Time once again for another recap of a month in baseball. Marcell Ozuna's at the top of the post because he had a HELL of a May, climbing up the home run standings and making me regret my decision to drop him from my fantasy team (don't worry, i snatched him back up).
Last month, I made five bold predictions on the month of May. Let's see how they stack up:
1. Both Chicago teams to keep the momentum going. More or less. The Cubs and Sox have slowed down a tiny bit, but are still doing pretty well in their respective divisions. The Cubs are still ahead, and the Sox, while currently behind the Royals, aren't out of it yet.
2. The phrase "third place Cardinals" to continue to be applicable. Despite their best efforts...yeah.
3. Someone in the NL West to come out in front. Right now they're all just fighting for first. I'd like a definitive frontrunner by June 1st. Well, we have a definite frontrunner, and it's the San Francisco Giants, by 4.5 games.
4. Feel good teams like the Mets and Royals from last year to not be completely out of the race. Royals are in first, Mets are in second, so...yeah, this one came true too.
5. Someone from the Yankees to start hitting in a big way. That someone was Carlos Beltran...and he's the only guy on the team who's hitting. So, I'm 5/5 with some caveats.
Now, onto Five Things from May 2016 that no one could predict:
1. The Comeback Pirates. I'll admit, the first few games of the season I was getting pretty worried, but now, the Pirates are quickly gaining on the Cubs as one of the teams to watch in the NL. The entire outfield is hitting, as well as pet projects like Francisco Cervelli and John Jaso. People may have predicted that the Pirates would be a steady second, but not that they'd be legitimately scaring the Cubs in first. This one could develop positively over time.
2. The insane rise of the Boston Red Sox. Like I said earlier, I didn't exactly believe the Sox hype going into 2016...but then EVERYBODY got hot. This is one of the most electric, top-to-bottom, lineups in baseball, where everyone is hitting, and nobody is holding back, even the 40-year-old DH. It's a sight to be beheld, even against the 'Jays take the East' predictions we all made.
3. The complete deflation of the Reds. I mean...I knew they were bad, but they lost TEN GAMES IN A ROW this past month. That takes an insane amount of skill, and a finite amount of talent. The stars have aged, the guys they've brought up have disappointed, and the pitching is giving them nothing. They have the 3rd-worst record in baseball. Imagine that.
4. The butchering of Matt Harvey. For two straight starts, Matt Harvey was absolutely obliterated by opposing batting. For a guy who's been pretty strong for a few seasons, and had a painfully low ERA in 2013, this is a bit of a shock.
5. The insane comeback of Rich Hill. Rich Hill's last season of multiple starting opportunities was in 2009, after a pleasant little run with the Cubs. Then, after four electric games in Boston last year, he found his way to Oakland...where he became absolutely unhittable, with one of the best ERAs in the AL. He's thirty-six, and he's singlehandedly bringing the A's to relevancy. Granted, he'll probably be pitching somewhere else come August, but the fact that this is happening now, so long after we thought he'd come back, is wonderful.
Inversely, here are Five Things from May 2016 that weren't surprising at all:
1. First place Giants in an even year. Been there...three times, actually.
2. Last place Braves for another month. This might be the case for the next few, actually.
3. Kershaw and Arrieta having alarmingly great records.
4. The Phillies comeback ending with an inaudible thump.
5. Chris Carter hitting way too many strikeouts to be taken seriously.
Five Most Important Players of May 2016:
1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
2. Jake Arrieta, Cubs (up from #5 last month)
3. Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
4. Chris Sale, White Sox (down from #3)
5. Lorenzo Cain, Royals
(Runner Up: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox)
And finally, Five Things I'd like to see happen in June:
1. Salvador Perez' DL Stint to not rupture the effect of his season
2. Juio Urias to finally find his stuff and come into his own as a Dodger.
3. The Orioles stay in the race, and not sink to the bottom of the division.
4. The Blue Jays and Cardinals to sink lower than 3rd.
5 (and this is a longshot). Tommy Joseph to become so much of a powerhouse in Philly that the Phillies have no choice but to DFA Ryan Howard.
I'd say May was a pretty fun one. But June's here now, and that'll bring a whole new level of drama.
Coming Tonight- The one guy on the Twins who's actually making some offensive progress.