Uh oh. A lot of people not hailing from the northeastern part of the U.S. won't like a certain aspect of this baseball season. Sure, it's still technically early, but we're coming up on 40 games and that's a pretty meaningful sample of baseball. It's entirely possible the two best teams in baseball are the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
As noted, that doesn't sit well with a lot of baseball fans, but those are also two gigantic, nation-wide fan bases and it is honestly pretty damn good for the sport. We're bound to see plenty of those two teams the rest of the way on national TV and we might even get a playoff series between the two hated rivals. Remember how phenomenal the 2003 and 2004 ALCS (plural!) were? Might we get one of those in 2018?
Sure, the Astros, Indians, Angels or someone else might have something to say about that come October. It's possible either the Yankees or Red Sox deal with severe injury issues or start playing terribly and miss the playoffs, too. I'm not buying that, though. Both are going to make the postseason and, the way things look right now, they are the top two teams in the AL.
The Yankees didn't look great through 18 games, starting the season 9-9. We were treated to the typical New York-style overreactions, particularly to Giancarlo Stanton's slow start, as if he hasn't been streaky his whole career (but I know nothing counts until a guy plays for the Yankees, right, New York?).
Since then, the Yankees have been world beaters. They are 15-1 and it's been against great competition. They've taken three of four from the Astros in Houston while sweeping the Angels on the road and the Indians at home.
Among the regulars, with possible exceptions of Didi Gregorius and CC Sabathia, no one is really playing ridiculously over their heads. Several players should actually be better moving forward, notably Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner. Maybe Sonny Gray will remember how to throw strikes at some point and his last two starts have been encouraging on this front.
Then we have the Red Sox. They won 93 games last season with David Price injured and the offense forgetting how to hit for power. This time around, the offense is back to being a powerhouse behind newcomer J.D. Martinez and the season MVP to this point, Mookie Betts. Rick Porcello is back in Cy Young form instead of being terrible while David Price has been inconsistent but contributed several good outings. And hey, they've got possibly the most dominant ace/closer combo in baseball in Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel.
Anyone who knows baseball knew the 17-2 start would even itself out and that's happened, but the Red Sox have now won six of their last eight and boast the best record in baseball.
By the way, the Red Sox visit the Bronx for a three-game series starting this Tuesday. It's must-see TV for baseball fans, even if it makes you angry that it's these two franchises.
Whether the rankings make you angry or not, you can hit me up via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MattSnyderCBS. Thanks and see you next week, right here.
|I mentioned CC Sabathia in the intro and if he keeps pitching like this and can extend his career another few years, he'll be in the Hall of Fame discussion.||2||93-58|
|Mookie Betts had 24 homers last season. This time around, he's on pace for 62.||2||72-79|
|The Snakes just took the series from the defending champs, which isn't that big a deal for this squad. They haven't lost a series all season. They're doing this with a banged-up rotation, too. Stellar.||1||71-83|
|The champs have only won five of their last 13 games. They're still fine, but if this continues we might have to broach the "H" word. No, not Houston. The thing that there's an awesome Las Vegas-based movie about (the two sequels never happened!).||3||101-53|
|Fresh off a 5-1 week, the Halos are hot again.||1||67-86|
|They're only 5-7 at home, but have been road warriors (15-8 with series wins over the Cubs, Pirates, Nationals and Mets).||10||65-88|
|Just like that, here they come. With teams like this, it's why I always preach patience. It doesn't take long for a team that is very talented to get things locked in and go on an extended streak of winning.||12||53-99|
|If there's one area they seem to have neglected for the past several years, it's a good backup to Yadier Molina. Now they'll be without him for a month.||7||89-65|
|This seems like a good point to talk about how this team doesn't look very good, but how many actually do? Three? Six? We'd be stretching to go further on the surefire good teams.||4||67-86|
|This is intriguing. What if they keep lingering in contention, get good news on Johnny Cueto and weather the storm until Madison Bumgarner and Mark Melancon come back? They are playing awfully good baseball.||7||75-78|
|They were riding high, sitting with a 7-1 record since calling up Ronald Acuna, but then got swept at home by the banged-up Giants. Ebbs and flows, man. Baseball. There are still lots of reasons to believe this is an exciting team in contention all year.||3||95-58|
|So much for being excited for a possible King Felix bounce-back season. His ERA now sits at 5.28.||3||83-69|
|It doesn't matter what a team's regular-season record is once the playoffs start. Ask the 2006 Cardinals, Indians fans. Your team could win this trash division with 83 wins.||2||86-67|
|The Jays have only won seven of their last 18 games, but at least Josh Donaldson is back in the lineup.||4||86-67|
|Entering this season, Francisco Cervelli's single-season career high in home runs was seven. He had a career .373 slugging percentage. At present, he's hitting .301/.391/.559 with five homers.||2||56-97|
|The Brewers are 14-1 against the Reds, Padres, Marlins and Royals. They are 6-14 against everyone else. For the rest of May, they play the Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks (two different series), Mets and Cardinals. Time to start reversing course and proving they are a true contender. We'll see.||2||82-71|
|The series losses to the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Braves are at least understandable. The series loss to the Marlins is not.||5||83-69|
|This week's WTF fact: Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill have combined for a 2.37 ERA in five starts for the A's this year. No, this is not 2010.||2||56-97|
|The 11-1 start is but a distant memory, but at least Matt Harvey soon will be a distant memory as well.||12||97-57|
|Clayton Kershaw getting injured is really the icing on top of the crap sundae that this season has been. Remember last week when I said we could move to DEFCON 4? Let's go down to DEFCON 3 now.||2||106-47|
|I'm as confused as possible when I look at the lineup they run out and then see they're close to .500.||--||84-69|
|Get a look at Fernando Romero, if you can. His stuff is filthy.||1||74-79|
|Eric Hosmer looks like he's in the midst of a career year after signing an eight-year deal. It's almost like most players always try their best despite the contract status.||3||85-68|
|Don't look at the lineup with Miguel Cabrera on the disabled list. It's so ugly it's NSFW.||2||60-92|
|Joey Gallo three-true-outcomes update: 145 plate appearances, 70 of which have resulted in a walk, strikeout or home run.||1||65-87|
|The Marlins have won four straight series. Nice little run!||2||63-90|
|Nine of their 11 wins have come against the AL Central.||3||63-90|
|On their 40-man roster, the White Sox have two Rondons and a Rodon. That's about as interesting a thing as I can find to say about the White Sox right now.||3||76-77|
|This Week in Dumb: During spring training, I thought the Reds were one of those teams that could surprise this season. Not contend, but look like one of those "year before the year" teams. The lesson, as always: I'm an idiot.||--||60-93|
|We thought the 5-8 start was bad, so the Orioles went out and went 3-18 since then to show us just how bad things can get. They're atrocious.||3||79-73|