For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge Astros fan. I’m actually in Houston to see the weekend series as I write this article. This is my first time at an Astros’ home game since 2005 and I was not disappointed by the first game of the weekend. I was lucky enough to see by far the best game I’ve ever seen in person last night.
The Astros were down by one going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but that quickly changed. Carlos Correa hit a beautiful opposite field home run to tie the game in the first at bat of the inning. Evan Gattis followed the reigning AL Rookie of the Year with an absolute mammoth walk-off home run. Gattis swung at a pitch at his eye-level and that pitch ended up on the train tracks at Minute Maid Park. You can see the video I recorded of the walk-off home run and other videos posted by the Houston Astros Twitter account below:
MLB reports: With nearly a month of MLB action already underway, it is time to check all six of baseball’s divisions and focus on the standings. After the excitement and panic that accompanied the completion of the opening series for each team, it is now time to check out each division and find which teams are playing above their heads and who needs to turn up a few notches. The MLB standings as of the morning of Thursday April 28th, 2011, look as follows:
|New York Yankees||13||8||.619||—||9-5||4-3||6-3||5-4||2-1||Won 1||6-4|
|Tampa Bay Rays||12||11||.522||2.0||6-7||6-4||4-4||8-5||0-2||Won 3||7-3|
|Toronto Blue Jays||11||13||.458||3.5||6-5||5-8||3-6||2-1||6-6||Lost 1||4-6|
|Baltimore Orioles||10||12||.455||3.5||7-7||3-5||5-4||4-6||1-2||Won 2||4-6|
|Boston Red Sox||10||13||.435||4.0||5-4||5-9||5-6||0-3||5-4||Lost 2||7-3|
AL East: Few people should be surprised to see the empire sitting at the top of the AL East. With the largest payroll in baseball and fielding a team of all-stars, the Yankees have proven that they can still win without a complete pitching staff. The Rays after a slow start have turned it up and are now above .500. With continued strong play, we may see the Rays in first by next week. The Jays and Orioles sit in the middle of the pack as expected. With hot and cold performances so far, both teams are two games under .500. The Red Sox are still playing far below expectation but only sit four games out of first. With a 7-3 record in their last ten games, the Red Sox are due for a huge tear. Expect the toughest division in baseball to be a battle all season long as all teams could conceivably finish with a .500 record or better.
|Cleveland Indians||15||8||.652||—||9-2||6-6||6-0||5-6||4-2||Won 2||6-4|
|Detroit Tigers||12||12||.500||3.5||6-5||6-7||2-4||4-2||6-6||Lost 2||5-5|
|Kansas City Royals||12||12||.500||3.5||9-5||3-7||0-0||6-7||6-5||Lost 5||2-8|
|Minnesota Twins||9||13||.409||5.5||4-4||5-9||5-10||3-1||1-2||Lost 1||5-5|
|Chicago White Sox||10||15||.400||6.0||4-6||6-9||6-5||3-5||1-5||Lost 1||3-7|
AL Central: The top team currently in the American League: the Yankees? No. The Rangers? No. Look out, but the upstart Indians continue to lead the AL in winning percentage. With the Indians on top and the White Sox at .400, this division is due for what is called a market correction. The Twins at .409 have suffered through poor play and injuries, but their time is coming soon. The Tigers at .500 haven’t played their best ball yet. The Royals have fallen drastically back down to earth with a recent 2-8 tailspin and should continue to fall back to the cellar. But what about those Indians? At 9-2 at home, their play has been fairly one-sided. With a 6-6 road record, it is only a matter of time before the bubble bursts.
|Texas Rangers||15||9||.625||—||11-4||4-5||7-5||4-2||4-2||Won 1||5-5|
|Los Angeles Angels||14||11||.560||1.5||6-7||8-4||4-5||6-4||4-2||Lost 1||4-6|
|Oakland Athletics||12||13||.480||3.5||4-5||8-8||2-3||6-4||4-6||Won 1||5-5|
|Seattle Mariners||10||15||.400||5.5||5-8||5-7||2-1||4-8||4-6||Won 2||6-4|
AL West: The American League champion Rangers are back on a top with a convincing 15-9 record. The Angels after a recent hot streak have cooled off, going 4-6 in their last 10. The A’s, a traditional second half team are almost at .500. This division should be a three-horse race right until September. The Mariners…. at .400, are already preparing for next year.
Now we turn our attention to the National League after polishing off the junior circuit. With so many interesting races, the National League should prove to have exciting matchups all summer long.
|Philadelphia Phillies||16||8||.667||—||7-4||9-4||7-4||4-2||5-2||Won 1||6-4|
|Florida Marlins||15||8||.652||0.5||10-5||5-3||6-5||5-1||4-2||Lost 1||7-3|
|Atlanta Braves||13||13||.500||4.0||4-5||9-8||6-6||1-3||6-4||Won 2||6-4|
|New York Mets||11||13||.458||5.0||5-8||6-5||7-7||1-2||3-4||Won 6||7-3|
|Washington Nationals||10||13||.435||5.5||5-6||5-7||5-9||5-4||0-0||Lost 3||4-6|
NL East: The Phillies, led by the four-aces are on top with a 16-8 record. But don’t look now, the Florida (soon to be Miami) Marlins are on fire at 7-2 in their last 10 and only sit 1/2 a game out of first. With the Mets on a six-game winning streak and the last place Nationals only 5.5 games out, the NL East is becoming quite balanced and competitive. Smart money is still on the Phillies to take the crown, with the Braves playing better than their .500 record as of today. But so far the Marlins and Mets are surprising me, the Braves are disappointing me and the Nationals and Phillies are playing to expectations.
|St. Louis Cardinals||13||11||.542||—||6-6||7-5||2-1||4-4||7-6||Won 1||6-4|
|Cincinnati Reds||13||12||.520||0.5||7-6||6-6||0-0||9-7||4-5||Won 1||4-6|
|Milwaukee Brewers||12||12||.500||1.0||8-5||4-7||5-5||7-7||0-0||Lost 1||5-5|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||11||13||.458||2.0||4-7||7-6||2-4||7-5||2-4||Won 1||5-5|
|Chicago Cubs||10||13||.435||2.5||6-8||4-5||0-0||4-5||6-8||Lost 3||4-6|
|Houston Astros||9||15||.375||4.0||5-7||4-8||3-6||4-7||2-2||Lost 1||5-5|
NL Central: For all the critics that wrote me threatening letters when I predicted the Cardinals would take the wild card, please start typing your apology letters and sending them my way. Just kidding. But in an expected strong division, the Cardinals are in first place with only 2 wins over .500. Having the Pirates, Cubs and Astros in the division would do that. For all the press that the Indians, Royals and Pirates received to start the year, the Indians are the only team left at the end of the musical chairs. The Pirates have fallen back down to earth with an 11-13 record that should prove to only be worse as the season progresses. The Cubs and Astros in my estimation could best hope for good drafts and 2011 being a rebuilding year. The Reds, Cardinals and Brewers are all .500 and better and should continue to battle out for the NL Central crown and likely the wild card all season long. Keep an eye on those teams.
|Colorado Rockies||16||7||.696||—||6-4||10-3||5-2||7-2||4-3||Won 2||5-5|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||13||13||.500||4.5||7-5||6-8||4-3||3-4||6-6||Won 1||6-4|
|San Francisco Giants||11||12||.478||5.0||4-5||7-7||0-3||3-2||8-7||Lost 1||4-6|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||10||13||.435||6.0||6-6||4-7||2-4||6-6||2-3||Lost 1||5-5|
|San Diego Padres||9||16||.360||8.0||4-11||5-5||1-6||6-7||2-3||Lost 2||2-8|
NL West: Last, but not least, we come to the NL West. A strange division which is strong some years and extremely weak in others. The Rockies have been the class of the National League, with a league leading .696 winning percentage. A strong 10-3 road record has carried the team, which points to a likely correction in the future. The Dodgers, my pick for the division, sits at .500 despite multiple distractions off the field. With the talent base in Los Angeles, they will continue to be a tough competitor. The World Series champs, the San Francisco Giants are below .500 and we need to fight for offense in order to contend. The Diamondbacks continue to rebuild and after a hot start to 2010, the Padres tanked in the 2nd half of last year and now sit with eight games out of first, the biggest margin in baseball. The Padres will need some extreme smoke and mirrors to mask their deficiencies and will need to continue to rebuild to climb back to contention.
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