July 4th weekend is upon us! This holiday conjures up thoughts of barbecues, fireworks, and of course, baseball. There is an old adage that the teams that are in the lead at this juncture of the season will go on to finish at the top. Let’s look at where the standings are as of this morning.
The Houston Astros own the best record in the Majors. The Los Angeles Dodgers are tops in the National League.
The last time that I did one of these progress reports the Houston Astros were head and shoulders above the rest. Since then Houston has slowed down a bit, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have sped up. The Astros are comfortably in front in the American League West. They have a 13.5 game lead over the second place Angels. Back around Memorial Day the Dodgers were in a three team dog fight in the National League West with Arizona and Colorado. As of this morning, the boys from Hollywood own a 3.5 game lead over Arizona. The Rockies huge start has faded a bit, they trail Los Angeles by seven games as of this morning. By the way, the now second place Diamondbacks own the second best mark in the Senior Circuit.
Speaking of recent fades, the boys from the Bronx come to mind. After a blazing start, the New York Yankees have slowed up of late. They have lost their hold on the American League East, and currently sit in second place, two games behind the Boston Red Sox.
This season started with a host of ball-clubs getting off to a running start. Along with the Yankees and Rockies, the Minnesota Twins have also slowed down. After a blazing start, Minnesota is now two behind the division leading Cleveland Indians. The Tribe was heavily favored to win the American League Central prior to the start of the season.
Two of the surprises have not slowed down. To this writer, this year’s biggest surprises have to be the aforementioned Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Milwaukee Brewers currently lead the National League Central.
After all of the miracles and curse breaking that went on at Wrigley Field in 2016, something has happened on the way to a divisional repeat. A scant 90 miles up the coast of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Brewers are making some magic of their own. The surprising Brew Crew currently lead the Cubbies by three games and the St. Louis Cardinals by three and a half.
There are quite a few questions that surround the National League East. Although the Washington Nationals have had a comfortable lead from the start, the Atlanta Braves seem to be a surprise. They are currently in second place, seven and a half games behind the Nats. So here are the questions. Can the boys from the Nation’s Capitol wrap things up by Labor Day? Will the Braves keep up? Will the Mets turn things around and possibly challenge the Nationals? Will Jeffrey Loria clean house in Miami after the rest of the league leaves town following next week’s All-Star Game?
Yankees Aaron Judge and Dodgers Cody Bellinger.
There are two rookies that are tearing up the baseball world as we head into the July 4th holiday. Cory Bellinger of the Dodgers became the fastest rookie to hit 21 homers a couple of weeks ago. Bellinger currently has hit 24 dingers. Not to be outdone, Aaron Judge of the Yankees has belted 27 home runs. We may be in for the biggest home run duel since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa!
Will the July 4th adage come true this year? Will the Brewers keep it up? Will Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich continue to reside on South Beach? Only time will tell.