NEW YORK — We have reached the halfway point of MLB’s regular season for the majority of franchises in both respective leagues — 81 games down, and 81 more to go. Here is a brief glimpse of each current division leader as well as how the AL/NL Wild Card standings shake out.
American League East
The Tampa Bay Rays have continued their dominance all season, ranking in the top-10 in nearly every statistical category while holding a +152 run differential. Whether it be on offense, on defense, or in the pitching department, the Rays play winning baseball.
Eight players with 51 or more hits
Seven players with seven or more stolen bases
Six players with 24 or more walks
Team-ERA of 3.59 (2nd in MLB behind Houston)
286 earned runs allowed (Tied for 3rd in MLB)
MVP WATCH: With Shohei Ohtani, the LA Angels two-way phenom, who hits and pitches at an All-Star level, on his way to his second career AL MVP award, Randy Arozarena, will more than likely finish within the top-five for the AL MVP — currently second in the American League in on-base percentage (.401) and fifth in OPS (.876).
In 79 games, the 28-year-old, of Havana, Cuba, has recorded a .286 batting average, with 14 HR, 54 RBI and nine stolen bases.
American League Central
As the Guardians and Twins are currently neck-and-neck in the division standings, Minnesota has held up their end with strong pitching performances from Sonny Gray, Pablo López (Cabimas, Venezuela), Joe Ryan and Brian Ober. The dynamic four of Gray, López, Ryan and Ober have combined to record 19 victories this season to go along with 380 strikeouts.
A surprising find and one that can be an indicator later: Minnesota is 8-14 in one run games. Expect an intense back-and-forth battle in the standings till the very end with Cleveland and Minnesota.
American League West
Who would have thought the Texas Rangers would be making noise in the AL West as we head into July? Texas, who is jolted by Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis García (Ciego de Avila, Cuba), leads all of MLB in hits, runs scored, and team batting average (.274). But wait, there’s more…
Six players with 10 or more HR
Five players with 48 RBI or more
Six players with an OBP of .325 or higher
Two Starters with an ERA under 3.00 — Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray
+157 Run Differential — 1st in MLB
Similar to Minnesota, Texas struggles late in ball-games: 5-11 in one-run games, 2-3 in extra inning games, and overall, their bullpen holds a ERA of 4.27 (9th worst in MLB). Perhaps, towards the trade deadline this August, the Rangers swing for an established reliever, and an additional arm in the starting rotation.
National League East
The Atlanta Braves are on their way to the franchise’s sixth consecutive division title, currently leading the NL East by six games, and appear to be this year’s National League juggernaut.
MVP WATCH: Ronald Acuña Jr. (La Guaira, Venezuela) is in the midst of a MVP campaign and if all goes right, barring injury, the four-time All-Star could be the next member of the illustrious 40-40 club (40 HR and 40 SB in a single season). The 25-year-old, Acuña Jr., a recipient of the 2018 NL LatinoMVP Rookie Award, currently has 19 HR and 36 stolen bases in 80 games this season. Essentially, all is good in Atlanta.
National League Central
Believe it or not, the battle in the National League Central has the potential to be the most entertaining division race once we hit late August-September. As it stands today, the Brewers and Reds are tied for the NL Central lead, however; expect changes all summer long…
Days in 1st place throughout the 2023 season
Brewers: 56 days
Pirates: 33 days
Reds: 12 days
Cubs: 3 days
Cardinals: 2 days
Fresh faces in October? Milwaukee last made the playoffs in 2021, while Pittsburgh has not appeared in the postseason since 2015 and for Cincinnati, the Reds’ last time playing past the regular season was in 2020.
National League West
If you are looking for a fun team to watch, tune in to the National League West division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks — a scrappy bunch, led by rookie sensation Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte (Nizao, Dominican Republic), Geraldo Perdomo (Santo Domingo, D.R.) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Sancti Spiritus, Cuba).
The D-Backs play a hustle-like style of baseball that creates unforeseen pressure on opponents: stealing bases (T-3rd in MLB with 81 SB) and small-ball (T-2nd with 15 sacrifice bunts).
And to zone in on the division, throughout NL West contests, Arizona has recorded 17 wins and 11 losses.
Arizona D-Backs vs. NL West Opponents
6-1 vs. Colorado Rockies – six games remaining
5-3 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – five games remaining
2-4 vs. San Diego Padres – seven games remaining
4-3 vs. San Francisco Giants – six games remaining
American League Wild Card Standings as of Friday, June 30th
National League Wild Card Standings as of Today, June 30th
Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com
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