The first month of baseball is underway and there have already been a ton of surprises. The Yankees have the best record in baseball. The Rockies lead the NL West with 20 wins led by good pitching. The Royals possess the worst record in baseball. Eric Thames comes out of the Korean woodwork. Aaron Judge makes a good first month impression, to say the least, for his rookie season. Jordan Zimmerman leading the league in almost every hitting category. It’s all been amazing.
Now that April is done and over with, which three teams will take over the month of May???
The Indians have yet to lose more than 13 games in May dating back to 2013. The Tribe is also one of three teams in the entire league to have a winning May record the past four seasons. They currently have the only winning streak in the AL Central and are 3-3 so far this month, just as they were in 2014 when they went 17-12.
The Indians' opposing team combined record is also 104-103, 14 games at home and eight on the road. Luckily, the Indians are tied for the second best road record in baseball and have yet to lose seven road games the entire year. The fight for the Ohio Cup is also this month in which the Indians swept last year and hold a 12-6 record against the Cincinnati Reds since 2013.
Also, their star players, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, both hit above .300 in the month of May last season. Even before his injury, Michael Brantley hit over .300 in the month of May last season. The pitching staff is also nine in ERA, sixth in saves, fifth in strikeouts, and 10th in batting average against. ??The are only a couple setbacks from the Indians having a good May. For starters, pun intended, Corey Kluber is on the 10-day disabled list and is expected to return mid-May. Hopefully for the Tribe, he comes back before their series against Houston, their toughest opponent in the month of May.
Next, can Michael Brantley stay healthy? After recently injuring his ankle, Brantley is day-to-day. But his injury causes some concern as to when he might injure himself again. With the way Encarnacion is hitting so far this season (.217/.349/.377, 5 HR, 11 RBI), the Indians will need Brantley to remain as healthy as possible.
New York Yankees
There’s honestly no reason to believe the Yankees will have an off May right now. After sweeping the defending World Series champs by topping the series off in a historic 18-inning fiasco in Chicago, the Yankees have shown the entire league they are a legit team.
The pitching staff has the league’s best batting average against (.224) leading the team to the best record in baseball (20-9), as well. The team’s hitting has been phenomenal. The team is third in the league in home runs (48), fourth in batting average (.271), second in on-base percentage (.352), third in slugging percentage (.461) and second in OPS (.812).
The Yankees are 8-2 in their last 10 games and are currently on a five-game winning streak, tied league best with Cincinnati. Their remaining May schedule isn’t the most difficult by any means. Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Oakland all have losing records. As for Cincinatti, they haven’t possessed a winning record in May since 2013.
Their only real challenges on paper are Houston and Baltimore. They have Houston in New York for four games, which plays to their advantage as they have the best home record in baseball. Despite outscoring the Orioles 46-36 this season, their three-game series in Baltimore is their biggest challenge — which, out of an entire month, isn’t much.
The Yankees could totally flop in the month of May. Houston is 9-5 on the road this year. So, while the Yankees may be the best at home, there’s potential for them to drop this series. The Orioles are another potential series drop. While the Yankees may have outscored the Orioles, Baltimore is the only American League team to post a .500, or greater, record against the Yankees. The third potential drop could come from this upcoming series against the Reds, a team who has outscored opponents 42-9 during their five-game winning streak.??
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have done nothing that’s real jaw dropping this season besides going 7-3 their past 10 games. They’ve had three losing streaks of three games. They’ve also had three winning streaks of three games. The most they’ve scored in a game is 10 runs and the most they’ve given up is 14. They’re seventh in pitching (shocker) and 20th in hitting (also, shocker).
So why them? The Cardinals have not had a losing May the past four seasons, being the second of three teams to achieve this feat. The Cardinals are 4-2 to start the month, outscoring their opponents 32-20. Granted, those two teams were the Brewers and Braves.
Plus, their remaining strength of schedule has a 94-93 record. The real task that’ll determine whether or not they’ll have a good May is their Dodgers/Rockies road trip. Luckily, the Cardinals have an 8-game home stint against the Cubs, Giants and the Red Sox before they head out to Los Angeles.
??The unfortunate part about the Cardinals is their May is harder to predict. Yes, they have an eight-game home stint, which can be crucial before a road trip. They also had one earlier in the season against the Blue Jays, Reds and Brewers and came out with a 4-4 record, outscoring the three teams 41-37. However, after that home stint, they went into Atlanta and completed a 3-game sweep.
Colorado Rockies (HM)
Honorable mention goes to the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies would have made the list given their amazing start to the season but the fact of the matter is they have yet to have a single winning May record the past four seasons. Their hitting will always be there. Question is, will their pitching?