The real answer here is not too much, as we have still played just about 8 games apiece for each MLB team. Yet some early surprises can be gleaned from these 8 games that have already provided some great, some bad, and some just strange moments.
In the National League East it was widely assumed that the Nationals would run away with things. Yet entering play this Sunday April 8th, the New York Mets are in first place with a 6-1 record, the Braves are at 5-3, and the Nationals sit squarely in 3rd place at 4-4. Nothing to take away too much here, except what we know that when the Mets are healthy they can be a very good team. The Braves might be better than some expected but the Nationals will certainly make this a fight. Oh, and the Marlins at 2-6 are just as horrible as we expected highlighted by a 20-1 loss at the hands of the Phillies.
Speaking of the Phillies – Alex Cora and Aaron Boone might owe some thanks to the Phillies skipper for taking a lot of the “first year manager” heat. So far he lifted his ace with a large lead early and ended up losing the game, called for a relief pitcher when there was no one warmed up, and though they have won 2 in a row now including the aforementioned drubbing of the hapless Fish, the 1-4 start did not help things either.
In the NL Central the Cubs haven’t been as good as we thought they might come out of the gate, but are still 4-4 and while the Pirates starting at 6-2 is a nice story, no one really expects it to last, right? Don’t tell Clint Hurdle and the boys that though.
Speaking of the Pirates, Andrew McCutchen started a little slow but a six hit effort capped off with a game winning 3 run home run after the Giants fell behind in the 15th inning against the rival Dodgers helps both his batting average and standings with his new fans. If only Evan Longoria can put together a similar couple of days as he has just two hits through his first 25 at bats. The Dodgers look a little lost so far at the plate but will be fine, and if Patrick Corbin is as good as his first few starts suggest and Greinke can turn things around – the Dbacks could all of a sudden have three aces and the best rotation in the NL West. They currently sit at 6-2.
The Padres win the award for worst loss of the year so far, as they battled the Astros 0-0 into extra innings and appeared to have a chance for another inning as Alex Bregman hit an infield pop up with two outs until…
Shohei Ohtani. I still have my overall doubts – but there is doubt he is doing amazing right now as he pitched for a win in his first start and now has three home runs and is hitting .389 with a 1.310 OPS – best on the team right now.
The mighty Red Sox lost their first game and haven’t lost since, David Price and Chris Sale both look like aces and forgotten former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello is also off to a 2-0 start. Giancarlo Stanton started out strong on Opening Day before a 5 strike out performance (platinum sombrero or Olympic Rings).
Just 8 games in – the AL Central seems mired in mediocrity while the AL West as talked about earlier looks about what we expected. The Astros look great at 7-2, while the Angels are healthy so far and the pitching is cautiously optimistic, especially if Ohtani can feed off that first start with consistent pitching performances and keep hitting at the plate. Certainly getting off to a good start on both sides was important to no one more than him, and he is holding up his end of the bargain.
Still 150 games to go folks, so to say we know much at this point is foolish. That said, if Ohtani was 0-25 and had gotten shelled in his first start, the storyline might be different. If David Price had gotten rocked all of a sudden the Boston rotation would be in question. Ohtani makes start #2 today and we’ll see what story is created next!