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Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Team in Majors??

Well, we are officially halfway through the 2008 MLB season, and we yes that's the, the Chicago Cubs, and Tampa Bay Rays are STILL their respective Division leaders. But of course, the American League continues to dominate the National League. Who is the best team in the Majors? Read on to find out.

The Candidates:

*Tampa Bay Rays (49-32; 1st in AL East)

Tampa has made the best start in their 10 year history, and, thanks to great hitting, and pitching the Rays have been in the mix all season. Rookie Evan Longoria leads the Rays with 15 homeruns, and 47 RBI's in 71 games this season. Tampa is the 12th highest scoring team in the Majors with 382 runs, and have the ninth highest team batting average. The team's pitching has been up there as well. In fact, the team's ERA is currently 3.69, fifth lowest in the League, and a .241 batting average against (good enough for second, behind the Oakland A's). A great combination of hitting, and pitching always wins games.

*Boston Red Sox (50-34; 2nd in AL East)

Slugger Manny Ramirez is on a cold streak, and injuries to pitchers have hit the Sox, but they have still managed to be the first team to reach 50 wins this season. The Sox are just a half game behind the leading Rays. The Sox have the second-best record at home (31-10), behind only the Chicago Cubs. Boston really knows how to score runs, which is, of course, the key to winning games. They are third in the league in runs scored with 424. Don't expect the Sox to allow Tampa to run away with the East.

*Chicago White Sox (46-35; 1st in AL Central)

Of all the Division leaders, I think the ChiSox may be the most surprising. They are on a four-game win streak, and just completed the sweep of the 49-33 Chicago Cubs last night. Chicago sure can hit for power, and are currently third in homeruns, with 109. The pitching has been fantastic recently, as well. The Sox are first in team ERA, and sixth in batting average against. The only threat to the Sox as of today, are the Minnesota Twins, who have won nine of their last ten games, and are just a game and a half back in the Central.

*Los Angeles Angels (49-33; 1st in AL West)

The best road team in the League hardly gets any publicity anymore. The Angels are as good as anyone right now, and if Vlad Guerrero keeps up his power surge, they could easily win the West. This team obviously doesn't score a whole lot of runs (24th in runs scored), but they find different ways to win games, and that's all that matters. If you look at it closely, you'll see their offense really hasn't been doing great at all. But, their pitching has succeeded, and pitching is just as important than hitting. I guarantee you the Angels will still be around in October.

*Chicago Cubs (49-33; 1st in NL Central)

Ah yes, the NL. Chicago was just swept by interstate rivals, the Chicago White Sox last night, but that doesn't take away from their first half success. First baseman Derek Lee, and third baseman Aramis Ramirez lead the Cubbies in hitting, which happens to be the second-highest scoring team in the League. But the Cubs are first in team batting average, and on base percentage, which are both very important in winning games. The pitching staff recently suffered a big blow to the head in the rotation when pitching ace Carlos Zambrano was placed on the DL. But they have learned to deal without him. They have done a pretty good job, too. They are tenth in team ERA, eighth in batting average against, and sixth in strikeouts. The Cubs will win the Central with no problem.

*St. Louis Cardinals (47-36; 2nd in NL Central)

Yes that's right, another team from the Central. I didn't feel the Phils (44-39; 1st in NL East), and D'Backs (41-41; 1st in NL West) were powerful enough to be mentioned on this elite list. With Albert Pujols back in the lineup, the Cards' hitting should sky-rocket. St. Louis is on a two-game win streak, and are just 2.5 games behind the Cubbies in the Central. The Cards' pitching has been pretty average this season, but their hitting has been doing pretty well. They are the ninth highest-scoring team in the League, and are fifth best in team batting average.

And the Winner is...

The Tampa Bay Rays!! You've gotta hand it to them, they've done an awesome job keeping up with the favorites, Boston. The young guys like Longoria, and B.J. Upton have had great half seasons, and Matt Garza, James Shields, and Andy Sonnanstine have had solid seasons in the rotation as well. Closer Troy Percival has had 21 save opportunities, and closed the deal in 19 of them. I don't think you could've asked for a better all-around performance from these guys.


JustinY said...

Sorry to jump your post apologies...yours was better, mine you corroborates i suppose...heh

Ben Heck said...

That's alright, apparently it's been a pretty slow day all-around. Looks like we're the only one's to post something today.

Andrew Godfrey said...

The White Sox should be OK with that offensive lineup and pitching staff. Looks like they will have four players with 30 homers. At least they are halfway there at the halfway mark. John Danks and Mark Buehrle are doing well lately and Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez and Gavin Floyd should keep the team from having any long losing streaks.

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