Familiar faces have returned to the head of the class faster than expected, a world-class pitcher looks like the victim of a body snatching, and the big ticket teams in Los Angeles are both failing to keep up with expectations. We’re just over a month in to the 2013 Major League Baseball season, and although we’re less than a quarter of the way into the MLB regular season, a few trends are emerging. First, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are back a lot faster than anyone expected, and each team still stands to improve further when more stars are off the disabled list. In the National League, perennial contender for the Cy Young Roy Halladay is facing the worst season start of his career, including two outings where he surrendered more than eight earned runs. Click here for MLB Games of the Week, MLB Tickets
If Halladay can’t return to form, it’s unlikely the veteran Philadelphia Phillies can catch the Atlanta Braves or Washington Nationals for the NL East title. In the other National League divisions, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants – teams that have combined for the last three NL pennants – lead their respective races with a balance of strong pitching depth and timely hitting. Two other big-ticket headlines happen to be occurring within a few miles of each other, as both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have huge payrolls and low-class real estate in the standings with sub-.500 records. Both teams are experiencing disappointments from their pitching staffs and offensive lineups, so few easy answers seem destined to turn their seasons around in a quick fashion. Finally, the Detroit Tigers continue charging in their effort to defend the AL pennant, outclassing the AL Central and getting a near no-hitter for the invaluable Justin Verlander.
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MLB Games of the Week
A number of interesting series are taking place this week. New divisional foes Texas and Houston square off in another battle of the Lone Star state. Interleague play matches up the White Sox and the Mets, as well as the Padres and the Rays. The Braves and Giants meet in a pairing of National League division leaders.