Sunday, May 06, 2012
OK American League... it is time to step up in 2012
So here we are in early May.
It is still early in the season and a lot can happen. But a whole month has transpired in the 2012 campaign and some interesting developments have occurred that should make some dormant teams wake up.
The Angels? One month in, they stink. Sure any team can have a lousy month. But save for Jered Weaver's perfect game and Torri Hunter and Kendrys Morales' performance, there has been nothing much to cheer for near Disneyland. Plus I am STILL tied with Albert Pujols for home runs.
The Red Sox? They look like a classic "Win 6 and lose 6" team with inconsistent pitching and a bullpen that will drive New England bonkers all year.
The Yankees? Well they are about to find out how long they can survive with a shake rotation and inconsistent offense without the 9th inning being automatic. The specter of Mariano Rivera closing out the 9th made up for a lot of inconsistencies. They won the 2005 AL East basically by saying "Just club the opposition to death and hand Mariano a lead." This year it has been "OK, the rotation hasn't been good, but scratch a lead together and make sure Mariano has a lead." This organization and fan base hasn't dealt with the 9th inning being anything but a lock since the strike (and back then, they were not a presumptive playoff participant.)
So what does this mean?
That means three teams that are regular playoff contenders are, to be extra ordinarily generous, shaky.
Throw in the fact that the Tigers, who just about everyone picked to win the AL Central, is off to a .500 start (they'll recover), and the American League could be in as much in flux as the unpredictable National League.
The Rays and the Rangers are making their cases for best teams in the league. And you'd think that winning back to back pennants would have made the Rangers more of favorite going into this season.
But there are five playoff spots this year and the chances of the Yankees, Angels AND Red Sox all missing the post season is not outlandish.
If there is any year a team like the Orioles or Blue Jays to have that elusive October cameo, it is this year. If any season could have the Indians sneak in or maybe the A's spit in the face of their detractors, it is this year.
In other words, take a close look at Memorial Day. If Baltimore, Toronto, Oakland or Cleveland are still at or near the top of their standings or close to the Wild Card by then, it would behoove them to buckle down.
Maybe this is the year they hold onto their veterans and fill a hole or two.
The Goliaths of the League have all stubbed their toes and are more vulnerable than anyone could have predicted.
For all of you who have complained that the Red Sox and Yankees win too much and you can just buy a pennant... the season you've been waiting for may have arrived.