A couple of weeks ago everyone was writing the Giants off – nobody was pitching to Barry Bonds, since the Giants’ weak-hitting lineup meant that they didn’t really have to, and the team looked like it was going nowhere.
Well, as if to prove that old adage that you don’t know nothin’ in this game, the Giants have now put together a streak of ten wins
(their best streak since 1998) and are now just 1 ½ games out of first place. It’s California all the way in the NL West right now – the Dodgers are in first place, the Padres are in second (their winning percentage is just 0.002% less than that of Los Angeles), and the red-hot Giants are breathing down the necks of both these teams.
It’s good to see San Diego holding their own in this division, but it should be noted that after two months of the season, the NL West is not the only place we’re seeing new names at or near the top of the division. In the AL West, perennial losers Texas are just 2 ½ games behind first-place Anaheim and 1 game ahead
of perennial contenders Oakland. In the NL Central, where things are always tight, Milwaukee is still one game over
.500 after almost a third of the season, and the team propping up the division – the Raul Mondesi-less
Pittsburgh Pirates – is a mere one game under
.500 and just 5 games out of first place. I don’t care if this is a reflection of a mediocre division or not – I just like the idea that this division race is going to be a tight one right through to September. The Reds are still in first place (and who would have bet on that at the start of the season?), closely followed by the Cubs, Astros and Cardinals, all of whom have identical 27-23 records. Cincinnati’s resurgence coincides happily – for them at least – with spells on the DL for key players on their opponents’ rosters (Kerry Wood, Andy Pettitte
), so the current situation might not last, but for now, they’re looking good.
All things considered, it would seem that there’s a lot of good baseball left between now and the end of September (and I haven’t even got started on the Yankees, the Red Sox, the defending World Series champion Marlins or even the hugely-improved, not-gonna-lose-100-games-this-year Detroit Tigers...).