It’s almost May and I have the following observations to make about the following standings:
The Orioles and Rays are in first and second place in the AL East.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m on the Rays bandwagon this year (I’m a big fan of Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Scott Kazmir–obviously–and James Shields), but they are shocking everyone with their quality of play. And how about the Orioles? The team that was supposed to be one of the worst in the major leagues is actually playing good baseball (first place) riding behind their newly acquired closer George Sherrill, who came over in the Erik Bedard trade and has converted 9 of 9 save opportunities so far. No one expects this to last as the Red Sox are playing good baseball, but the Yankees and Jays are both struggling so who knows?
Now back to our division, ladies and gentlemen, your first place Florida Marlins. They’re 15-10 and hitting the skin off of the ball. The Fish are back, this is not as much of a fluke as it seems. Sure, the pitching is mediocre to say the least. But this lineup is formidable. There are at least 5 guys on this team who scare any pitcher in the division. Hanley Ramirez is living up to his billing as the premier shortstop in the NL East, hitting .337 with 8 HR and 18 RBIs (and 9 stolen bases). His OBP? .405. Rollins, Reyes and Escobar, who? Behind Hanley, Josh Willingham is hitting .341 with 6 HR and 16 RBIs, Mike Jacobs has 7 HR and 17 RBIs. Jeremy Hermida was injured to start the year but is on his way back with 10 RBIs to start the year. Sure, the Marlins pitching needs work. But behind LHP Andrew Miller, who was acquired from Detroit in the Cabrera/Willis trade, the young staff has embarked on a rebuilding quest. The Marlins won’t be in first place a month from now, maybe not a week from now, but they’ll contend soon enough.
Now for your NL Beast standings:
1: Florida (15-10)
2: New York (13-11) 1.5 GB
3: Philadelphia (14-12) 1.5 GB
4: Atlanta (12-13) 3 GB
5: Washington (9-17) 6.5 GB