It has been an up and down season so far for the Astros. Between beating the Mariners 16-9 to stop a 6 game losing streak, then turning around and losing to Cleveland 19-6 a week later, I don’t really know if I should like the direction that they are headed or hang my head and hide for the rest of the season. Brett Wallace was finally sent down to AAA (after posting an ungodly .042 BA and SLG) to make room for Brandon Laird who has been raking in Oklahoma City. I think this article, posted by Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker, may have lit a fire under them. Or at the very least it is mighty embarrassing for Baker seeing as his beloved Mariners are 2-4 against the “Lastros” (very clever, Baker, haven’t heard that one before). The Astros look to keep what momentum they have going as they head out on a 6 game road trip starting Thursday, first to Boston then on to New York, before coming back home for a series against the Tigers.
In league news, nothing too noteworthy went down last week. We’ve had a few surprise teams that came out, although I only think a couple of them can keep it up. On the other hand, there’s been some unexpected slow starters, a couple of which I think are capable of turning around, but there’s also a couple I don’t think will be able to. Let’s get to 3 Up 3 Down!
Kansas City Royals: Don’t look now, but the Royals are leading the AL Central. It may only be by half a game, and we may not quite be a month into the season, but I think they have the talent to challenge the Tigers. If they can continue to get production from players like Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, and the pitching staff, they could be contenders come September.
Boston Red Sox / Baltimore Orioles: Just like everyone predicted (ha), the Red Sox and Orioles are currently leading the AL East while the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Rays are playing catch up (even if it’s just a couple of games). I don’t think the Orioles can sustain this much longer, but that’s also what I thought last season and they made the playoffs. The Red Sox, conversely, have the talent and money to compete this season if they catch a few breaks.
Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are probably the ultimate surprise team in all of baseball. Expected to lose close to 100 games again, they are red-hot and sit at 14-7 overall, leading the NL West by 1.5 games. I’d would love to see them keep this up all season, but I think the difficulty of the NL West will get to them eventually and they will fall back to Earth. But for now, let’s enjoy the ride.
San Diego Padres: Things are bleak and San Diego and don’t look to get much better anytime soon. Chase Headley has been reactivated after his thumb injury and may provide some spark to this sputtering offense, but it won’t be enough. They can’t pitch, they can’t hit, but at least they live in San Diego.
Miami Marlins: Whenever I get depressed about the Astros, I just thank the heavens that I’m not a Marlins fan.
Chicago Cubs: Things aren’t looking great in Chicago right now, but I think they can get better. The players just haven’t gotten hot yet but I think as soon as Rizzo or Castro find their swing, the Cubs will start winning some games. Will they be able to work their way into the NL Central race? Doubt it. They’re not playing well right now but things could definitely turn around.