As the MLB season has completed week 5, 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: St. Louis Cardinals
Right now, there is no hotter team in baseball than the St. Louis Cardinals. Over their last ten games, the Cards are 8-2 and riding a four-game win streak. St. Louis also finds themselves playing forceful baseball as they are +19 in run differential. And as if this writing, the Cardinals are just one game out of the MLB National League Central division lead. There’s still a long way to go before the completion of the season, but if St. Louis continues this level of play, they will find themselves hosting a number of crucial postseason games.
1 Down: Detroit Tigers
Right now, to contrast the Cardinals, there’s no team colder in baseball than the Detroit Tigers. Over their last ten games, Detroit is just 1-9 and riding a five-game losing streak. The Tigers also find themselves hoisting an MLB worst -62 in run differential. No one expected the Tigers to be a serious threat this season. And if we’re honest, no one expected the Tigers to be anything other than what they are showing now, a team that’s going to struggle through 162 games.
2 Up: Washington Nationals
After a slow start, the Washington Nationals are playing very well in an uber tough National League East division. The Nationals have arguably the best starting rotation in MLB (at least on paper.) And that strength has played out this far by posting a 7-3 record over their last ten games with a four-game winning streak. Washington is still under in terms of their run differential, but that should quickly fade now that the rotation has seemed to have found its stride.
2 Down: Chicago Cubs
A team that has had a lot of expectations has faltered to start the season. The Chicago Cubs are a team struggling with identity and consistency. In some games, the Cubs seem like MLB’s best team, and the team thought of being the next great dynasty. But other days and in other games, the Cubs look like a last place terrible men’s league slow pitch softball team. Over their last ten games, the Cubs are 3-7 and find themselves -14 in run differential and four games under .500 in their overall record. If Chicago wants to come back and be the team everyone expected them to be, it’s going to be a massive undertaking that must start NOW!
3 Up: New York Yankees
For a team that struggled early this season, the Yankees have begun to turn the tables around. Over their last ten games, the Yankees are 7-3 after sweeping the Tigers in a three-game set. The Yankees were also able to climb out of the run differential hole that they were in and are now +14 in that column. The Yankees are presently 2.5 games behind the first-place rival Red Sox. If New York maintains this level of play, they will reach the top of the AL East mountain in short order.
3 Down: Los Angeles Dodgers
A team that was expected to dominate all season long was that of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, LA has found itself on the losing side of things over their last ten game. During that ten-game stretch, the Dodgers are 3-7 and dropped to second place in the National League West Division. The Dodgers put up a very strong performance in the closing game of the Brewers series and will look to build on that momentum. After all, is said and done, the Dodgers will likely reclaim their throne atop the NL West, but right now, they are sputtering.
Be on the Lookout (BOLO): Houston Astros
The Houston Astros were a team that many baseball pundits question. Losing George Springer (free agency) and Justin Verlander (injury) were serious blows to this squad. However, after a somewhat rocky start to the season, Houston has begun playing like the team people originally anticipated. Over their last ten games, the Astros are7-3 and are +32 in run differential. This Astros team is capable of bludgeoning teams, and that run differential shows it. Houston will begin a three-game set with the Yankees, and it will be a good test for both teams early in the season.