It has been a week into the 2011 baseball season and there have been more surprises this year than in years past. Let’s see which teams are pretenders and contenders.
- Pittsburg Pirates (NL Central, 2nd place) – The Pirates started off their 2011 campaign by taking two out of three games from the Chicago Cubs and the St.
Louis Cardinals. Outfield Jose Tabata is leading the team with a .344 batting average and has played in all eight games so far. Second baseman Neil Walker is the Pirates leader with eight RBI’s and is tied with outfielder, Andrew McCutchen with two homeruns. Don’t expect the Pirates to contend this year, but it is nice to see them succeeding. They look more like pretenders than contenders.
- Colorado Rockies (NL West, 1st place) – The Rockies, a notoriously slow team to start the season, has gotten off to the hot start through their first two series. After splitting the opening series to the Arizona D’backs the Rockies swept the two game series from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is leading the team with the three homeruns and six RBI’s. The Colorado Rockies are the team to beat in the NL West. They have the hitting, pitching and defense to succeed and Jim Tracy is the right manager for this team.
- Boston Red Sox (AL East, 4th place) – Labeled as the “best team ever” the Red Sox are anything but great. After getting swept in their first two series by the Texas Rangers and the lonely Cleveland Indians, many Red Sox fans are wondering; will we ever win a game? No team has ever gone 0-162 and I don’t expect that to happen here, but a bad showing this weekend against AL East rival, New York Yankees and Red Sox nation might hit the panic button. The Sox are too talented and too motivated to be losing this much. I expect them to play better this weekend as they see a familiar face in the Yankees. If they don’t show up well then hit the PANIC button.
- Texas Rangers (AL Central, 1st place) – The defending AL Championship team, Texas Rangers are the hottest team in baseball. They swept their two opening day series against the Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners and are currently 6-0. Outfielder Nelson Cruz homered in all four games to start the season; a mark that no other Ranger has done. Pitcher Matt Harrison had an impressive first start by
striking out eight Red Sox batters and letting up only one run over seven innings in the Rangers victory. The Rangers are the hottest team in baseball right now and I expect them to run away in the AL West. When playoff time comes, the only concern I have is that will the starting pitchers flame out or rise to the challenge?