April is known to be the start of many things, such as spring or frantic studying of IB students prepping for their May exams. For baseball fanatics around the world, however, April signals the start of another 162-game season for all 30 teams in the MLB. The season starting with a game in Japan (first pitch at 6:10am EST), and each league having an extra wild card spot, the MLB is being given a new look.
In the first month of the season, we’ve seen the Dodgers (12-3), Rangers (12-3), and surprisingly, the Nationals (12-4), start the year off running. Meanwhile, elite teams such as the Red Sox (4-10) and Angels (6-9) have looked sluggish. The hometown Jays have started the year off with a modest (8-6) record, and if the Red Sox continue to play poorly, the playoff chances can only increase for Toronto. Individually, star hitters like Jose Bautista and Albert Pujols have been extremely quiet, with guys such as Matt Kemp and Nick Swisher tearing the ball apart instead. Pitching wise, the usual suspects (Halladay, Verlander) continue to dominate.
Aside from team and individual stats, baseball has already seen rare achievements in the first few weeks of the year. The Dodgers turned the first 2-5-6-3 triple play in MLB history, and the Jays turned their first triple play in 33 years. On top of that, Philip Humber, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, threw baseball’s 21st ever perfect game against the Oakland Athletics.
Which teams are contenders? Which teams are pretenders? Only time will tell, as last year taught us with the monumental collapses of the Braves and the Red Sox in the last month of the season. Remember, the season does last until October. Until then, buckle up for a summer full of baseball.