Week 7 is an odd week in terms of scheduling. The early part of the week won't be the usual three-game sets. Every team in baseball will play a pair of two-game sets from Monday to Thursday and then we kick off interleague play on Friday. The Notebook views Thursday as the moment we round the first turn, to borrow a horse racing analogy, of the season and move closer to the long summer stretch. The cliche "it's a long season" is most certainly true and as much as possible, I avoid alarmist rhetoric and making games at this point in the schedule bigger than they need to be. But there's also no denying that every win in April and May is one you won't need at crunch time in September. And there's no certainly no denying that some teams are already playing must-win baseball, thanks to having dug themselves early holes. Four in particular, don't have much time to
sort things out and face weeks that could shovel more dirt on an early grave.
Chi Sox: It's been a horribly disappointing year for both sides of the Windy City. The White Sox are in Detroit on Monday and Tuesday and have a chance to start chipping away. They host the Angels on Wednesday and Thursday. Having slipped behind Cleveland in the standings and losing to Kansas City over the weekend, there's little reason to keep Ozzie Guillen's club in discussion much longer if they don't reverse pattern here.
Boston: The Red Sox can't nudge very far above .500, and they're in the Bronx tonight. After that comes two games with the Twins. Boston already trails Tampa by 7.5 and New York by 5.5. If they don't at least pick up a win in New York to hold steady, Beantown might as well just talk about the Celtics.
NY Mets: There's not much in between for Jerry Manuel's club. It seems they're either surging or struggling, and right now it's the
latter. They were swept four straight by Florida, have fallen to last place in the NL East and are on the road in Atlanta and Washington this week. Six games back is manageable right now, but with three other teams to hurdle before they can even think about the Phillies, ground must be made up immediately.
Milwaukee: I wasn't high on Milwaukee's playoff prospects, but others were, and at 15-22, the Brewers have played well below expectations. They're on the road in the Rustbelt tonight, starting in Cincinnati to face the new leaders of the Central. And those pesky Pirates have moved up to third and host Milwaukee on Wednesday and Thursday.
The marquee series of the week is Yanks-Rays on Wednesday and Thursday. while the Angels visit Texas tonight and tomorrow. And San Diego faces both the Giants & Dodgers for the second straight week.
Since the Notebook defines this is a seminal week in the course of the season, I'll be putting
in a little extra duty, eschewing the normal Tuesday off to complete our early season reviews. Nine teams haven't been chronicled yet as a part of the midweek look-ins. Tomorrow we'll check in at first-place Cincinnati and Texas. On Wednesday it will be scapegoat time, as we play the blame game on the south side of Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta. Then on Thursday we'll wrap up the season's first movement with looks at Cleveland, Florida, Milwaukee and Arizona.