With the 2009 MLB season reaching the one-third mark and everybody complaining about their sore hips and knees, I was wondering which division in each league was the best. So let's take a look at the numbers. There will be some surprises and predictions.
Starting in the American League.
Best Overall Record
AL East 143-127
AL West 104-104
AL Central 125-139
AL East vs. AL Central 55-33
AL EAST vs AL West 27-30
AL Central vs AL West 30-23
So the AL East has winning records against both of the divisions and the AL Central holds the advantage over the AL West. Advantage obviously the AL East. No big surprise yet. Here is where it gets interesting. There is no team in any division that has a winning record against all three divisions. That certainly tightens it up a little.
In the AL East only The Yankees Red Sox and Blue Jays have winning records against two out of the three divisions. In the AL Central only the Tigers, and the AL West has none.
In the AL East, only the Yankees have a winning record on the road. They are joined by Texas. That's it.
Conclusion: The beast still lives in the East. No surprise but I believe the gap is narrowing.
The races by the numbers should produce division winners amongst the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays,Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Rangers and Angels. The rest of the teams better start their selling early. The cream has obviously risen to the top.
The Twins must do a whole lot better on the road 6-16 if they expect to get there in the AL Central. I can't see any other Division other than the AL East who can produce the Wild Card. I like the Rangers to hang in there to win the West. Right now they own it 13-3.
The Yankees or Red Sox? Who knows, anybody's guess. My guess, still the Red Sox. Why? Deeper pitching plus they are murder at home 17-6.
Now to the National League.
Best Overall Record
NL East 153-134
NL Central 162-150
NL West 130-134
NL East vs NL Central 25-34
NL East vs NL West 25-29
NL Central vs NL West 21-23
This is a hodgepodge. The NL West has a winning record against the NL East and the NL Central, while the NL Central holds the advantage against the NL East.
So how does the NL East have the best winning percentage. Easy enough, the Washington Nationals. Their record throws the best winning percentage totally out of whack. Washington sits at 14-36, 22 games below .500, but here's the explanation. In their own division they are 5-25 against the NL East and 8-9 against the other two divisions.
The Phillies are the only team in the NL to have a winning record against each division. The Cardinals are next best with a winning record against two divisions and a tie 3-3 against the West. Back to the Phillies.
They are one of three teams along with the Dodgers and the Brewers to have a winning record on the road, which is an extremely important factor in winning a division crown. They are exceptional going 19-6. The Dodgers at 17-12 are not too shabby either. All three division leaders are those with winning records on the road.
The Pirates, interestingly enough, have a winning record against the two other divisions but are 9-19 against their own. The best record in the league within their own division, the Dodgers at 25-9. Good night. I heard they're printing playoff tickets already.
The Brewers are 21-10 in the highly competitive NL Central, and nobody touches the Dodgers home record of 20-6.
On a very personal note I hope they spank the Phillies this weekend but when you have the best home record against the best road record a sweep by either team I would call extremely unlikely.
Conclusion: The NL Central is certainly the most balanced from top to bottom, with only seven games separating the top from the bottom. With that said, you can say goodnight to the Pirates and the Astros there, because they just can't beat the other teams ahead of them, 20-40.
I like the Brewers and the Reds in the Central based on the numbers so far. They are both winning at home and on the road and in their division 40-23.
Putting my obvious prejudices aside. I still like the Mets over the Phillies because the Mets are starting to dominate at home 17-9 and 15-9 against the NL East. The Phillies are struggling at home and this is a definite disadvantage in a hitters park. Sure they will score a ton of runs there but so will the opposing team.
That race will, in my most humble opinion, come down to their head to head meetings. Right now and it's early the Mets hold a 3-1 advantage with 3 games next week at Citi-Field.
There aren't too many "crucial" series in June but this one might be an exception. If the Mets can sweep the Phillies watch out there just may a few Philly fans wearing Mets gear in October.