We’re through the first month of the season and it’s time to look back on some of the things we’ve seen. This year, rather than recapping each team, I’ll briefly recap the month’s good, bad, and ugly.
It’s early, but there was a lot of good baseball played in the first month of the season. The team that had the best April is obvious with the Boston Red Sox. With a 21-7 April, the Red Sox came screaming out of Spring Training to a 17-2 start. Yes, they’ve cooled off considerably by finishing the month 4-5, but there’s something to be said for such a tear to start the season.
The Boston buzzsaw mowed through six consecutive series wins, including four sweeps. Yes, the LA Angels were the only .500 team in the group of sweeps, but six grand slams in the month propelled the Red Sox to the best record in Major League Baseball.
At 7-22, the Cincinnati Reds are the clear leader in the clubhouse for the worst team in baseball. Even with the Miami Marlins in tank mode, the Reds struggle. With an eight-game losing streak, the Reds have likely already strung together a longer losing streak than most of the league will ever see this entire season.
First baseman Joey Votto has gotten off to a slow start, by his standards. Votto ended the month hitting .270 and has gone five games without reaching base. Keep in mind, he failed to reach base only 13 times in all of 2017. Time to look forward to Bengal football, Cincinnati.
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves
Albies has been a major contributor to the 16-11 Braves. There’s no sophomore slump for the slugging second baseman as Albies leads the National League with nine homers, 12 doubles, 29 runs scored, 22 extra base hits, and 34 hits for a solid .293 batting average.
Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees
Overshadowed entering the season by the big bats in the Yankees‘ order, Gregorius is well on his way to not only a career year, but the American League MVP. Gregorius has swatted an MLB-best 10 homers and leads the bigs in RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS.
This month’s surprises have the theme of underachieving.
The Washington Nationals started the season with a four-game winning streak, but immediately lost five in a row and finished April at 12-16. The Nationals’ struggles lie primarily with first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. With a sub-.200 batting average, he hasn’t provided any protection behind slugger Bryce Harper. Opponents took the bat out of Harper’s hands with 32 walks, but a recent shakeup to the lineup has helped.
The defending NL Champion LA Dodgers have struggled to get the same production from their previously dominant pitching staff. At 13-15, the Dodgers’ pitching staff is whoa-fully average in nearly every statistical category to start the season. To make matters worse, shortstop Corey Seager will miss the remainder of the season after Tommy John surgery. However, I believe things will get better in LA.
Photo by Brigham Berthold