We are at the annual all star break so I thought I’d share my mid season surprises.
To me the biggest surprise is the New York Yankees having the best record in baseball. Yeah, I know the Yankees are a good team, they have the money to spend to make players like Andrew Jones and Erick Chavez bench players. Yes, Derek Jeter is having an all star year. Yes, Robinson Cano is having an MVP type year. Yes. Curtis Granderson is hitting a lot of homeruns. But this year the Yankees have lost:their number two pitcher, Pineda for the season, their number one pitcher CC Sabathia for a few weeks, the pitcher who help revive their pitching staff, Andy Pettitte for a couple of months, their all world closer Mariano Rivera for the season, and their one speedy outfielder Brett Gardner for a few months. Yet the Yankees continue to slug away (leading the world in homeruns) and sit on top of baseball with a .612 winning percentage. Can they maintain this? I don’t think they are going to end the year with a .600 winning percentage but since nobody is having a career season for them I think the Yankees have a pretty good shot at making the playoffs.
The other big surprise to me is how bad the Philadelphia Phillies are. Let’s put it this way the Phillies are 37 and 50, 14 games out, Kansas City has a better record than they do. Sure Howard, Utley and Holiday have all been hurt and that’s a big part of the problem, but man it goes deeper than that. The Phillies look like a team that suddenly got old or just don’t care. With their pitching they should be better than this. Who would have thought that at the trading deadline the Mets would be buyers and the Phillies sellers.
Speaking of the Mets, they are doing it with strong starting pitching and mirrors. I look at the Mets and go, without Duda and Davis hitting they shouldn’t be this good. Yet the Mets are within striking distance of the wild card, six games over .500. They have no speed, very little power and only one player (David Wright) in the top 15 in batting, yet they are third in the NL in runs scored. I think this says more about the general weakness of the hitting in the NL than the strength of the Mets, still, if Davis and Duda start to hit the Mets could make the playoffs this year. Now that would be the biggest surprise of all.
Next I’ll talk about the not so surprising developments.