There is a rivalry heating up in baseball, and it's not between the Yankees and Red Sox. The National League's Central Division has been dominated in recent years by the St. Louis Cardinals, whose middle part of the lineup is one of the best in the game (with Pujols, Holliday and Berkman). But recently, the Cincinnati Reds have been surging to the top, playing aggressive baseball and even hitting a few Cardinals along the way (and winning 5 games in a row). Not since the days of Johnny Bench and Pete Rose have Reds fans been so excited, and with the two teams facing each other nine more times this season, things are definitely bound to get interesting! It's about time that NL Central got exciting!
Continuing my look at the standings (which I hadn't done myself in a couple of days), the Colorado Rockies have won 2 games in a row, putting them half a game in front of the World Series champions (the San Francisco Giants) in first place in the National League West. I prefer to see the Rockies in first place over the Giants, and hope that Carlos Gonzalez and company can keep it up. They will play the Giants again tonight, so that can either increase their lead, or put them back into second place. Go Rox!
In the National League East, yes, the Phillies are in first place, but did you know they have lost four games in a row? (Yeay!) That only puts them half a game above the Marlins, and 1.5 games over the Braves (who have won 4 in a row). My Nationals are now out of last place, but with a 2-game series against the basement-dwelling Mets, those two positions could be reversed by the end of today.
Now on to the American League! In the AL East, the Yankees are NOT in first place! Woo-hoo! That position is being taken up by the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost to the Yanks last night but are still holding on to the top spot. (Derek Jeter went 1 for 5 last night by the way, putting him at 2,966 hits. He just may reach 3000 before the All-Star Game!)
In the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians continue to dominate, being 5 games in front of the Detroit Tigers. They beat the KC Royals last night, while the Tigers' game was one of four in the Majors that was postponed due to rain. My niece went to an Indians game in Cleveland recently and really enjoyed herself; I hope to visit "the Jake by the lake" in the very near future!
How about those Oakland A's in the AL West? They are now tied with the World Series-losing Texas Rangers, and trounced the LA Angels last night by a score of 14-0. Pitcher Gio Gonzalez is now 5-2, and Mark Ellis went 3 for 5 with a bunch of RBIs. The A's have had an up and down season so far, but they are thrilled to be sharing first place with the Tigers!
The baseball season may be 162 games long, but each and every one of them matters; especially when the standings are so close and the division leaders can change at the drop of a ball cap. Keep watching, my friends; things are definitely heating up!
PS: Happy 75th birthday to Brooks Robinson!!!