Highway California: A Look at MLB Baseball

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Oakland Athletics

Despite centerfielder Coco Crisp being out with an injury for the last week, the A’s have not suffered. Oakland has quietly been holding the top slot for the American League with the help of fellow outfielders Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and home run derby winner Yoenis Cespedes. The A’s have a 28-16 record after the first month and a half of the season. Moss has been smashing balls out of the park since moving from first base to outfield with Crisp out. In his last 10 games he’s hit four home runs, two of which were in a game against division rivals, the Mariners. Right fielder Josh Reddick, who was struggling in the first couple weeks, has found his momentum with his new walk-up song “Careless Whisper,” which fueled him to slap the team’s first grand slam of the season against the Cleveland Indians.

 

San Francisco Giants

There must be something in the water in the Bay Area because San Francisco is leading the pack in the NL West with a current record of 28-17. The Giants have vastly improved since last year with a pair of good pickups in the off-season. Veteran pitcher Tim Hudson, the former Athletic, is pitching with a 2.09 ERA and a record of 4-2 while left fielder Michael Morse has also shown that he’s able to contribute by slugging out homers during crucial moments, such as the slugfest between the Giants and the Colorado Rockies for a 12-10 victory in late April. First baseman Brandon Belt is also standing a little taller knowing that he has homered in every away game series. A team that has usually relied on its pitchers is now showing it can slug ‘em out the park with the rest of the league.

 

San Diego Padres

Unfortunately, much like the placement of San Diego in the state of California, the Padres are close to the bottom of their division with a 21-24 record. The Padres currently hold this season’s record of being the most-shutout team. After a recent brutal outing against Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds, the Padres have been shut out a total of seven times. San Diego is staying afloat with its new veteran pitcher, Joaquin Benoit, who was formerly with the Detroit Tigers. The switch from National League to American is one that Benoit is still getting used to hitting-wise. The pitcher definitely still has the same arm, however, with a 2.18 ERA on the year.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Only games behind San Francisco, the Dodgers are still competing admirably despite a few hurdles. Clayton Kershaw made his second outing against the Washington Nationals with an impressive seven-inning performance by striking out nine batters and not allowing a single run. Zack Greinke is a leader in wins with an extraordinary 7-1 record and 2.03 ERA. Dan Haren is only one win behind his teammate with a 5-2 record. Josh Beckett has also gotten back into the groove of things and has shown vast improvement with a 2.38 ERA after his 5.30 ERA season last year. Yasiel Puig leads the team batting average at .322 but second baseman Dee Gordon is right on his tail with a .304 average, and leads the team with 52 hits to Puig’s 49.

 

Los Angeles Angels

Three games behind Oakland in the AL West, the Angels are just trailing the two-time west champs. It’s been nearly a month since first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 500th career home run and he hasn’t quite had the same fire. With a batting average of .264 for the season and going 8-40 in his last 10 games, Pujols seems to be battling Father Time as the 34-year-old has yet to regain his St. Louis Cardinals form from days past. Despite his walk-off home run against the Tampa Bay Rays, fan-favorite Mike Trout has been in a slump during the month of May, most notably in his last couple games against his hometown team, the Phillies, with a 2-9 batting record during their two-game series. Starting pitcher Garrett Richards improved his ERA to 2.42 and record to 4-0 with Wednesday’s game. Richards also struck out eight players while not walking a single batter for the first time this year.

All statistics are correct as of press time.

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