Just about three weeks into the season, baseball is led by two teams in virtually every category. Both have won more than two-thirds of their games and took several in pretty dominating fashion. One will most likely win the AL East this season, while the other will settle for the wild card. These two teams will most likely face each other in the ALCS this season, too.
After wins again on Saturday, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are dominating. At 12-5 and 13-5, respectively, they boast the two best records in baseball this season. With Philadelphia, they are the only teams to have scored more than 90 runs in the majors and along with Minnesota, the only teams to allow less than 63 runs in the American League.
Since losing two of three from the Yankees earlier in April, the Rays are and impressive 10-2, sweeping Baltimore and Boston – not to mention in Baltimore and Boston – along the way. The Yankees have been almost as impressive, going 9-3 in that span, sweeping Texas and taking three of five from the LA Angels.
When you seem them on the field, the two teams seem to be in a whole other league. Both are dominant offensively and defensively. Both boast speedy outfields with defense-minded infielders who happen to hit very well.
Of the nine players on the Yankees with 50 or more at-bats, 5 are hitting over .300 and seven of the nine boast on-base percentages of .350 or greater. Robinson Cano has earned the fifth spot in the order after getting off to a great start. He’s hitting .369 with 13 RBI and 4 homers – all team highs.
The Yankee rotation has four pitchers with very good outings this season, including two almost no-hitters from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Andy Pettitte leads the team and is tied for the league-lead in wins, with 3, and leads the league with a 1.29 ERA. Mariano Rivera leads the league in saves, with 6.
The Tampa Bay offense is far less impressive from a numbers standpoint, but somehow they manage to get on base and score runs. They only have one hitter with 50 AB hitting over .300 – Carl Crawford – but the Rays seem to make it happen when it counts. Seven guys have 8 or more RBI this season, putting each on pace for 100+ this season. Carlos Pena, at a staggering 17 RBI, is on pace for 229. And he’s hitting only .233.
On the mound, the Rays are a little more impressive with Matt Garza sitting at 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 25 strikeouts. David Price and James Shields each have 2 wins apiece. Rafael Soriano has been a half-way decent closer, with 4 saves on the season, but he’s no Rivera.
I have a feeling these teams will battle strong throughout the season. Boston has begun the season 7-10 and can’t figure out how to hit or pitch consistently. I think they won’t finish under .500 this season, but I don’t think they’ll challenge either of these teams for a playoff spot this season. Baltimore and Toronto are not strong either.
The road to the World Series will most likely travel through the Bronx or St Pete in October. The two teams next face off on May 19 in the Bronx with the Yankees in the midst of a tough 7-game homestand.
When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.