Midseason report card: We’re not doing bad

Jul 18, 2006 7:27 AM

BY MARK MAYER

It’s midseason report card time when this good student of baseball is graded upon whether the information given the public to this point is accurate or needing repair.

Happily, we received a passing grade. We offer our preseason and current standings as state’s evidence.

Going a perfect 5-for-5 in the NL East, 4-for-4 in the AL West and 4-of-6 in first place picks deserves at least a B+. We’ll see how things look on Labor Day when the contenders round third and head for home in the final 25 games of the regular season.

The most damaging injury of the year was Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee going down in April. You knew pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood one throw from the DL, but Lee came unexpected and the Cubs never overcame that loss.

The biggest surprise was that the Detroit Tigers could play quality baseball from April to mid-July. It helps to be able to beat up Kansas City and Minnesota in division play.

The Wild Card in each league figures to be a mad scramble. Don’t count out the Atlanta Braves, who have suddenly caught fire coming off the All-Star break. A lot of pride from that organization, showing why they have dominated the NL East for so long.

 

NL East

PRESEASON CURRENT

1: NY Mets 1: NY Mets

2: Atlanta 2: Atlanta

3: Philadelphia 3: Philadelphia

4: Florida 4: Florida

5: Washington 5: Washington

Comment: These five will stay the course for a while. Florida’s kids seemed the candidate to make a run at the Mets, but now it looks like the Braves.

 

NL Central

PRESEASON CURRENT

1: St. Louis 1: St. Louis

2: Milwaukee 2: Cincinnati

3: Pittsburgh 3: Houston

4: Cincinnati 4: Milwaukee

5: Houston 5: Chi Cubs

6: Chi Cubs 6. Pittsburgh

Comment: The Cardinals just have too much pitching and if Scott Rolen can just stay healthy, Al Pujols can win his MVP the division.

 

NL West

PRESEASON CURRENT

1: San Diego 1: San Diego

2: LA Dodgers 2: S.Francisco

3: S.Francisco 3: LA Dodgers

4: Colorado 4: Arizona

5: Arizona 5: Colorado

Comment: No way to chart this one. Only 4½ games between first and last. We like the young Dodgers, but SS Kahlil Greene represents San Diego’s fight.

 

AL East

PRESEASON CURRENT

1: NY Yanks 1: Boston

2: Boston 2: NY Yanks

3: Toronto 3: Toronto

4: Baltimore 4: Baltimore

5: Tampa Bay 5: Tampa Bay

Comment: The Yanks are looking good after sweeping the world champ White Sox. Toronto is just 3½ back and very dangerous.

 

AL Central

PRESEASON CURRENT

1: Chi White Sox 1: Detroit

2: Detroit 2: Chi White Sox

3: Cleveland 3: Minnesota

4: Minnesota 4: Cleveland

5: Kansas City 5: Kansas City

Comment: We liked the Tigers, but didn’t think 4½ better than Chicago. Right now the White Sox are in line for the Wild Card, but that’s not a certainty.

 

AL West

PRESEASON CURRENT

1: Oakland 1: Oakland

2: Texas 2: Texas

3: LA Angels 3: LA Angels

4: Seattle 4: Seattle

Comment: Like the NL West, totally up for grabs. Seattle is just four games out of first. They need to bat Ichiro third. We said that in preseason. Watch the Angels.