In perusing the standings, it occurred to me that we have no chance of accurately judging strength of schedule this season. Not only would the sample size be far to small to make any sweeping judgments -- not to mention the large differences in games played when it comes to the COVID-19 shutdowns -- but the teams aren't playing outside their regions.
In the Central, it seems like the Twins and Cubs are the titans, though they've each faltered at one point. The Twins were swept by the Royals and the Cubs -- after a 13-3 start -- just lost three straight to the Brewers in which they had a lead. Plus, the Cardinals have only played eight times. Who knows. Cleveland could have something to say. Maybe the Brewers righted the ship. When will we see from the Reds again? The White Sox have lots of bright spots.
In the West, it's the A's and Dodgers with several teams who you could see getting hot and pushing them.
And yet, to reiterate, we have no way to compare how the Yankees have looked with the Dodgers. How have the Twins look compared to the A's? How do the Cubs look compared to the Braves? We can definitely use the eye test and also can go off how good we thought teams were going to be heading into the year, but the Orioles, Tigers and Marlins might have shown us we shouldn't do that in such small samples.
It's a weird season, but man, it's been a fun one to this point. Let's hope it continues and finishes, then the playoffs are likely to be the most unpredictable we've ever had, thanks to the 16 teams making it, the short series and also that we'd be intermingling the regions for the first time all season.
|If you want one inning to sum up these A's, look no further than scoring five in the ninth and tying the game with a grand slam against the Giants. These guys are relentless.||--||50-112|
|Remember when Mookie Betts was off to a slow start. Mercy. Shows you how fast it can click for superstars.||--||100-62|
|Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu down? The Yankees seem fine with just replacing stars. It's pretty impressive.||2||82-80|
|I found a scheduling oddity. The Twins only play the Brewers and Royals from Aug. 7-23. Sixteen straight games against just two teams.||2||87-75|
|Figuring out the pitching the next few days is going to be rough with Tyler Chatwood out, Jose Quintana still not back and five games in three days.||1||83-79|
|Brandon Lowe is crushing the ball and top prospect shortstop Wander Franco will surely be up soon, hopefully at some point in 2021 (wishful thinking on this year) and that'll be one hell of a double-play combo. As it stands, Wander Franco is a fine place-holder.||4||99-63|
|They entered Sunday the worst offense in baseball at runs per game. Sunday, they got home runs from Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez while Franmil Reyes went deep twice. Was that the game they needed to get them going?||2||76-86|
|Nick Markakis is crushing the ball since opting back in. Did you know he now has 2,365 career hits? He's 36 years old, so I don't see him getting really close to 3,000, but that's a high mark. Admirable career.||5||104-58|
|Huge week coming for the Rockies. First it's four games against an Astros team that seems bound for a hot streak and then it's three against the first-place Dodgers.||2||59-103|
|That's a 5-1 week. Against bad teams, yes, but who cares? As noted, strength of schedule isn't a thing this year.||5||90-72|
|I figured there would be rust with so much time off and barely the opportunity to work out. Pretty impressive they took two doubleheaders from a contender on the first day back.||2||71-91|
|Man, it comes and goes, but when they get hot it's a joy to watch. That poor Cardinals pitcher making his MLB debut Sunday found out quickly. They homered four straight times.||--||61-101|
|Perhaps they have their mojo back with the three straight come-from-behind and close wins in Wrigley Field.||1||92-70|
|Signs of life? That was a really strong week from the D-Backs.||8||84-78|
|This isn't a team that has tasted success together, so it's important to understand there will be hills and valleys as they learn to contend, especially the young players. The hill? Winning two straight against the Dodgers to run their record to 11-7. The valley? Immediately thereafter.||7||82-80|
|Let's just hope they can get back soon. Still, they've seen an awful lot of Tigers, Pirates and Royals to get sitting under .500 when they expected to contend.||5||82-80|
|Some of the numbers and they names they are attached to here are astounding. They have just been killing the ball. Against good pitching at times, too.||2||101-61|
|How about the Rangers, huh? They are on some kind of heater. Remember, they started 3-8.||7||90-72|
|I can't help but think down the road that losing four of their first five against the Orioles is going to be a big deal||1||71-91|
|Is it possible for Bryce Harper of all people to have a quiet and hot start? Because he's hitting .364/.493/.673 so far and it feels like not many are talking about him.||1||90-72|
|Watching Dom Smith terrorize opposing pitchers has been fun. The kid can rake.||4||75-87|
|Is the party over? That's losses in five of their last seven.||4||84-78|
|That Bo Bichette injury stings. He's hitting .356/.387/.678 and looks like a star in the making.||1||89-73|
|Is the party over? That's five straight losses from a roster that looks among the worst in baseball.||8||78-84|
|Heading into the season, I liked them as a postseason team and it's still possible, but they've really dug themselves a hole and have already played more than 1/3 of their games. They do get a bump for taking a series over the A's.||3||73-89|
|Good to see Trevor Rosenthal having a big season. He had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and was a disaster last season for both the Nationals and Tigers.||--||56-106|
|I know I mentioned him last week, but something has gotten into Donovan Solano in San Francisco. Before he joined the Giants, he was a career .257/.306/.331 hitter. Last season in 81 games for the Giants, he hit .330/.360/.456 and he's over .400 right now.||--||79-83|
|I found a bright spot. Reliever Phillips Valdez looks great.||5||78-84|
|Rough week, especially how it ended.||--||88-74|
|They played .500 ball this past week! (They went 1-1).||--||76-86|