Baseball’s Biggest Suprises as Summer Begins

Yesterday was officially the first day of summer, which is a perfect time to check up on the biggest surprises thus far in the MLB. I picked the two biggest surprises in the American and National Leagues to highlight.

American League

Cleveland Indians

The Tribe started the season 30-15, and are currently at 39-33 after going through a rough patch during the end of May and beginning of June. The team is full of many surprising stories that explain their success.

The most popular is that of the bullpen, known as the “Bullpen Mafia”. The “Mafia” is made up of Frank Hermann, Chad Durbin, Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez, Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and closer Chris Perez. They recently had a scoreless inning streak of over 22 innings snapped on an error. Their success is key to that of the Indians.

carlos-carrasco-indiansThe other pitchers who have impressed are Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco. Both are very young, but are pitching like veterans. Tomlin is 8-4 and Carrasco is 7-3. Rookie pitcher Alex White was 1-0 before he went to the DL, and will surely be back in the rotation once he returns.

The hitting of the Tribe is part of what helps make the pitching so effective, and when the offense stops producing runs, it shows. During the recent June slump, the offense was shut out four times, and the pitchers were under pressure to try and be perfect. Their best hitter, Travis Hafner, has only played in 36 games this season, but in those he is hitting .341. When he is in the lineup, the entire team plays better. This includes Asdrubal Cabrera, who is a sure All Star at the shortstop position. He is hitting .296 with 12 home runs, and is frequently seen on SportsCenter’s Top Ten plays nearly every night.

The Indians are currently in first place in the AL Central, with a slim lead over the Detroit Tigers. They will need everyone, the pitching and the offense, to continue at their current pace if they want any chance of reaching the postseason.

Seattle Mariners

For the past few seasons, the Mariners were mainly known for two players: Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki. However, this season there is a new star and one who should be one in the near future. The star is rookie pitcher Michael Pineda and the future star is second baseman Dustin Ackley. Ackley made his debut this past week, but Mariners fans are already excited about what he can bring to the team.

Michael Pineda is currently the team’s best pitcher, even better than reigning Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. Pineda has an ERA of 2.64, while Hernandez’s is at 3.34. He has a record of 7-4 with 85 strikeouts. He and Hernandez create a 1-2 punch that is tough for any team to face. Once they come out of the game, Mariners closer Brandon League is there to save the game. He currently has 20 saves on the season.

The Mariners are currently two games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West. The contribution of players such as Ichiro, Ackley, and Justin Smoak will be key if the Mariners want to reach the playoffs.

National League

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are a team filled with talent, but have underachieved over the past few seasons. They finished last season at 77-85 but are on pace to finish much better this season. They are led on offense by Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks. Their home run totals are 15, 20, and 14 respectively, and the lowest average out of the three is .291, which is held by Weeks.

The Brewers pitching staff features the three headed monster of Yovani Gallardo, 8-4 with an ERA of 4.11, Shaun Marcum, 7-2 with an ERA of 2.85, and Zach Greinke, 6-2 with an ERA of 5.23. They are all backed up by closer John Axford, who has 19 saves on the year.

The Brewers currently have the best home record in baseball at 26-10 and have a .5 game lead in the NL Central over the Cardinals. The six team NL Central is always a tough division to win, and the Brew Crew will need to take advantage of the recent injury of Albert Pujols, and gain some ground on the Cardinals.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The D’Backs currently have a .5 game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. They are definitely the NL’s biggest surprise as they finished last year at 65-97. They are a very young team, and their best player, Justin Upton, is only 23 years old.

Upton is hitting .305 on the year with 12 home runs and 39 RBI. The D’Backs lineup also features a 15 home run hitter in Chris Young, and another 12 home run hitter in Kelly Johnson. Other hitters in the lineup include Miguel Montero, who has 37 RBI, and Stephen Drew, who has 39 RBI.

The starting rotation features two dominant pitchers in Ian Kennedy, 7-2 with an ERA of 2.98, and Daniel Hudson, 8-5 with an ERA of 3.56. They also have a great closer, a common theme in this article, in J.J. Putz, who has 18 saves.

The NL West is always an unpredictable division, so the D’Backs will need to stay close to the Giants all year. They must also be aware of a late season surge by the Rockies or Dodgers, given that they are still in contention once September rolls around.


* – Carlos Carrasco image source: Sully Baseball

About Steve Kubitza

Being a native of the Cleveland, Steve Kubitza has endured many years of sports torture. He is a die-hard fan of his hometown teams, and also is a fan of professional sports in general. His articles will cover many different stories regarding the latest news, along with his opinions, in the world of sports. He also gets into the world of professional wrestling, offering his views on the current landscape of the WWE. Follow him on Twitter (@KubitzaMSF) to hear his opinions on everything from Cleveland sports to the WWE.


  1. I take pleasure in, result in I discovered just what I used to be looking for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

  2. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  3. I was very pleased to uncover this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!!

  4. We just desire to show you which I am certain inexperienced to blogging and thoroughly liked your page. Very likely I am most likely to store your web post . You absolutely have stunning article topic. Acknowledge it for telling with us your website write-up.

  5. wonderful post, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t understand this. You should proceed your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  6. My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?

  7. Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Wonderful. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  8. Hey this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  9. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

  10. Excellent article it is really. My girlfriend has been searching for this content.

  11. What i don’t realize is if truth be told how you’re not actually a lot more well-preferred than you may be now. You are so intelligent. You understand therefore significantly on the subject of this matter, produced me in my view believe it from numerous numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be fascinated except it’s one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding. At all times handle it up!

  12. And you also et your free account upon Bebo?

  13. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  14. The techniques pointed out in this paragraph concerning to increase traffic at you own weblog are in fact fastidious, thanks for such pleasant post.

  15. I think this benefit is the most important and significant one. While practical, not everyone is in good enough shape to start riding a bike everywhere. Electrical bikes- the greener way to ride- are absolutely catching on the entire world over. Some of the facts that would be interesting for anyone are .

  16. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

  17. Heya fantastic website! Does running a blog such as this take a great deal of work? I have no understanding of computer programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, if you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off subject however I simply needed to ask. Thanks a lot!

  18. I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this website. Reading this info So i am satisfied to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I such a lot for sure will make sure to do not forget this website and provides it a look on a relentless basis.

  19. It is not my first time to pay a visit this web page, i am browsing this site dailly and take fastidious information from here daily.

  20. Howdy fantastic website! Does running a blog such as this require a lot of work? I’ve very little knowledge of computer programming however I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyway, if you have any recommendations or tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic nevertheless I simply needed to ask. Thanks!

  21. Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask! \

  22. My partner and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page for a second time.

  23. Once all the documentations on a recurring month-to-month basis, and candy crush saga cheat much more successfully, a combination. The multiplication and progression of the people prefer TV as the fish. Among those is Trial Extreme 3 can provide you with dangerous obstacle, also support the use of radio frequency.

  24. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired!

  25. Utterly written topic material , Seriously enjoyed searching by .

  26. I simply want to mention I am just beginner to blogs and certainly liked you’re web site. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your website . You definitely have incredible posts. Thank you for sharing with us your web site.

  27. Nice post, I wonder when crosby will be back. He has been injured for so long now.

  28. You can definitely see your expertise within the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  29. If you are however on the fence: get your favorite earphones, brain down toward a Easiest Purchase and request to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and check out which just one appears better to oneself, and which interface can make you smile additional. Then you’ll comprehend which is straight for you.

  30. Thank you for posting this awesome article. I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Twitter. Thanks again for a great article!

  31. Thank you for publishing this awesome article. I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Facebook. Thanks again for a great post!

  32. Very interesting details you have observed , thanks for putting up. “Custom is the great guide of human life.” by David Hume.

  33. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

Speak Your Mind