Monday, April 18, 2011

Indians and Nationals are Winning?

Usually during this time of the year I focus my attention on NHL and NBA playoffs, while I barely notice that baseball season has started. But do not look now, because the Indians have the best record in the American League while the Nationals are above .500.

At 12-4, Cleveland is tied for the best record in the majors, ahead of last year’s division leader Twins and perennial power Red Sox who are both struggling at 5-10. The Tribe are third in the majors in homers, fifth in ERA, and second in opponents batting average. Cleveland’s hot start can be attributed to the healthy returns of Travis Hafner, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Grady Sizemore, as well as contributions from youngsters Michael Brantley, Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin. After being above 500 for only one game in the past two seasons and picked to finish fourth their division, hopefully the Indians can keep this up and give Cleveland fans some much needed hope.

Meanwhile, the Nationals are turning heads as well. In a season without Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, Washington is currently above .500. While that might not seem like much, keep in mind that since their inaugural season in 2005, the Nat’s have been above .500 for only 33 games. Of the 810 games has DC taken the field, only 4% of the time have they had a winning record. Three of those seasons they never had a winning record at any point, and the longest they lasted before turning south was May 28th. Despite subpar batting (27th in average) fielding (22nd) and Ryan Zimmerman on the DL, the Nationals are getting by due to four starters with sub 3.4 ERAs. Hopefully Washington can keep glimmers of hope alive in upcoming series against Pittsburgh and NY Mets before facing San Francisco and Philadelphia in early May.

Not bad for two teams in the bottom eight in salary in the league.

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