Twenty Games In, Analysis of the National League Baseball Standings
No Major League Baseball team has played more than twenty games yet but if hard-hitting Senior Circuit standings analysis is your fancy, welcome home, Reba.
In the oft-forgotten National League Central, the Albert Pujols-less St. Louis Cardinals (12-7) own a three-game advantage already. Lance Berkman is on the disabled list but his absence hasn’t stopped David Freese, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal from knocking the cover off the ball. Collectively, the team sports a .269 average with a .777 OPS and a wave of mid-thirties groupies. Cincinnati (9-10), Milwaukee (9-10) and Pittsburgh (8-10) are jumbled behind the Cardinals with Houston (7-12) and Chicago (6-13) trailing off. That’s the pattern the division likely follows all year. No wonder people ignore this group.
The National League West boasts the Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6), Matt Kemp‘s triple crown chase, their $2 billion sale and oh, four other teams? Tim Lincecum‘s slow start obviously concerns San Francisco (10-9) but judging by their starting pitcher war chest, he’ll still get paid. Colorado (9-9) figures to do what the Rockies do best and hang around the division until September, make a run and perhaps surprise someone in the playoffs. Arizona (9-10) was a popular World Series pick for reasons I’m still unclear on but so far haven’t produced much offensively. San Diego (6-14) failed at selling the team. There’s nothing else to add.
In the East, Washington (14-5), yes, you read that correctly, continues pitching like we thought Philadelphia would and while they aren’t drawing a ton of interest yet, Bryce Harper‘s Show arrival might change that. The Nationals opened up a two-game lead on the Braves (12-7), a franchise hoping to send Chipper Jones to retirement with some hardware and a pair of working knees. The bottom floors consist of a trio of surprising clubs. Not the fun kind of club, where lights are blue and drinks are $18 but that northeast, Yankee bar-type place. New York (11-8) has outperformed their minimal expectations while the Phillies (9-10) and Marlins (7-11) certainly don’t resemble October behemoths. It is April though.
What do these early starts tell us?
Not a damn thing in baseball where the St. Louis Cardinals can back into the playoffs on the final day of the year and parlay that good luck into a World Series title.