At the start of the season, a lot of predictions were made as to which teams were going to have the best seasons, which teams were going to have the worst seasons, and which teams were going to finish either near the top or bottom of their divisions. I went into this season with an idea of who was going to finish at the top and who was going to finish at the bottom.
You can see my picks for who I predicted to finish in the cellar this season; I wrote it a few weeks ago. For the most part, teams are doing about as well as I expected; however, there have been some surprises. Here are five teams that have surprised me by doing better than expected so far this season.
Boston Red Sox
When I was making my predictions for who was going to finish in the cellar for the 2013 season, I read the opinions of others for fun. One such opinion was in The Bleacher Report, which predicted Boston finishing in the cellar at the end of the 2013 season. Even though I disagreed with Boston finishing in the cellar (it looks like I was right in predicting Toronto), I didn’t think they’d be able to compete with the New York Yankees or the Baltimore Orioles.
I thought they’d be fighting with the Tampa Bay Rays for the third place spot, unless the Rays had a firm hold on it. This has not been the case so far this year. In fact, it’s been a pretty exciting season for Red Sox fans. For most of the season, they have lead their division. Currently, the top of the division is a very close race between the Yankees, the Orioles, and the Red Sox. The Red Sox (22-15) are only a half game behind Baltimore (who has 22 wins and 14 losses), and they also a half game behind the Yankees (21-13)
In the case of the Texas Rangers, I thought they’d finish in the second or third place spot in the American League West. My prediction was for Oakland to have a firm command of the division, with Texas and the Seattle Mariners battling for second place, the Los Angeles Angels in fourth, and the Houston Astros in last. So far, the bottom two spots are as I predicted, and the Mariners are in a battle for second place. The surprise, however, is that Seattle is battling with the Oakland Athletics for second place instead of the Texas Rangers, who are currently enjoying a five-game lead.
I really thought it was going to be Oakland enjoying the five-game lead, but it is the Texas Rangers instead who are enjoying the top of the AL West. They’ve earned it too. The Rangers have only lost two three-game series so far this season—one against the Chicago White Sox and one against the Chicago Cubs. Both had two losses and one win. The Texas Rangers are also tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most wins in Major League Baseball (22).
I admit, I didn’t see the Atlanta Braves coming. I thought the Washington Nationals were easily going to win the NL East. With my prediction of Washinton winning the division and Miami losing, I thought there would be a roughly equal chance between the Braves, The New York Mets, and the Philadelphia Phillies for second place.
I honestly didn’t like any of these teams more than the others on paper. The Braves, however, jumped out to a 11-1 start on the season, which was the best in baseball. During that run, they swept the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Braves haven’t continued being on that hot of a streak, but they still have 21 wins and only 14 losses. The only team they’ve been swept by is the Detroit Tigers, the leaders of the AL Central division.
Arizona was much like the Atlanta Braves in my mind. I thought the San Francisco Giants would easily win the NL West. I would have pegged the Colorado Rockies to take second and the Arizona Diamondbacks to take third, with the LA Dodgers and San Diego Padres rounding out the fourth and fifth place spots respectively.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently tied with San Fransisco for first place in their division (21-15). Even though they were swept by the Giants in their last series, they won the first one they played against them. The Diamondbacks are also currently on a five-game winning streak.
I know the Twins are currently fourth in their division, but I thought they deserved a brief mention since they were my pick to finish dead last in the AL Central division. I didn’t think it would be close either. However, the Twins currently have a .500 record in a division that’s been a lot more competitive than I expected. Minnesota, while in fourth place, is only two games out of second place. They’ve won series against quality teams too, such as Detroit, Baltimore, and Boston.