As the MLB season has completed week 4, we will examine some teams going in the right direction. And some other teams that didn’t fare so well this second week. So for this piece, we will look at three MLB teams going “Up” and three teams going “down.” Three up and three down will be coming out each Monday of the regular MLB season.
1 Up: Oakland Athletics
Despite losing in last night’s contest, the Oakland A’s are currently playing the best brand of baseball. Over their last ten games, Oakland has won 9 of them. And Oakland has won 13 of their last 14 games this season. The Athletics have a very nice core of position players with serious upside. Not to mention they have one of the best managers in baseball that allows his players to flourish. Oakland has been tough to stop recently, and for a good reason, everything has been clicking. And thus, they earned their spot in the positive output column.
1 Down: Detroit Tigers
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Detroit Tigers are struggling. In their last ten games, the Tigers are 1-9 and have a run differential of -37. All things considered, the Tigers were not going to be among the MLB surprise teams of 2021. This was going to be a rebuilding/transitional year for the team from Motown. And this early-season performance depicts that rebuilding is the right strategy for Detroit in 2021.
2 Up: Kansas City Royals
In a team that many baseball pundits were overlooking, the Kansas City Royals played very good baseball. KC is 7-3 over their last ten games and has increased their run-scoring to be +3 in the run differential column. The Royals also find themselves in the midst of a four-game winning streak. And KC will continue its wraparound series with the Tigers before heading to Pittsburgh for two games against the Pirates. And given how well the Royals have been playing, these next three games should result in victories for the Kansas City Royals.
2 Down: Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins were a team that many baseball pundits were expecting to compete at the top of the AL Central division. However, the level of competition across MLB has mostly increased, and the Twins feel that competition. Minnesota has some valuable players who are struggling and dealing with “injuries,” which has affected this team. Once those players come off of the restricted “sickness” list, the Twins should once again get back to playing winning baseball. But as it stands now, Minnesota is -9 in run differential and 2-8 over their last ten games. And those kinds of numbers will easily find you at the bottom of the division.
3 Up: Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks are fighting a difficult battle as they reside in the same division as the MLB World Champion, Dodgers. However, that being said, the DBacks are not backing down. Over their last ten games, Arizona has gone 7-3 and increased their run-scoring to be in the positive category of run differential. With their two-game winning streak, Arizona has pulled even with an 11-11 record. It’s still early in the season, but this is a positive sign for a team no one expected to play well this season.
3 Down: Cincinnati Reds
Getting through an MLB regular season comes with highs and lows. And the Cincinnati Reds find themselves on one of those low notes right now. Cincinnati, as recently as last week, found themselves atop the NL Central. But after a seven-game losing streak and Cincy is at the bottom of the division. Over their last ten games, Cincinnati has gone 2-8, and while they still have a positive run differential, if this losing streak continues, that will drop very soon. And while Cincinnati will want to reset this losing streak, they find themselves matched up with the MLB World Champion Dodgers for a three-game set.
Be On the Lookout (BOLO): New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have no played the brand of baseball that was expected this season. That is until this past weekend. And despite dropping the final game to the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees won 3 of 4 and started hitting some homeruns again. The Yankees are built around the longball. And as the old saying goes, homeruns come in bunches. So if the Bronx Bombers rediscover their homerun ability, then the rest of MLB better lookout. New York starts a four-game set against the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore, a place where they have had great success. So the Yankees are a team to be on the lookout for this week.