Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Memorial Day is two and a half weeks away,
but it's already getting kind of late if you're a baseball team that is
I know, I know, we're not supposed to be looking at the standings in earnest
until the Fourth of July.
Well, that's fine if you're in first place and all is well with the world.
Your team is happy.
Your fans are happy.
Tickets are selling.
And the sun shines 24 hours a day.
But how 'bout for the teams that were supposed to be good and find themselves
stuck in the cellar?
It's not a happy place.
By Sunday, every major league team will have played at least 35 games. Sounds
like nothing, really, when a season is comprised of 162 games, but look a
We're not that far away from the season being 25 percent over. To put that
number in perspective, let's say your favorite football team started 0-4. Well,
they aren't making the playoffs if they do. And four games is 25 percent of an
All right, enough math. Let's look at the teams that thought only a little over
a month ago they'd be stylin' by now.
Where to start, where to start? Ah, that's easy.
Let's go to L.A. and look at the Angels of Anaheim. All they did in the
offseason was spend a king's ransom on the top free agent available, slugger
And Hamilton hasn't delivered. The average isn't there - hello, Mario Mendoza -
and neither is the power. Add in Albert Pujols, who looks like a player in
decline, and Mike Trout, who had a wondrous rookie season in 2012 - jeez, he
just missed winning the AL MVP - but is far off that pace now, and the recipe
for the Angels slipping away is apparent.
Yes, Hamilton and Pujols have proven track records, and if they both are able
to turn things around, it wouldn't be a shocker. And Trout is just too good to
have a season-long sophomore slump.
But it needs to start happening and happening soon. The Texas Rangers are
soaring in the AL West and the Oakland A's look better than many thought. In
other words, having one team to jump over is tough, but having two to get past,
which the Angels are going to have to do, is really rough.
And if you shift over to the AL East, things look like they always seem to look
except they weren't supposed to look this way.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are playing like they usually play, and
let's not discount the Tampa Bay Rays (who always seem to have a run in them)
and the Baltimore Orioles. All four look like they want to win the division.
The catch is the Toronto Blue Jays. After an offseason bonanza of trades, the
Jays were supposed to be atop of the AL East, not buried in the cellar next to
the Christmas decorations.
Is it too early to panic in Toronto? Absolutely not. With four inspired teams
ahead of you in the standings, good luck.
Shift over to the National League and we can stay in L.A. to find struggles.
The Dodgers are doing their best just to get to .500, and Matt Kemp and Zack
Greinke are leading the way.
Kemp, a perennial MVP candidate, has lost his power stroke and Greinke, a big
bucks free agent, has just one win and one lost fight that has him on the
The Dodgers, and their fans, have watched too many World Series parades held in
San Francisco and they need to reverse this thing.
And over in the NL East, the Washington Nationals have found their footing and
the Atlanta Braves (despite a woeful start from B.J. Upton) are hanging in
The team that's not is the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils simply got old and
need to tear everything down and try to rebuild.
Who knows if Roy Halladay will ever be close to being Roy Halladay again and
the same for Ryan Howard. There are too many questions and not enough answers
in Philly, which means they will soon fade away.
We'll come back to this discussion in a few weeks to see who, if anybody,
turned things around. We'll also look at the biggest surprises to date.
Ah, the joy of the baseball season. Months and months of things to talk about.
The Sports Network