The AL East standings are upside down. The Orioles, who haven't seen a winning record since the days of Ripken, are in first place. The Red Sox have been cellar-dwellars all season long.
The AL Central race? This one was supposedly won back in the offseason when the Tigers picked up Prince Fielder. Well, the lowly White Sox, with a back-from-the-dead Adam Dunn leading the charge, are on top with the Tigers reeling at five games under .500. And lowly Cleveland is knocking on the door, just 1.5 games out.
While it is not huge news the Rangers are leading the AL West, what is stunning was how new Halo Albert Pujols went the month of April without homerun and the Angels were as far back as 9 games out before you could say Josh Hamilton. Things have tightened up since, though, with the Rangers making the dreadful A's look like the Swingin' A's of the seventies this week in back-to-back losses.
Like the AL EAST, the NL EAST has been turned upside down as well. The Phillies are dreadful, can't hit, and now don't have IMHO the best pitcher in baseball in Roy Halladay (sorry Mr Verlander) for at least 6 weeks. The Mets suddenly have the corner on the best one-two punch in baseball in starters "Nohan" Santana and RA Dickey (9-1!).
The Pirates were a blown save away from being in a first place tie with the Reds this week. The Bucs, as readers of this mindless blog know, were my pick to win this division after 19 years of sub-.500 ball. I even threw down a $20 bill for them to win the NL Pennant (couldn't resist the 40-1 odds a Vegas sportsbook gave). I simply have never seen the NL so weak. The Bucs are a power hitter at the trading deadline away from being a formidable contender for the duration of the season.
To a lesser extent, the first place Dodgers are a big surprise as well this year in the NL West. They were on the verge of bankruptcy less than a year ago and now are the second most valuable franchise in baseball. They are the Hollywood Dodgers once more, as well, with Magic Johnson bringing the stars back out to Chavez Ravine.
Now for a station break...Steve Blass will be signing copies of our book, A Pirate For Life, on June 16th from 2 PM through 3:30 PM at the Barnes and Noble at 100 West Bridge Street in Homestead, PA 15120.