So far this season we have 14 teams under .500. Teams under .500 in the NL are: the Padres, Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Phillies, Cubs and Brewers. Teams under .500 in the AL are: the Angels, Mariners, Astros, Blue Jays, White Sox, Royals and Twins. Because they are under .500, does that necessarily mean they are bad teams? I wouldn’t say yes, but I wouldn’t say no either.
The cool thing about Baseball is that it is a streaky game. Teams like the Angels have an All-Star lineup, but yet they sit in third place in their respective division. Is it because they are a bad team? I wouldn’t say yes, considering they just won their 7th straight today in a 7-0 win against the sliding Royals. But are they a good team? I don’t really know. I have been riding them to win the division ever since they acquired Pujols and Wilson a year ago. But with the addition of Hamilton, I thought it was a sure lock. But are they the best under .500 team in the AL? There are two teams that are making a run for it to be the best team, the Royals and Blue Jays.
If you have read my previous article “MLB Predictions: Who will take it all?”, you will notice I predicted the Angels and Blue Jays to win their divisions. Well, I’m still standing behind that. Now that Jose Bautista is starting to heat up, hopefully the Blue Jays will too. But are they better than the Angels? Or even the Royals? Royals were stellar to start the season, having a quick lead in the division behind stellar pitching performances by James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, and Ervin Santana. But offense has been the key for not winning ball games. Although they do rank 8th in BA, they are in the bottom of the rankings in Runs, OBP, SLG. If they want to turn it around, they are going to have to do so quickly. They can’t let a season where they have 3 guys pitching like aces go to waste.
The National League and the American League this year seem to be pretty even. The three top teams in the division’s records have 31, 28 or 27 wins and have only one truly dominant team in each league. But the teams under .500 are quite shocking. We have the Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers and yes, the Padres.
Being from San Diego, I can say that I am excited about this team and the future in store. Maybe I’m just being bias, but I truly believe this team can play spoiler, and even possibly make the postseason this year. Let’s not forget they are without their catcher Yasmani Grandal right now for getting caught with steroids, although he did hit .450 in Spring Training. He will be back in 2 days. They are also without a true ace in their pitching staff. Edinson Volquez has been considered the ace involuntarily. They are waiting for the arrival of Cory Luebke to come back to fill that role. The Padres have been playing good lately and I would consider them to be the best comeback team in baseball. They started out 6-15 which is a horrendous start, but since then, they have been playing terrific and have posted a record of 21-26 and currently sit in 4th place, 5.5 games out of first place. Don’t sit on these guys, because they are young, and ready to win.
The Phillies are a team I really liked. I thought they could have a rebound season with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley coming back and their acquisitions of Michael Young and Ben Revere. Doc Holliday hasn’t been his dominating self at all this year and currently resides on the 60-day DL. Cole Hamels has pitched well as of lately, but can’t seem to get the run support he needs. He currently has a 1-7 record with a 4.45 ERA. The third part of the “Big Three” is Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee currently in my books is tied atop of the CY Young awards in the season (other one being Clayton Kershaw). He is 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA and definitely looks like the staff’s ace.The Phillies need 1 of 2 things to happen. Well for 1, having Doc back would be a great pickup but having him and Hamels back to dominating form, or 2, they need a healthy lineup. If the Phillies can get a healthy lineup, they are dangerous. And healthy as in a dominating Doc, Hamels and Lee. And they need Utley and Howard to dominate again.
Okay, so who really is the best under .500 team? Well it’s really hard to say. In the American league, I would have to go with the Angels because of the way they have been playing. This team comes and goes as Hamilton does and so far he is starting to hit. Having Mike Trout turn it on again doesn’t hurt either. So for the American League, my pick is the Angels.
For the National League, it’s either one of three teams: Dodgers, Phillies, or yes, the Padres. The Dodgers haven’t been healthy all year so it’s hard to see how good they really are. Same thing with the Phillies. The Padres have been basically the same team the whole year, with the subtraction of Grandal. If I had to choose, I would have to say the Phillies. They are without Utley, Halladay, and a struggling Hamels and Revere and yet only sit 2 games under .500 at 23-25 and sit 6.5 behind the Braves. I think if they can get those players back, they can turn it on and make a run for the post season.