Let the Dog Days of Summer Begin
Deep into June and the landscape is still changing. There is a big drop off from the top 10 teams to the rest of the league. Injuries continue to run wild on the league and the depth of teams is being tested. And now we are going to start seeing pitchers regularly checked for banned substances. It has been a season of streaks this year so let’s take a look at who is hot and who is staying cold in the summer season.
- Houston Astros (44-28) +8
The Astros just dominated this week while the rest of the top teams in the AL struggled. A 6-0 week was capped off by a four game sweep of the White Sox and it was a pretty dominant sweep. The Astros have found their groove and that is bad news for anyone hoping to see them struggle (for obvious reasons.)
- San Francisco Giants (46-26) —
The Giants had another good week, a theme for them this season. Sweeping the D-Backs in a four game set kicked off the week and they wrapped it up taking two of three from Philadelphia. The offense was outstanding this week and the pitching has been this teams bread and butter all year. They play Oakland this weekend at home which will be their toughest test this month.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (44-28) +3
Much like the Giants, the Dodgers have had a relatively easy schedule this month. That changes now. They go to San Diego before returning home to host the Cubs and Giants. This is a chance for the Dodgers to flex their muscle and show they are still the top dogs in the Senior Circuit.
- Chicago White Sox (43-29) —
It was a roller coaster of a week for the South Siders. After taking a big series over Tampa Bay, they were swept by Houston dominantly. Cleveland also continues to put pressure on them in the division. They do get a couple of games against the Pirates before taking on the streaking Mariners this weekend.
- Boston Red Sox (43-29) -2
Dropping two of three with the Royals over the weekend soured what had been a good week for Boston. The starting rotation is just not good enough right now to win the East. They are going to need to make a move at the deadline if they want to really compete for the pennant.
- Oakland Athletics (44-30) -1
A sweep over the Angels had Oakland feeling good. Losing a series to the Yankees over the weekend wasn’t as fun for the A’s. The Astros are red hot so the A’s have to keep pace. Matt Olson is the bright spot for this lineup while the pitching continues to be hit or miss.
- Tampa Bay Rays (43-30) -6
The Rays just had the definition of a nightmare week. They went 1-6 losing two of three to the White Sox and getting swept in a four game set with the Mariners. On top of that, four of those losses were via the walkoff and they lost Tyler Glasnow to a partially torn UCL. The one bright spot is the top prospect Wander Franco has been called up. The Rays just want to forget about last week.
- San Diego Padres (43-32) +2
When the Padres are good, they can win a World Series. When the Padres are bad, they could miss the playoffs. The biggest problem is that they aren’t consistent either way. Everything changes week to week. They were swept by Colorado but then swept Cincinnati. They’ll probably sweep the Dodgers and get swept by Arizona this week.
- New York Mets (37-30) +3
Just when it looks like the Mets are going to start pulling away with the division, they drop three of four to Washington. Pitching injuries are also a cause for concern with this club. Joey Lucchesi is done for the year with Tommy John and Michael Conforto is still dealing with a hamstring issue. They dodged a major bullet with Jacob deGrom being ok. They have a massive week with eight games against division opponents with four against Atlanta and four with Philadelphia. It is a huge week in Queens.
- Chicago Cubs (40-33) -3
Well the Cubs finally hit a speed bump in the month of June. They lost a four game set to the Mets and a three game series to the Marlins.The offense has gone ice cold and now the schedule ramps up even more. It looks unlikely the Cubs will be atop the division at the All-Star break but they will be close. That in itself is a very good sign for this club.
- Milwaukee Brewers (40-33) -3
The Brewers won the last two games to split a four game series with the Rockies. Those were their only two wins of the week. Being swept by the Reds also puts another contender in the mix in the NL Central. Both Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff struggled which is unusual this season. No need to panic right now when it comes to this team as a whole.
- Cleveland Indians (40-30) +1
Cleveland, like most teams, did great in one series this week, but flopped in the other. They swept a four game series with Baltimore but then lost two of three to Pittsburgh. This rotation is so thin right now that it is going to be nearly impossible to keep pace with the White Sox. I think this team is about to crash back down to Earth.
- New York Yankees (38-33) +6
The Yankees are riding high right now. Sweeping the Blue Jays and taking the series with Oakland. Gary Sanchez seems to be the guy that either makes this team sink or swim. They also have a big time revenge series coming up this weekend in Fenway.
- Buffalo Blue Jays (35-35) -3
So far, the Blue Jays beat the bad teams and lose to the good teams. Like Boston, the starting rotation is the clear weak spot with this team. They should be getting George Springer back soon, but they need a solid pitcher if they want to hang around in the East.
- Seattle Mariners (38-36) +8
Wow what a week for Seattle. Taking two out of three from the struggling Twins was nice. Following that up with a four game sweep of the defending American League champions was incredible. Young teams like this one thrive off of momentum. If guys like JP Crawford and Jake Bauers can sustain this success, this squad might be able to make a run for a Wild Card.
- Cincinnati Reds (35-36) +2
I did my best to come up with something to compare how hot and cold the Reds are. The best I could come up with was peak Linsanity back in 2012. This is just an absolutely wild ride. Imagine if Nick Castellanos and Jeremy Lin became friends. That would be amazing.
- Philadelphia Phillies (34-35) -3
The Phillies had a tough week against some tough teams. Going across the country to play the Dodgers and Giants is going to be tough on anyone. They can’t seem to get healthy though. Jean Segura was having a nice bounce back season before getting hurt. It’s turning out to be a rough couple of years in Philadelphia sports.
- Los Angeles Angels (36-36) -1
The Angels would not have dropped at all if they wouldn’t have been swept by Oakland. This is so far the best month for the Angels this season and they are doing it without Mike Trout. A tough week awaits though with the Giants and Rays coming up.
- Atlanta Braves (34-37) -3
The Braves have not really shown any signs that they can go on a major run and pull away with the division. With that being said, I really feel like this team will go on a major run and win the division. Pitching is still thin but this lineup is way too good to not win games.
- St. Louis Cardinals (36-36) -5
The Cardinals got a sweep over Miami before losing three of four to Atlanta. The team is healthy but the bats are in a massive rut. I thought this team could play in the NLCS. If they can’t get things going, they will be lucky to get a Wild Card berth
- Washington Nationals (33-36) +3
The Nationals are hot. They were already on fire coming into the week and added a sweep of Pittsburgh and winning three of four with the first place Mets to the resume. Kyle Schwarber hit six home runs last week and has the Nationals flying high. The NL East has been put on notice.
- Miami Marlins (31-40) -1
Well the Marlins got swept by St. Louis and then took two of three from the Cubs. If the offense can just be OK, this team will stay relevant. The pitching is stacked and the division is wide open. Taylor Rodgers and Sandy Alcantara are pushing this team as far as they can.
- Kansas City Royals (32-38) -3
After six straight losses, the Royals took two of three from Boston. This is a team of hot and cold stretches. However the cold stretches seem to be a lot colder than the hot stretches are hot.
- Detroit Tigers (30-42) -2
The Tigers aren’t really trying to make a run this year. They are checking out what they have in their young pitchers and if they can utilize the rotation as their core. So far, the answer is yes. Casey Mize, Tarik Skuball, and Spencer Turnbull have showcased enough to make Tigers fans eager for the future.
- Colorado Rockies (30-43) +3
A sweep of the Padres and a split with the Brewers made for an outstanding week in the Mile High city. Yonathan Daza has been a very nice surprise in his first stint in the big leagues at the age of 27. The bad news is they now go on the road this week to face a couple of hot teams in Seattle and Milwaukee. The Rockies are 5-27 on the road, the worst road record in baseball.
- Minnesota Twins (31-41) -1
A sweep of the Rangers over the weekend helped the Twins actually have a winning week. Before that, they got beat up in Seattle but Byron Buxton returned so maybe things are looking up for Minnesota.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (25-45) +2
The Pirates won a series this week! They took two of three from Cleveland after being swept by Washington. Again, the goal for this team this season is to get the young guys experience and get as much as they can in the trade market.
- Baltimore Orioles (23-49) -1
A 1-6 week has this team back down to the bottom three. Things get much worse as they take on the Astros and Blue Jays this week. With John Means on the IL, Oriole fans might want to take this week off.
- Texas Rangers (26-46) -3
The Rangers haven’t won a series this month and are clearly the worst team in the AL West. The best possible outcome for this team is to finish with the worst record and get the top pick.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (21-53) —
This is the worst team in baseball. Will they ever win a road game? Probably. But it could still be a long time before that happens. Remember when they had Paul Goldschmidt?
Matthew graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a specialization in Media and Journalism Production. He currently is a broadcaster and writer at Eli Sports Network. Baseball and football are his specialties but Matt covers anything he can. Follow him on Twitter @matt_king19