watch though. Strasbourg is temporarily down and they’ve only been playing well enough to keep the Mets close. That three game sweep of the Mets a few days ago is not indicative of either team and the Nats especially know it. Dusty Baker has his hands full and what the hell has happened to Bryce Harper? If the Mets can add a big bat to the lineup (and don’t believe the way Sandy Alderson lies with a straight face when he says he isn’t looking), and Lucas Duda comes back…….look out.
I recall that many of the media picked Cleveland this year prior to the season opener. Couldn’t figure out why and I still can’t. Nevertheless, they’ve made a strong presence and the Royals need to put something of their own together – like soon. We’ve seen this before even this season with the Phillies and White Sox where they put a run together, soak up all the print and then die out quicker than William Henry Harrison lasted as President of the United States (31 days). Of all the Division races this one appears to be the most entertaining and interesting.
And, while I’m on a roll this will happen (maybe)…..
On the individual side, Jose Altuve will overtake and then crush Daniel Murphy for the best average in the Majors, though each may still win a batting title. Drew Story will not hit another 20 home runs over the second half, but Kris Bryant and Yoenis Cespedes will.
By the end of the season, we both might – just might – know who David John LeMahieu is (.326 average on the leaderboard for the Rockies).
Alex Rodriguez will limp to his 700th home run in mid September (he needs five more), Babe Ruth will rest peacefully knowing that no one ever will hit more home runs in a Yankee uniform than he did, and the Yankees will throw a party for the 30,000 fans actually in attendance despite the announced crowd of 53,000 (pre sold).
In a month or so, we’ll all be able to name at least two players in the starting lineup for the Cleveland Indians (wanna cheat – take a peak.)
Cub fans will also rest easy when the team loses in the playoffs (to who? – not saying). That way, they won’t have to face the problem of – “Hey, what are we supposed to do now – as winners?”
The Braves will continue to rip off Cobb County which is largely funding their new suburban stadium and Cobb County in turn will continue to rip off its citizens and taxpayers. (read more here)
Sandy Alderson and the Mets will say a silent prayer every night hoping that David Wright does the right thing instead of trying to make another ill fated comeback in 2017.