|2014 Patriots Offensive Line Preview: Solder, Mankins, Stork, Cannon, Vollmer||Bill Belichick Coaching Elsewhere? Albert Breer Stirs the Speculation Pot||Video: Brock Holt Makes Unreal Catch in Red Sox 14-1 Win Over Blue Jays||Celtics to Sign Evan Turner|
Two weeks are gone in the MLB season. Plenty of teams that were taken with a grain of salt or even discounted before the season are pulling ahead in the early going. Other predicted contenders aren’t doing so well. Then again, it is early, and that can happen before teams settle into a groove. But as it stands, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, April 15, before the day’s games:
The Brewers already have a nine-game winning streak to their credit, after only 13 games total. Francisco Rodriguez has been stellar in the closer role in his return to the team. A very strong rotation, especially the top three, helps as well. If Milwaukee can stay healthy (and Ryan Braun can stay out of trouble), the Brewers could be a force this season.
The Braves have won four straight, and early in the season beat Milwaukee twice. The Dodgers have won three straight, and have the star power to win any game. But their best player Clayton Kershaw is already on his first DL stint of the season. The psychological effect if not everyone is in place could hurt the Dodgers, though Atlanta must still be cautious.
St Louis has won three straight, including the series opener in Milwaukee. San Francisco is also involved in a three-way tie for the two Wildcard spots, though former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is still struggling to start the season. San Francisco still has plenty of oomph, but the Cardinals are always ready to play with and beat the best.
Oakland has jumped out to a lead in the lackluster AL, which is good news if the rest of the league keeps squabbling with each other. Just think of where they’d be if only Jim Johnson didn’t bomb himself out of the closer’s role within the first two weeks. If that matter gets settled, the Athletics could be dangerous.
Speaking of closer problems, the Yankees lost David Robertson to injury, until late April or so; they’re also just two games ahead of last place in the AL East, so they must be careful. The Tigers are just 6-4, and thought they’d be better, but are still leading a fairly tight division. Injuries are already ravaging the Yankees, though not to the the severity they did last season. Still, that doesn’t bode well for their chances.
The AL Wildcard race, at two weeks, is even tighter than the NL’s. Both Seattle and Chicago haven’t been thought of as playoff teams for some time now. Seattle did make the biggest offseason splash when they signed Robinson Cano, and didn’t go overboard with signing superstars. Cano is a good core piece, and they also have Fernando Rodney closing games, and don’t dare forget King Felix. A little more power and Seattle could be an attractive dark horse.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB Playoffs, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals