When thinking about life, does anything go exactly as planned? Of course it doesn’t. This is extremely true when looking back on the first quarter of the 2011 MLB season. Certain teams and individual players have excelled beyond expectation, while other teams and players have undoubtedly preformed way below their anticipated numbers. Here is a look at a few teams and players that have definitely surprised many so far…
Boston Red Sox
Many knowledgeable baseball analysts selected the Sox as their American League Champions, and some even picked them to win the World Series. As the Red Sox added a few new players, many thought that they would improve upon their 2010 record of 89-73. So far, the 2011 season has certainly not gone as planned. The Red Sox started off 2-10 and are currently in third place in the American League East. They began the season on a six game losing streak and have lost six series. It has been very disappointing for Red Sox fans to have Boston ranked 12th in runs scored. Lately, Boston has been playing better baseball, but it will take a lot of wins to dig out of the hole they dug themselves into.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ right fielder had his hitting streak of 30 games ended on May 7 in a game against the New York Mets. But during his remarkable streak, Ethier had 46 hits and batted .397. His streak was the longest in the major leagues since Ryan Zimmerman, who reached 30 games in 2009. Many baseball analysts knew Ethier was a great player, as he was selected to the 2010 All-Star game, but no one believed he would start this season as hot as he has. Ending 2010 with a mediocre batting average of .292 made this remarkable accomplishment even more noteworthy. The Dodgers will continue to need Ethier to produce hits for them if they want to improve upon their disappointing 20-25 start to the season.
Probably the biggest surprise of the season has been the Indians. They have a record of 26-15, a complete change from a season ago, when they went 69-93. The Indians’ success has been a total team effort, as the offense produces for the pitchers and defense shut down their opponents. Their bullpen ERA is a strong 3.12, while their starters have an ERA of 3.65. Travis Hafner and Asdrubal Cabrera have produced mightily for the team. Hafner is batting .345 and Cabrera has 27 RBIs. Currently, the Indians sit atop the American League Central, but they will have to continue their success to hold off the Tigers.
Will these teams and players continue to challenge many people’s preseason predictions throughout the next months? No one knows! We’ll just have to wait and see.