The 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords have the best overall record along with the 1912 Boston Red Sox at 21-7 (.750 winning percentage); The Crawfords for most part has had best record the majority of the time. They struggled a bit after Josh Gibson was on DL, and since I decided to scale down the season from 162 games down to 48 games, his DL stint was divided down -- now he's back, which means the Crawfords will be tougher to beat. At one point in the season, they were 16-1... so yes, they have struggled of late, but just ended up winning their series against a tough 2001 Seattle Mariners team, 3-1.
|The 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords.|
All of the Yankees teams are starting to really come around after sluggish starts to the season, the 1927 New York Yankees have climbed to 3rd Place in the Ruth Division, and now trail the Crawfords by 5 games at 16-12; It's the run differential that shows the 1927 Yankees, will be a force until the end with their +52. Only two other teams (of the entire 48 teams) than the 27' Yanks have at least a run differential of +50, and they are the suddenly red-hot 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (+56 & winners of seven straight) and the 1917 Chicago White Sox (+53). The 1912 New York Giants have slowed down a bit, and are tied with the Yankees in third.
The 1937 New York Yankees lead the Musial Division, but that's not saying much since no one appears to really want it; The Yankees are 15-11 (a league worst among first place team records), with two games remaining in their series against the push-over 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (7-19, worst record in entire league with .269 winning pct.). The Yankees are one game up on the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals -- while the remaining teams in the division sit tied at 11-17; New York is also the only team in division with a + run differential (+11).
|After sluggish starts, Gehrig has 27' & 37' teams headed in right direction.|
One last note on the Musial Division at the moment, only the Yankees are qualifying for the playoffs -- once again though, they only hold a one-game lead over St. Louis. All Division winners, and the next best four team records in each league qualify for playoffs. The Ruth Division currently has four playoff teams in the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords, 1929 Chicago Cubs, 1927 New York Yankees and 1912 New York Giants; With the last five series (of 4 games each, total of 20) being against division rivals, along with the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals & last place 1931 Philadelphia Athletics -- these teams will beat up on each other, and open up wildcard races for the rest of the league.
The 1975 Cincinnati Reds are the only winning team in the Clemente Division, they own a 17-11 record (+35 run differential). The 1969 Baltimore Orioles (13-15) have played better of late, and are currently enjoying a three-game winning streak. The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates (13-15) have playoff potential, but may find themselves out on their butts at season's end.
The 1968 Detroit Tigers have been a major disappointment at 11-17 (-41 run differential). The Tigers' Dick McAuliffe has been non-human this season, batting .320 with 5 HR, plus a.417 OBP (1.038 OPS); Compared to .249 BA, .344 OBP & .755 OPS in real-life 1968. Denny McLain (3-1, 1.86 ERA & 46 K's through 53.1 IP) is pitching great as expected, but the remaining starters have high ERA's -- while the bullpen has been great as of late, they blown plenty of games early in the season that reflect the current record.
|2001 M's: Great lineup, steady rotation, lights out bullpen.|
The Bobby Cox Division may have 5 of their 6 teams with winning records, it's the 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1998 Atlanta Braves that are proving to be serious contenders. The Mariners (19-9) entered their series against the Pittsburgh Crawfords at 18-6, but lost the series 3-1; The M's bullpen at one point didn't allow a single run in 27.1 innings, while Bret Boone (.302, 8 HR & 21 RBI) is their best all around player. The Braves, as expected, are led by their big rotation of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz & Denny Neagle; It's their lineup that has not done well, with the team batting only .215 -- yet Walt Weiss, despite injuries, has been batting out of his mind, batting .400 (with 1.031 OPS) in 35 at-bats. The Bravos' bullpen has had mixed results, with team contemplating Kevin Millwood (who has been horrible in relief) to start in 4th slot, bumping Neagle to 3rd slot, and using Smoltz as a long reliever to help bullpen; In real-life Smoltz spent stints on D.L. in 1998 & 1999, and would miss all of 2000 until returning as a reliever in 2001 -- Smoltz would go on to set the N.L. record of 55 Saves in 2002.
The 1985 Toronto Blue Jays are also in the Bobby Cox Division, along with the 1998 Braves -- fittingly their manager was Bobby Cox. The Jays are 15-13, along with the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies -- both teams will have a tough time reaching the top two slots in the division, and they also stand against some tough league competition for those playoff spots; They would have to get some victories against the M's & Braves to make it more interesting. The Phillies do have a +18 run differential, second best in division (ahead of 98' Braves).
Starting off with the Mathewson Division...
The 1912 Boston Red Sox (tied for overall Crazy 48's best record, at 21-7) are rolling with a nine-game winning streak, led by their stellar rotation of "Smokey" Joe Wood, Buck O'Brien, Hugh Bedient & Ray Collins; A combined 12 complete games (out of 28) for the group. Their recent success also has a lot to do with their bats waking up; Tris Speaker (.369, 3 HR & 16 RBI) has been clutch of late, along with the emergence of Duffy Lewis & Jake Stahl. The other two division contenders are the 1906 Chicago Cubs (best pitching ERA, no surprise) and the 1917 Chicago White Sox (+53 run differential). The other three teams in the division (1904 New York Giants, 1914 Boston Braves & 1925 Washington Senators) all sit at 14-14 -- not being able to make up their minds, if they want to win or lose; All have been streaky, especially Giants who just went through a rough eight-game losing steak.
|1912 Red Sox - Souvenir Score Book.|
The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (18-10 -- mentioned above with +56 run differential & 7-game winning streak), hold a one-game division lead over their MLB World Series counterparts, the 1953 New York Yankees (17-11); Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Jim Gilliam & Carl Furillo are all batting .282 or higher! The rest of the teams in the division (all with losing records) have been a complete mess, and will need a miracle to make playoffs.
|The 1953 World Series contenders are division rivals (Robinson Division).|
The 1984 Detroit Tigers (17-11) are comfortably leading their division (the Ripken Division) by two games. The second place 1977 Philadelphia Philles (who were solid for the first 10 games) are further behind than their record indicates; Tigers are the only team in division with a positive scoring differential (+19). The 1986 New York Mets (9-19) have been a major catastrophe for most part -- they need to take advantage of their division match-ups to make up some serious ground; Mets are in last place, trailing Tigers by 8 games. Good news for Mets fans, in a exhibition four-game series against the 84' Tigers, a few years back -- The Mets took all four.
|The 1998 Padres want to crash the party.|
Finally, in the Jeter Division... We have the 1998 New York Yankees and 1998 San Diego Padres (participants of that year's World Series) tied at 18-10 in first. The Padres just have had their 10-game winning streak snapped against the 1904 Giants; Their pitching has been excellent (especially their rotation) -- Andy Ashby is 5-0, with a 1.34 ERA, while Kevin Brown (1-4, 3.46 ERA) has had some great starts of late. The Padres' lineup on the other hand has been horrific (.203), while Tony Gwynn (.222 in 99 AB's) has had issues at the plate; The Yankees meanwhile, are exactly batting like Gwynn so far, at a .222 clip -- their rotation (just like San Diego) has been their strength.The division's two surprises, may be the under-achieving 1995 Cleveland Indians (16-12) and the 1993 San Francisco Giants (11-17); The Tribe find themselves standing outside of the playoff bubble, while the Giants have dealt with many injury woes, and are currently losers of seven straight.
|Odd Team Out? The Indians currently find themselves outside of the bubble.|
All 8 Divisions are about to fight it out for the last 20 games, 6 games against each of their division rivals; This could be great for teams that have struggled against non-division teams, playing against teams closer to their era. We'll see if someone like the 86' Mets or 1904 Giants can turn around their luck.
We still have plenty of time until this league wraps up, but it should pay off as one heck of a finish.