Pitch counted: MLB season starting to separate pretenders from contenders

06/08/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak



Two months are in the books on the 2015 Major League Baseball season. Division races are tight, with 4 of the 6 division leaders holding a 2 game or less lead over 2nd place. Some teams that started slow have started to find their way and another month has allowed some of the contenders and pretenders to show their true colors. Let's take a look around the league to see where things stand after month number two.
Starting in the American League, in the East, it's the Yankees who continue to lead the division. New York is 7 games over .500 and holds a 1.5 game lead over 2nd place Tampa Bay. The Yankees and the Rays are the only teams in the division with better than .500 records. Toronto is 2 games below .500 and 4.5 games back, while Boston, and Baltimore are still within 5.5 games of first place. What's helped the Yankees stay on top of the East has been the early season play of Mark Teixeira, who leads the AL with 45 RBI's and is second in the league with 17 home runs. Andrew Miller's 17 saves are tied for second in the AL. Michael Pineda is tied for second in the AL in wins with 7, one of the players he's tied with is Tampa Bay's Chris Archer. Archer's 1.84 ERA is also second lowest in the AL.
In the Central, Minnesota has battled back to take the division lead, powered by their 20 home victories, which is best in the American League. The Twins also have the AL's best winning percentage. Right on the Twins tails are the Kanas City Royals, who sit 1 game out of first. Detroit has fallen back to 3rd place, sitting 4 games back of the Twins. This is due in large part to the Tigers having lost 8 of their past 10 games. Cleveland sits in 4th place 2 games under .500 and 6 games out of first, while Chicago brings up the division rear 7.5 games back. Minnesota's been led by Glen Perkins, who's 21 saves are tops in the AL. Kansas City has been led by Mike Moustakas, who's .318 batting average is 5th best in the league. Miguel Cabrera has helped keep the Tigers in range, batting .320, which is 4th best in the league, and ranks 7th in both HR's (12) and RBI's (38).

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In the West, the surprising Houston Astros continue to lead the division, 3.5 games ahead of Texas. The Astros 34 wins are most in the AL. The two teams from the Lone Star State are the only teams in the West with above .500 record, while Anaheim sits in 3rd place, 1 game under .500 and 5.5 games out of first. Houston has been led by the bats of Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena, who have combined for 24 HR's (12 each). Gattis's 38 RBI's are tied for 7th best in the AL as well. Houston has also been led by the arm of Dallas Keuchel, who's 7 wins are tied for 2nd most in the AL, while is 1.85 ERA is also second lowest in the league. The Rangers have Prince Fielder's .356 batting average is tops in the league, and Fielder is tied for 2nd in the AL with 40 RBI's.
Turning to the National League and starting in the East, the Mets remain in 1st place. But Washington has battled to within 1/2 game of 1st place. New York's success has come mostly from the mound, as Bartolo Colon (8 wins/tied for 2nd most), Jacob deGrom (7 wins/tied for 4th most), and Matt Harvey (6 wins/tied for 7th most), are all in the NL's Top 10 in victories. deGrom's 2.42 ERA is also 7th lowest in the league. Jeurys Familia's 17 saves are tied for 4th most in the NL. The Nationals success has come at the plate. Bryce Harper's .326 batting average is 6th highest in the NL, while right behind him is teammate Yunel Escobar, who's batting .325, which is 7th in the league. Harper's 19 HR's are tops in the league, while his 43 RBI's are 4th best. Washington's Max Scherzer ranks 2nd in the NL with a 1.85 ERA, and his 6 wins are tied for 7th most as well. Drew Storen's 18 saves are tied for second most in the National League.
In the Central, the Cardinals have continued at a torrid pace. St. Louis has the most wins in MLB, and the best winning percentage as well. Their 22 home wins are also tied for most in the majors. Pittsburgh has come back to climb into second place, sitting 6 games above .500, but still 6 games back of the Cardinals. Chicago is in 3rd, 1/2 game behind the Pirates. St. Louis has been led by the arms of Michael Wacha and Carlos Martiinez. Wacha is second in the NL with 8 wins, and his 2.18 ERA is 5th lowest in the league. Martinez's 6 wins are tied for 7th best in the NL. Trevor Rosenthal leads the league with 19 saves.Pitching has been strong for Pittsburgh as well. Gerrit Cole leads the league with 9 wins, while teammate A.J. Burnett's 6 wins are tied for 7th most. Cole also has the lowest ERA in the NL, at 1.73, while Burnett's 2.20 ERA is 6th lowest. Mark Melancon's 18 saves are tied for 2nd most in the league.
In the West, the Dodgers remain in 1st place. LA's 22 home wins are tied for most in MLB. San Francisco has climbed over San Diego and into 2nd place, 1 game behind the Dodgers. San Diego sits in 3rd place at .500, 4 games out of 1st. Arizona is 5 games back, while Colorado sits in last place 6.5 games out. LA has been led by Joc Pederson, who's 17 HR's are 3rd most in the NL. Adrian Gonzalez's 39 RBI's are 5th most in the league. Gonzalez's .330 batting average is also 5th best in the NL. Zack Greinke's 1.92 ERA is 4th lowest in the NL. San Francisco's Nori Aoki is 9th in the NL with a .321 average. Brandon Crawford's 38 RBI's are tied for 8th in the NL. Madison Bumgarner's 7 wins are tied for 4th most in the NL while Santiago Casilla's 17 saves are also tied for 4th most.

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