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Giants Surge, Twins Struggle As MLB Nears the Quarter Way Mark

The 2021 MLB season has been an episode out of The Twilight Zone, and that’s what makes baseball great. It’s not like the NBA where the same teams with the big stars come out on top every year. We’re now at the quarter way mark, so let’s dive into the major storylines:

AL East

A few experts predicted that the Yankees’ starting rotation wasn’t all that and felt the door was cracked for Boston, but it didn’t quite happen that way. Turns out, that Yankees lineup can’t hit either. Top to bottom, it has been absolutely cheeks. Yesterday’s lineup had SIX batters with an average under .200.

Remember when hitting .220 was considered the “Mendoza line” back when batting for contact was normal? Apparently, the Yankees forgot how baseball used to be played and are playing a new sport we’ve never heard of. It’s basically nine batters taking turns trying to hit homeruns — and they’re bad at it.

In the end, that Red Sox lineup has totally dominated baseball games and outside of struggling to get people out, the team is pretty much flawless. Expect Toronto to make a surge of their own with the recent health improvement of free agent acquisition George Springer.

AL Central

The race is a little closer than everyone thought it would be, but most predicted Chicago to lead this division. No one planned for Minnesota to stink up the joint, though. THAT is weird, and health is about to become a major factor as early MVP candidate Byron Buxton hit the injured list not too long ago with a hip injury.

Nothing to panic about just yet. He’s expected to return in “a few weeks,” according to MLB.com.

AL West

I had Oakland coming out of the West in my pre-season predictions, though I never saw that putrid o-for start coming. But they’ve been lights-out since then, and that’s without any production from third baseman Matt Chapman.

Makes you believe Oakland, somehow, has another gear to potentially win the American League in 2021. They haven’t done so since 1989, when Lethal Weapon 2 was released in theaters.

NL East

Steve Cohen’s new look Mets may be leading the division, but not for long. Mets’ star pitcher Jacob deGrom is hurt again, and the Braves and Phillies are finally getting warm. Could it be the weather — or could Atlanta’s packed crowd be impacting the results? We can’t forget that home field advantage was a thing before Fauci and company canceled fun.

Atlanta is working to improve that bullpen. They’ve been awful all year long, so don’t be blown away if the front office gets aggressive on the trade market. The team can really swing it, and if they find more reliable arms, look out. My World Series prediction just may come true…

NL Central

To say this division is playing exactly how we expected is an understatement. Milwaukee is really good, even though they haven’t gotten anything out of former MVP Christian Yelich due to injury. He wasn’t even that good before they lost him to a bad back a few weeks ago. Other than that, their pitching has been absurd. The emergence of a Cy Young hopeful Corbin Burnes has made the Brewers contenders.

They just need to get their offense going. If they do, they have a real chance to run down St. Louis. Milwaukee is basically the exact opposite of the Atlanta Braves, awesome in one aspect of baseball and dismal in the other. How fun.

NL West

This division is bizarre. The San Francisco Giants are leading the NL West on May 10? Tell me it’s 2012 without telling me it’s 2012.

Injuries have bitten the Dodgers for the first time in years, and that leaves MVP Cody Bellinger and most of their bullpen on the sidelines. Honestly, I didn’t think the Dodgers were really an injury or two away because they’re that good, but clearly these teams weren’t as far apart as we anticipated.

The Dodgers’ hot start has cooled drastically, especially shortstop Corey Seager and Mookie Betts, who is hitting .261 with not much pop so far. That’s not going to work when you’re thin elsewhere. Sometimes MVPs have to carry a squad for awhile, and he hasn’t, unfortunately. Or fortunately, depending on who you’re rooting for.

We couldn’t end this update without mentioning that the Colorado Rockies stink. They reek something fierce, and that may lead to the trade of star shortstop Trevor Story. No clue where he may end up, but it very well could be to a bubble playoff team. And there are quite a few of those — at least early. Play ball!

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

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