Here we sit, on June 16th, 39-32, 7 games over .500. 4 1/2 GB of the division and 1 GB of the Wildcard. If this feels different than usual, that’s because it is. We haven’t been this far over .500 this late into the season since 2015 (man, is that depressing to type).
The amazing part is, we’re not at this point after beating up on bad teams, rather, this was after a rather unforgiving part of our schedule. Of the last 9 teams we’ve played, only 2 (the White Sox and Cubs), are currently more than 1 game under .500, and 4 are at least 7 games over .500 right now (the Orioles, Marlins, Astros, Rangers).
Expand that to teams we’ve played since the beginning of May, of which there are 13, and you get
6 good teams (more than 5 games over .500)- Rangers x7 Astros x7, Orioles x4, Marlins x3
4 mediocre teams (within 5 games of .500)- Guardians x3, Mariners x3, Twins x3, Red Sox x3
3 bad teams- Cubs x3, Cardinals x3, White Sox x3
That is to say, we haven’t reached this point by skating by on an easy schedule. This is real, we’ve held our own against some solid teams even with Rendon hurt and Trout mired in the worst slump of his career.
From now until the All Star break (about a month), our schedule softens considerably. Of the 6 series we play, we play
2 good teams- Dodgers x4, Diamondbacks x3
1 mediocre team- Padres x3
3 bad teams – Royals x3, White Sox x4, Rockies x3
Now, on paper this looks only a bit softer than before, but then you have to remember the current state of the Dodgers. They only have 2 real starters right now, their bullpen is horrendous (2nd worst ERA besides Oakland), and we feast on bad bullpens, we’re at top of the league in come from behind wins. They’re slumping hardcore right now. The only really challenging team we face should be the Diamondbacks.
Meanwhile, the Rangers face:
3 good teams- Blue Jays x3, Yankees x3, Astros x4
1 mediocre team- Red Sox x3
3 bad teams- Nationals x3, Tigers x4, White Sox x3
And the Astros face:
2 good teams- Dodgers* x3, Rangers x4
3 mediocre teams- Reds x3, Mets x3, Mariners x4
2 bad teams- Cardinals x3, Rockies x2,
Our schedule is easier than both the Astros and Rangers. Not by a whole lot, but it is still easier. Add in the fact that the Astros have some serious injury woes right now, and the Rangers seem like they may finally be regressing to the mean, and I think we can be within a couple games of the division lead by the all star break. This isn’t some longshot crackpot math like I usually pull out this time of year. We’re legitimately in this thing. Hopefully we can capitalize on this opportunity, and play good enough put the Shohei trade rumors to bed for good at the very least