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40-game test

May 13, 2013 - Mike Donahey
Major league baseball teams have played anywhere from 34 to 39 games this season, meaning it is time for a 40-game evaluation.

Credit for my review goes to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, who annually evaluates the Giants after the 40-game mark. He believes much can be gleaned from a team’s performance at the season’s quarter mark, and I agree.

I’ll differ from him by evaluating several teams and rate them as exceeding expectations, meeting expectations and underachieving.

In the American League, the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are exceeding expectations. Some writers and fans felt the absence of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez would significantly hurt the Yankees, along with a line up of aging regulars.

Their record clearly belies that opinion. The Red Sox recently hit a bump in the road, but are playing much better under manager John Farrell, their former pitching coach, then the contentious but brilliant Bobby Valentine, their manager in 2012. Credit the Rangers for playing well without Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and others. Meeting expectations are the Tigers — the 2012 American League champions — followed by the Orioles. Underachieving are the Angels and Blue Jays. The Angels, despite huge off-season signings of Albert Pujols and Hamilton, plus the emergence last season of young star Mike Trout can’t seem to get traction. As I write, they are 10 games out of first place in the A.L. West. Speculation among some writers is Mike Scioscia, their long-time manager, might be fired by Memorial Day if the team does not improve. He signed a 10-year contract in 2009. However, Scioscia would not be out of work long if Angels owner Albert Moreno pulls the plug. Some think Scioscia, a former Dodger catcher, will someday manage his old club and that could be sooner than later. The Blue Jays, despite several big free agent signings, are currently in last place in the A.L. East.

In the National League, the Rockies qualify as exceeding expectations. The Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Giants and Nationals merit meeting expectations. Underachieving are the Brewers and Dodgers. The Brewers are five games under .500 The Dodgers have been racked by injuries to key players, but in the nation’s second largest market, winning trumps all with manager Don Mattingly on the hot seat.



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