Nearly a month after Opening Day, teams are starting to find their groove or regress to the mean. There are obviously still early season outliers, but most clubs are settling into a position that is indicative of what we can expect this season.
- Detroit Tigers — The Tigers lost four straight last week and it started to look like some of their early season dominance was unsustainable. However, they bounced back over the weekend and have won three straight to bring their record to 14-6. While the four-game losing streak came as something of a surprise, it should be pointed out that three of the loses were at the hands of a red-hot Yankee team. David Price also had his first bad start of the season, but snowy conditions might have played a role. He bounced back with a quality start against the Twins Monday, and the Tigers remain one of the most potent lineups in baseball from top to bottom.
- New York Mets — There is no telling how long the Mets can sustain their success, but there is also no denying how good they have been. The Mets are 10-0 at Citi Field and 15-5 overall with the highest run differential in the National League. Matt Harvey and Bartolo Colon are both 4-0 to start the season and the team’s combined earned run average of 2.93 is good for third in the league. The biggest question mark for the Mets is their offense. If they can remain in the top 10 in scoring, they will have a good shot at the division title, but it’s hard to imagine their offensive production maintaining its consistency.
- Kansas City Royals — With the best run differential in the league, the Royals are following up their 2014 World Series appearance nicely. They have one of the most impressive offenses in baseball in the early going with a league-leading .297 team batting average. Their team ERA of 2.88 is second in the league and enhanced by a dominant bullpen. The Royals have six regulars batting over .300, which will likely not hold up long, but they have stated their case that they won’t be going away after their success last season.
- Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers suffered a tough blow this week when they lost starter Brandon McCarthy for the season to a UCL tear that will require surgery. As long as Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke are leading the rotation, the Dodgers should have enough offense to win games. Adrian Gonzalez and offseason acquisition Howie Kendrick are delivering big-time production in the middle of the order and are making up for the lost production of Yasiel Puig, who hit the DL this week with a hamstring injury. The Dodgers will need to find adequate pitching to replace McCarthy, but at 12-7 they still look like a playoff team early on.
- New York Yankees — Lead by the resurgent Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the Bronx Bombers have been just that. They are second in the league with 27 home runs as a team and have won nine of their last 11 after a 3-6 start. Now at 12-8, the Yankees lead the AL East standings and have collected series wins against the Tigers and Mets in the past week. They’re dominating good teams with solid starting pitching and an elite bullpen. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda are elite starters as long as they’re healthy, and the combination of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller has been lights out to close games. The focus is on Rodriguez chasing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list, but the fact that he’s helping the Yankees win games has fans of the pinstripes more excited.