Pro baseball

Yankees win interleague baseball traveler for 2019

October 12, 2019
The New York Yankees had only one shot at the interleague baseball traveling championship in 2019, and did more with that than the Arizona Diamondbacks did in several. The Yankees won the bid for the Elite League, not that they needed it.

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Yanks lead Elite Division,
but playoffs will decide

Dodgers in fight
for 2020 Elite Division spot

September 30, 2019
The New York Yankees lead the Elite Division at the end of its first regular season, but this chase probably won't be decided until the end of the postseason.
September 27, 2019
The postseason is coming soon to Major League Baseball, and much is at stake in that process for the top two divisions of the pyramid across the game.

Elite Division adds juice to 2018 baseball pyramid July 17, 2019
The establishment of an Elite Division for 2019 made the 2018 baseball pyramid chase all the more interesting. Somehow, though, the Dodgers are left out of the party.

2018 Four-by-four places Braves in 2019 Elite League July 17, 2019
In very few quadrants across the four-by-four regions we've cooked up is there consistency at the top. Only the Washington Nationals have won or tied for their conference title in all three years we have run them. But it was the Atlanta Braves, and not the Nationals, who snagged the Elite Division berth for 2019.

Tri-annual regional leagues crown new champions July 17, 2019
Three years in baseball is long enough for clubs to go from way up to way down. The results from the 2018 tri-annual regional leagues show some of the difference three years can make.

Cards capture 2018 interleague travel title with torrid finish July 17, 2019
The St. Louis Cardinals, who once could not lose the traveling championship among the National League clubs, finally have an undisputed crown across the big leagues after a strong finish to their 2018 season.

Rays rally with big September for 2018 AL traveling title July 17, 2019
The Tampa Bay Rays aren't saying a lot for their 2018 season, but their strong September run against playoff clubs put them ahead of the rest of the American League in the traveling championship.

D-Backs nudge Dodger in NL traveling title decision July 17, 2019
Because a new league is being introduced, new criteria is needed to make firmer decisions about who actually is the Team of the Year in these baseball traveling champions. The criteria worked out badly in 2018 for the Dodgers.

Few 2017 repeaters in regional baseball quads July 17, 2019
It was another year of interesting races in 2017, our second season of running the regional baseball leagues based on quadrants that actually function as three discrete divisions. But only the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals repeated 2016 championships.

Yankees pass Angels for AL season traveling title February 21, 2019
The Angels all but had Team of the Year for the American League traveling championship clinched, but the New York Yankees got their mitts on it, then produced a torrid September to prevail.

Dodgers drop Cubs at NL traveler finish February 21, 2019
The Chicago Cubs stormed through September so fiercely that they went to October with a chance to for Team of the Year in the National League traveling championship. But the Dodgers put a stop to that in the National League Championship Series.

Yankees rip up September, win big league traveler in October September 27, 2018
The Baltimore Orioles appeared to be all but guaranteed of winning the big league traveling championship deep into September, but the New York Yankees won eight title series during a torrid six-week stretch drive to prevail as the 2017 Team of the Year.

Red Sox make mark, fly through First Division September 26, 2018
The Boston Red Sox won their second First Division title in 2017, setting the record for the largest winning margin in the games behind column. The San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers fell to the bottom.

Playoff teams top all divisions as baseball season nears end September 29, 2017
It's never happened like this before in eight years of following promotion and relegation across professional baseball. The top two clubs in each division at the end of the regular season are going to the playoffs. Which doesn't mean the titles are decided.

Braves find bats in June for long NL traveler run June 27, 2017
Suddenly hitting like they haven't hit in years, the Atlanta Braves are on a long journey with the National League traveling championship, scoring 1.7 runs per game more than they had all season since visiting Washington earlier this month.

Orioles rally to first interleague title of 2017 June 27, 2017
The Baltimore Orioles, who already lead the big leagues in every other category respecting the interleague traveling championship, finally added a championship with a rally through the late innings Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Offense dies as Dodgers drop NL traveling title June 10, 2017
The Dodgers lost the National League traveling championship by losing two of three at home against the Washington Nationals this week, continuing an offensive slump that now has lasted for longer than a week.

Any way we slice it, Astros are dominating June 6, 2017
Our way of keeping baseball standings has at least one thing in common with the official way: The Houston Astros are ahead, lopsidedly ahead, in every one of their divisions.

Mariners clobber Rays for third AL traveling title June 5, 2017
The Seattle Mariners, the only team to win multiple American League traveling championships this year, did it for the third time this season with a three-game sweep at home against the Tampa Bay Rays during the weekend. The Mariners outscored the Rays 28-7.

Jays quickly reclaim interleague traveler for AL June 3, 2017
The Cincinnati Reds defended the interleague baseball traveling championship for only three days before losing it back to the American League. The Toronto Blue Jays took it from the Reds with a prodigious surge of home run power.

Nationals start strong in First Division June 1, 2017
The Washington Nationals play only 15 games this season in the First Division, so they need to make all of them count. Last week, they opened with a three-game sweep on the road against the San Francisco Giants. Next week, they're in Los Angeles to face the Dodgers, who are in the relegation zone.

Dodgers dominate to capture NL traveling title May 30, 2017
The Dodgers are finishing May by making a big move with the National League traveling championship. Hitting and pitching at a high level, the Dodgers are angling to become the the third team this year to defend the title.

Pray for rain: Reds take baseball traveler (finally) to NL May 27, 2017
The Cincinnati Reds captured the continental baseball traveling championship in an unlikely way, by a combination of Billy Hamilton's mad dash from first base one day, and a rain out the next. Now, the Reds are locked in a split series against the Philadelphia Phillies with the rubber game coming on Sunday.

Tigers, Reds lead regional divisions in alternate scheme May 25, 2017
Our regional leagues and conferences, which we propose in lieu of a radical baseball realignment that would obliterate the American and National Leagues in all but name, show some fascinating results. These aren't your father's baseball standings.

Will the NL ever regain the traveling championship? May 22, 2017
So far, the National League is zero-for-three this season in its efforts to snatch the continental traveling baseball championship from the American League, which took over the championship last August.

Yanks, D-Backs hold Second Division lead May 20, 2019
It's still early, of course, but the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks are the top two clubs right now in the Second Division across big league baseball. The First Division, meanwhile, is as tight as ever, with five clubs within a game of the top.

Bosox, Indians take early First Division lead May 4, 2017
The Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, two new First Division clubs, are the early leaders. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies went off to a fast start in the Third Division.

Orioles set April records with baseball traveling title May 3, 2017.
The Baltimore Orioles started the new baseball season with the big league traveling baseball championship and held it for the entire month of April, the longest title reign yet at the start of a season.

No challenge for Nats in Warren Giles League April 5, 2017.
The first year of the Warren Giles League certainly produced a champion, but not a pennant race. The Washington Nationals had it all the way.

Seattle secures first title in tight MacPhail League April 5, 2017.
The Toronto Blue Jays, across the full schedule, were the best team in the Lee MacPhail League. But considering only the games within those clubs, the title went to the Seattle Mariners.

Mariners best of a weak lot in Happy Chandler West April 5, 2017.
Nobody in the Happy Chandler West was good enough to even be in the expanded playoffs across big league baseball. Somebody had to win, though. It was the Seattle Mariners.

Two strong clubs, but no race, in Happy Chandler East April 5, 2017.
The Washington Nationals easily won the Happy Chandler East as the Toronto Blue Jays put up little of a fight.

Rangers nudge past three foes as best team in 2016 AL April 4, 2017.
The Texas Rangers won their second Team of the Year designation in the American League traveling championship, winning three separate titles to hold off three other strong contenders.

Mets capture Feeney title for first time April 4, 2017.
The New York Mets ripped through their Chub Feeney League schedule with a .644 winning percentage, taking the championship from the hard-charging Chicago Cubs.

Yankees win second Joe Cronin League title April 4, 2017.
The New York Yankees won nothing else in 2016, but they captured the Joe Cronin League championship by three games over two playoff-bound American League clubs.

AL back on top of Selig West with Texas Rangers title April 4, 2017.
The Texas Rangers once more asserted the American League's success in the Bud Selig West, finishing ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in a close race.

Cubs, Mets split Bud Selig East April 4, 2017.
A tight race in the Bud Selig East ended with no clear winner. The title ended in a split between the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs.

Rangers ride to interleague traveler win in 2016 April 3, 2017.
The New York Mets, the early front runner for the interleague traveling championship in 2016, ended up falling in that pursuit to the Texas Rangers.

Cardinals still only Allen winner, but barely April 3, 2017.
The St. Louis Cardinals, once more, were the best team in the Allen. It's been that way every year since 2011, when this traveling championship across the National League was started. In 2016, though, the Cardinals barely won.

A new way to regionalize baseball standings March 31, 2017.
Here is a plan for realigning baseball that makes some regional sense. It places each team in three divisions at the same time.

Playoff push takes Dodgers to First Division title March 13, 2017.
The Dodgers won their first title in the First Division, rallying past the Washington Nationals during the playoffs to break open a five-way race.

Three weeks left (and then some?) in baseball ordinals September 13, 2016.
The ordinal divisions in big league baseball, with promotion and relegation, are coming down to some interesting scenarios as the 2016 regular season nears its completion. But the postseason will still figure.

Today's baseball standings: August 16, 2016 August 16, 2016.
Here are the standings across the Major Leagues through August 15 in all the competitions, including the Major League, American League and National League traveling trophies, the regional leagues, the ordinal divisions with promotion and relegation, and some others.

Cubs deny Tribe Selig East three-peat  June 22, 2016.
The Cleveland Indians made a nice bid for their third consecutive Bud Selig East championship, but no one was going to beat the Cubs, who won two-thirds of their games after July.

Cardinals face no challenge for Selig West  June 22, 2016.
The St. Louis Cardinals took a big lead early and never looked back, easily winning their first undisputed Bud Selig West championship. The Cardinals had previously split the title once before.

Rangers become sixth club to capture Cronin June 22, 2016.
The Texas Rangers took it all the way to the end, but they won on the final day of the 2015 regular season to become the latest champion in the Joe Cronin League.

Mets play spoiler as Cards cop Feeney crown June 22, 2016.
In the National League, the New York Mets won the 2015 pennant. But in the Chub Feeney League, composed entirely of National League clubs, the Mets were spoilers, enabling the St. Louis Cardinals to prevail over the Chicago Cubs.

Ruling pushes White Sox out of Fourth Division June 22, 2016.
We needed a special ruling in 2015 to dig up two teams to promote from the Fourth Division. As a result, the Chicago White Sox finally have escaped. along with the New York Mets.

BoSox, DBacks win Second Division bids for 2016  June 6, 2016.
The Boston Red Sox rallied and the Arizona Diamondbacks held firm to finish 2015 as the top two clubs in the Third Division and win promotion for 2016. But the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics are going down.

Royals complete quick climb to top tier  June 6, 2016.
It took the Kansas City Royals a few years to get moving in the promotion and relegation arrangement, but they finally made it all the way up to the First Division for 2016 by splitting the Second Division title with the Texas Rangers in 2015.

First Division title a three-way split in 2015 June 6, 2016.
We ended up declaring tri-champions for the First Division in 2015, giving equal due to the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays. On the bottom end, the Angels defended their 2014 title poorly to earn relegation, along with the Atlanta Braves.

Long Cubs rally captures Central League crown June 6, 2016.
None of our regional leagues had more strong clubs at the top in 2015 than the Center League. The Cubs staged a furious rally from the end of July through the playoffs to capture the championship.

Dodgers win wild West League in 2015 April 14, 2016.
The Dodgers rallied through the final two months of the 2015 West League season, while the Houston Astros faltered on the road. Thus, the Dodgers overtook the Astros to claim the West League championship.

Mets cruise to 2015 East League title  April 14, 2016.
The New York Mets were 13-3 before April 24 and 27-19 after July 30 to claim the East League in 2015 by two games over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Washington Nationals made a mid-summer bid, but fell off and settled for the South Division title.

Twins win Killebrew annual, though it's disputed  April 13, 2016.
The Minnesota Twins only broke even in their games for the American League Ear of Corn in 2015, but they receive the nod for Team of the Year because they were well better than anyone else at defending the prize.

Cardinals continue Allen dominance in 2015 April 13, 2016.
Another year, another season of the St. Louis Cardinals dominating in the National League Ear of Corn. It remains for someone other than the Cardinals to win the Dick Allen Award five years after the prize's inception.

Red Sox rally for disputed Aaron crown April 8, 2016.
The Boston Red Sox won only half of the games they played for the Henry Aaron Award in 2015, but it was enough to push them barely past the Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles for Team of the Year.

Today's standings: September 15, 2015 September 15, 2015.
Here are the standings across the Major Leagues through September 14 in all the competitions, including the Henry Aaron, Dick Allen and Harmon Killebrew traveling trophies, the West, East and Center regional leagues, the ordinal divisions with promotion and relegation, and, of course, the Major League playoff races, among others.

Today's standings: August 29, 2015 August 29, 2015.
Here are the standings across the Major Leagues through August 28 in all the competitions, including the Henry Aaron, Dick Allen and Harmon Killebrew traveling trophies, the West, East and Center regional leagues, the ordinal divisions with promotion and relegation, and, of course, the Major League playoff races, among others.

Indians bid for Selig East threepeat  August 25, 2015.
One might protest that the Bud Selig East is an arbitary sampling of teams and that its champion is rather a fluke because of it. But how does that differ from how the Major League Baseball regular season is structured to decide which clubs go to the playoffs?

Put a fork in the Angels for top division August 25, 2015.
The Angels produced an absolutely terrible weekend at the Big A, losing all three games to the Toronto Blue Jays by a combined score of 36-10. The three losses all but assure that the Angels are headed for relegation to the Second Division in 2016.

Fiers starts WL series no-hitting Dodgers August 21, 2015.
Houston Astros right-hander Mike Fiers launched a key series against the Dodgers with a no-hitter Friday night, giving the Astros a two-game lead on the Dodgers in the West League. This weekend's series is the only time the two top clubs in the loop will meet this year.

Bosox welcome Dombrowski with Aaron August 21, 2015.
The Henry Aaron Award and David Dombrowski arrived in Boston right at the same. With Dombrowski taking over as President of Baseball Operations for the Red Sox, the hub club has popped up with enough unlikely heroics to mount a second Aaron defense, and against the Kansas City Royals, even.

Cards, Giants start top tier stretch August 18, 2015.
The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals are right next to each other on top of the First Division standings, separated by 10 percentage points through Tuesday's games. They will meet five more times in little more than the next week, and the championship is likely to ride on those games.

Yankees, Twins meet in huge Killebrew series August 18, 2015.
The Minnesota Twins still lead the Harmon Killebrew Award standings after a big run of wins early this season. However, the New York Yankees are coming on strong and now have three Killebrews this year, the most of any team. Now that the Yankees have defended the Killebrew by winning the first two games of their series with the Twins this week, it remains to be seen if they will use this chance to overtake the Twins in the overall standings.

Today's standings: August 18, 2015 August 18, 2015.
Here are the standings across the Major Leagues through August 17 in all the competitions, including the Henry Aaron, Dick Allen and Harmon Killebrew traveling trophies, the West, East and Center regional leagues, the ordinal divisions with promotion and relegation, and, of course, the Major League playoff races, among others.

Iwakuma no-no preserves Aaron for Mariners August 13, 2015.
Seattle Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma threw the first no-hitter in the history of any traveling trophy Wednesday, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 3-0 win against the Baltimore Orioles in Seattle. Iwakuma's gem gave the Mariners their first Henry Aaron Award title defense in more than four years.

Race is on, to the top and from the bottom August 13, 2015.
The Second Division is shaping up as a tight race to the top and away from the bottom in the final few weeks of the season. The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers are the top clubs bucking for promotion right now, with the Cincinnati Reds in the best position to overtake one of them before it all ends.

D-Backs cruise to top of Third  August 12, 2015.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the game's hottest clubs right now, holding the Dick Allen Award for 10 games and taking the lead in the Third Division. Remarkably, they're doing it with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt producing like something a little better than an ordinary hitter.

Astros improve lineup, but stop scoring  August 12, 2015.
The Houston Astros improved their starting rotation and their everyday lineup at the trade deadline, then started losing. In a flash, they lost a substantial West League lead and now have been overtaken on the top of those standings by the Dodgers.

Today's standings: August 10, 2015 August 10, 2015.
Here are the standings across the Major Leagues through August 9 in all the competitions, including the Henry Aaron, Dick Allen and Harmon Killebrew traveling trophies, the West, East and Center regional leagues, the ordinal divisions with promotion and relegation, and, of course, the Major League playoff races, among others.

Dodgers, Angels still fighting to stay in First Division August 3, 2015.
The Dodgers improved their status in the First Division during the weekend, but at the expense of the Angels. The Dodgers swept three games from the Orange County club, pushing themselves slightly out of the relegation zone while the Angels fell to last place in the top tier.

Rangers drop Giants, keep Dodgers safe with Aaron August 3, 2015.
Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer for the Texas Rangers Sunday, giving his club a 2-1 win against the San Francisco Giants, along with retention of the Henry Aaron Award. Because the Aaron remains in the American League, the Dodgers are safe with their lead in the Henry Aaron standings.

Yankees may not be back, but they have Harmon August 3, 2015.
Dominating the American League East as they are, the New York Yankees are one of the surprise teams in the Major Leagues. And it's always surprising when the Yankees are surprising. In addition to being in first place for the last 30 days, the Yankees now hold the Harmon Killebrew Award.

East League: Flores, Mets fly to tie at top August 1, 2015.
New York Mets second baseman Wilmer Flores, all but unknown a week ago, has become a national folk hero this week, first for his public display of sadness when he thought the Mets traded him, then for beating the Washington Nationals almost by himself Friday night when it turned out the Mets didn't trade him. Flores pushed the Mets back into a tie on top of the East League.

Local deadline trades solid, not shiny August 1, 2015.
The Angels and Dodgers each made helpful moves going up to the July 31 trading deadline, though neither club made big headlines across the game. The Dodgers added depth to their pitching rotation, while the Angels added veteran outifielders who will give them flexibility.

Today's standings: July 31, 2015 July 31, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of July 30, 2015.

Today's standings: July 20, 2015 July 20, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of July 19, 2015.

Today's standings: July 17, 2015 July 17, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of July 16, 2015.

Today's standings: July 8, 2015 July 8, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of July 7, 2015.

After Dipoto leaves, Angels nab Aaron, Killebrew July 7, 2015.
The Angels broke out their bats during the July 4 weekend in Arlington, scoring 33 runs in a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers. We won't say for sure that the Angels players were glad to see general manager Jerry Dipoto go, but we're pretty sure they weren't upset to see him leave.

Today's standings: July 1, 2015 July 1, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 30, 2015.

Today's standings: June 26, 2015 June 26, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 25, 2015.

Today's standings: June 25, 2015 June 25, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 24, 2015.

First Division: Dodgers dying again against top club June 21, 2015.
A trip to Dodger Stadium this weekend appears to be just what the San Francisco Giants needed to end a three-week run of losing baseball. The Giants solidified their teetering hold on first place in the First Division by winning the first two games of this weekend's series.

Dick Allen Award: Marlins making runs matter June 21, 2015.
With Giancarlo Stanton having his best year and Dee Gordon adding juice to the top of their lineup, the Miami Marlins are much improved offensively. They are defending their first Dick Allen Award in two years this weekend against the Cincinnati Reds.

Today's standings: June 19, 2015 June 19, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 18, 2015.

Henry Aaron Award: Royals move prize to AL June 18, 2015.
The Kansas City Royals have become the first American League club to hold the Henry Aaron Award this year, thanks to their dominance over the Milwaukee Brewers this week. The Royals also happen to hold the Harmon Killebrew Award, making them the first double champions this season.

Today's standings: June 17, 2015 June 17, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 16, 2015.

Today's standings: June 16, 2015 June 16, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 15, 2015.

Today's standings: June 15, 2015 June 15, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 14, 2015.

Today's standings: June 8, 2015 June 8, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 7, 2015.

Today's standings: June 7, 2015 June 7, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 6, 2015.

First Division: Angels, Dodgers both facing trouble June 7, 2015.
The Angels and Dodgers both are in First Division trouble coming through the first week of June. Both are at the bottom of the division, which spells relegation to the Second Division for 2016 if they don't rise in the top tier. That means beating top-level clubs, which neither Los Angeles club has done very much of this season.

Today's standings: June 4, 2015 June 4, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 3, 2015.

Today's standings: June 3, 2015 June 3, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 2, 2015.

Today's standings: June 2, 2015 June 2, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of June 1, 2015.

Harmon Killebrew Award: Jays to tackle Twins for trophy May 31, 2015
Two teams with very different fortunes in the Harmon Killebrew Award will meet for the prize Sunday in Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Twins will meet the Toronto Blue Jays in the rubber game of their three-game series. The starting pitcher for each club has been through some strange times this year.

Today's standings: May 31, 2015 May 31, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of May 30, 2015.

Today's standings: May 29, 2015 May 29, 2015
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of May 28, 2015.

First Division: Dodgers, Cardinals, vie to challenge Giants May 29, 2015
The Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals will see a lot of each other in the next 10 days in games that should matter a lot to the First Division. But the San Francisco Giants are off to such a good start in the top tier that there's a chance no one else will matter.

Fourth Division: Mets might make it, Sox are sunk May 29, 2015
The New York Mets are off to a good start in their bid to finally escape from the Fourth Division after two straight years of limited opportunity. The Chicago White Sox are all but certain to remain stuck in the bottom tier for another year, but they've blown three straight seasons of opportunity to escape.

Today's standings: May 28, 2015 May 28, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of May 27, 2015.

Today's standings: May 26, 2015 May 26, 2015.
Here are the standings for the traveling trophies through games of May 25, 2015.

Henry Aaron Award: Giants foil Dodgers, again May 23, 2015.
Just as the Dodgers were about to set the all-time record for Henry Aaron Award title defenses, they ran into their nemesis for all time, the San Francisco Giants. The Giants shut out the Dodgers three straight in San Francisco this week, stopping the Dodgers at six consecutive Aaron defenses.

Center League: Royals, Cardinals fight for lead May 23, 2015.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals are meeting this weekend in Kansas City for the Center League lead. The Royals won the opener Friday night, 5-0, behind two homers by designated hitter Kendrys Morales.

Henry Aaron Award: Dodgers go for streak record May 15, 2015.
The Dodgers are making an impressive run with the Henry Aaron Award, defending it five straight times entering this weekend's series against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers now lead all clubs with 13 Aaron game victories and 15 games defending the championship.

Dick Allen Award: Cardinals finally fall May 15, 2015.
The St. Louis Cardinals haven't started the 2015 season with the best run of title defenses in the history of the Dick Allen Award, but they came close. And the only other two times anyone did it better, it was the Cardinals. The Pittsburgh Pirates finally snagged the Allen from the Cardinals last weekend in Pittsburgh after heartbreak the weekend before in St. Louis.

Harmon Killebrew Award: No sitting still May 15, 2015.
Unlike, say, the Dick Allen Award, the Harmon Killebrew Award hasn't found a home this year. Already, six different clubs have won it, and no team has defended it more than once. The Tampa Bay Rays have it now, but who knows for how long?

West League: Dodgers, Astros expand cushion May 13, 2015.
The Dodgers and Houston Astros now are running well ahead of the West League after a spectacular two weeks for both clubs. But the Astros were slowed down last week by the Texas Rangers, while the Dodgers haven't been slowed down by anybody.

Center League: Cards cruise to top of loop May 13, 2015.
The St. Louis Cardinals burned up the last two weeks and overtook the Detroit Tigers for the Center League lead. The crucial moment was three straight one-run, extra-inning wins against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which has marked the early going for both teams.

East League: The Nationals are coming May 12, 2015.
The New York Mets still lead the East League. But the Washington Nationals, the club that was supposed to dominate a weak National League East, finally are being that club. A 10-2 run in the last two weeks has shot the Nationals up the East League standings.

Henry Aaron Award: Dodgers do a turn May 2, 2015.
The Henry Aaron Award is in the hands of the Dodgers, who took it from the San Diego Padres on the road last weekend and have held it since. The Padres had taken it from the San Francisco Giants, ending a long run with the prize for the World Champions.

Dick Allen Award: No apparent end to Cardinal dominance May 1, 2015.
The first month of a new seasons reveals the same general run of results for the Dick Allen Award. The St. Louis Cardinals captured the prize during their first series of the season and they still have not let it go.

Harmon Killebrew Award: O's snag prize in sad city May 1, 2015.
The Harmon Killebrew Award ran straight into the unrest in Baltimore this week, with the Orioles taking the prize from the Chicago White Sox in a one-game meeting in an empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles now will defend the Killebrew as the home team in St. Petersburg this weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays.

West League: Who are these Houston Astros? April 27, 2015.
The Houston Astros lead not only the American League West at the moment, but also the West League, though in a very close race. The Astros made a big move during the past week with a successful road trip through Seattle and Oakland.

East League: Mets extend lead April 27, 2015.
The New York Mets lost two of three to the New York Yankees during the weekend, but they still doubled their lead in the East League during the week. They can thank their three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves, who lost five of six during the week. The Tampa Bay Rays had the best week in the league, moving up to second place.

Center League: Royals struggle against Twins, White Sox April 27, 2015.
The Kansas City Royals are down a bit in the Center League because they have built their 12-6 overall record with a 5-1 mark against the American League West. This weekend, however, they will get a crack at the Detroit Tigers, who still lead the Center League.

West League: Dodgers streak to seven straight April 20, 2015.
The Dodgers brought two northern opponents to Chavez Ravine last week and cruised to a 6-0 homestand, bringing their winning streak to seven. They have the early lead in the West League. But they travel this week to the haunts of the floundering San Francisco Giants.

East League: Meet the Mets April 20, 2015.
The New York Mets are 10-3 after trying all comers in the National League East in the first two weeks of the season. The Mets, who lead the East League with their effort, will get their first crack at the rest of the East when they cross town to visit the New York Yankees later this week.

Center League: Tigers take again it to AL Central April 20, 2015.
As history predicted, the Detroit Tigers are once more roughing up on their American League Central opponents, and they've also gotten a lick in already against the National League Central. So, they lead the Center League early, but the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals are hanging tough.

Henry Aaron Award: Giants reach record streak 24 games April 10, 2015
Inevitably, someone will stop the San Francisco Giants and wrestle away the Henry Aaron Award, but the Giants have once again defended the title this week and now have held it for 24 games, setting the all-time record.

Dick Allen Award: Cardinals capture another corn April 10, 2015
Pitching took the St. Louis Cardinals to a weather-shortened capture of the Dick Allen Award during their first series of the 2015 season this week. The Cardinals split two games with the defending Allen champion Chicago Cubs and now take the prize with them to Cincinnati this weekend.

Harmon Killebrew Award: Kansas City keeps cruising April 10, 2015
The Kansas City Royals defended the Harmon Killebrew Award with a three-game sweep at home against the Chicago White Sox during the opening series of 2015 for both teams. Now, the Royals take the Killebrew to Anaheim this weekend against the Angels, who will set out to avenge their playoff defeat to the Royals from last October.

Henry Aaron Award standings, through April 9, 2015 April 9, 2015
Here are the results and standings in 2015 for the Henry Aaron Award, which distinguishes the team holding the interleague traveling prize going back to 2011.

Dick Allen Award standings, April 9, 2015 April 9, 2015
Here are the results and standings in 2015 for the Dick Allen Award, which distinguishes the team holding the National League traveling prize going back to 2011.

Harmon Killebrew Award standings, through April 9, 2015 April 9, 2015
Here are the results and standings in 2015 for the Harmon Killebrew Award, which distinguishes the team holding the American League traveling prize going back to 2011.

2014 Henry Aaron Award standings and results
The San Francisco Giants did the Henry Aaron Award in style in 2014, setting all-time records in wins, title defenses and games holding the title. They already were going to be the Team of the Year by the end of August, and their postseason run made the team of all time. So far.

2013 Henry Aaron Award standings and results
The St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox could have played in October to decide who would carry the Henry Aaron Award into 2014, but they merely met in the World Series. The Cardinals barely nosed out the Red Sox as the Team of the Year for the interleague prize.

2012 Henry Aaron Award standings and results
Here are the final results and standings in 2012 for the Henry Aaron Award, which distinguishes the team holding the interleague traveling prize.

2011 Henry Aaron Award standings and results
Here are the final results and standings in 2011 for the Henry Aaron Award, which distinguishes the team holding the interleague traveling prize.

2014 Dick Allen Award standings and results
Someday, perhaps, someone besides the St. Louis Cardinals will rise to Team of the Year in the Dick Allen Award competition. For now, it's been the Cardinals in all four years of the competition, even in 2014, which was not, by their standards, a great campaign for the prize.

2013 Dick Allen Award standings and results
Taking the prize all the way through the National League postseason, the St. Louis Cardinals turned in a record-setting performance to once again be Team of the Year in pursuit of the Dick Allen Award during the 2013 season.

2012 Dick Allen Award standings and results
Here are the final results and standings in 2012 for the Dick Allen Award, which distinguishes the team holding the National League traveling prize.

2011 Dick Allen Award standings and results
Here are the final results and standings in 2011 for the Dick Allen Award, which distinguishes the team holding the National League traveling prize.

2014 Harmon Killebrew Award standings and results
It might have been special for the Minnesota Twins to win the Harmon Killebrew Award in 2014, but they would have won it with a losing record in the competition, which isn't special. In the end, the Kansas City Royals emerged as a strong champion.

2013 Harmon Killebrew Award standings and results
The Tampa Bay Rays made a big move in June and kept it going for two months, holding the Harmon Killebrew Award for an incredible 13 consecutive title defenses on their way to making themselves the Team of the Year in the competition for 2013.

2012 Harmon Killebrew Award standings and results
Here are the final results and standings in 2012 for the Harmon Killebrew Award, which distinguishes the team holding the American League traveling prize.

2011 Harmon Killebrew Award standings and results
Here are the final results and standings in 2011 for the Harmon Killebrew Award, which distinguishes the team holding the American League traveling prize.

2014 First Division standings and summary
The Angels survived a minor postseason scare and hung onto the First Division championship, taking the top-level title for the first time. They nosed out the St. Louis Cardinals. The Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds both battled injuries and did poorly in the 2014 First Division competition, earning demotion for 2015.

2013 First Division standings and summary
The Texas Rangers nosed ahead of a tight group to win the First Division championship in 2013. More newsworthy was the decline of the New York Yankees, who fell from the championship in 2012 to a last-place demotion in 2013.

2012 First Division standings and summary
The First Division in 2012 was two tight races, with the top four clubs in a squeeze for the championship and the bottom four in a squeeze to fight off relegation. The New York Yankees prevailed among the prosperous clubs, while the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies lost their bids to stay in the top tier.

2011 First Division standings and summary
Freshly promoted to the First Division for 2011, the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants overtook this field to finish one-two. The defending champions, the Boston Red Sox, fell to third. The Los Angeles Angels might not deserve relegation for 2012, but they're getting it, anyway. The Minnesota Twins, though, clearly deserve their relegation.

2010 First Division standings and summary
The Boston Red Sox didn't go to the Major League playoffs in 2010, but they won the First Division, thanks largely to a combined 12-1 record against the two Los Angeles teams. The Angels barely escaped relegation to the Second Division for 2011, but the Dodgers weren't so lucky.

2014 Second Division standings and summary
The Toronto Blue Jays have won promotion for the second straight season, finishing with more wins than any other Second Division team in 2014. The Blue Jays will join the San Francisco Giants in promotion to the First Division in 2015, while the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks are going down.

2013 Second Division standings and summary
The Angels shook off the disappointment of 2012, as well as a bad 2013 Major League season, to win promotion back to the First Division in 2014. Joining them will be the Washington Nationals. The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, who each resisted demotion for years, now are headed to the Third Division in 2014.

2012 Second Division standings and summary
As former Commissioner Bud Selig said, at least once, "Controversy is good." And was there ever controversy at the top of the Second Division in 2012. The Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves are going up in 2013, but the Angels had a complaint.

2011 Second Division standings and summary
The Texas Rangers had the best record in the Second Division for 2011, but they only played two teams, so they don't get promoted. Instead, the Cincinnati Reds go to the top level, just two years after starting these standings in the Third Division. The Los Angeles Dodgers, just relegated for 2011, are going back to the top in 2012.

2010 Second Division standings and summary
The four clubs in this group that went to the Major League playoffs in 2010 also composed the top half of the Second Division standings. In the end, the World Series, a 4-1 victory for the San Francisco Giants over the Texas Rangers, earned the Giants a First Division promotion for 2011 and denied that advance to the Rangers.

2014 Third Division standings and summary
The Kansas City Royals needed a strong playoff run to secure their promotion to the Second Division for 2015, and they got it. The Baltimore Orioles, who lost four straight to the Royals in the American League Championship Series, got it the other way.

2013 Third Division standings and summary
The Toronto Blue Jays finally are moving up from the Third Division after three straight near misses. They are joining the Cleveland Indians, who romped through this group. On the other side, the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies are being demoted together for the second straight season. They're both headed to the Fourth Division in 2014.

2012 Third Division standings and summary
The Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers won the promotion sweepstakes from the Third Division in 2012 to the Second Division in 2013. The Nationals stomped through this group with a .654 winning percentage, while the Brewers have earned their second consecutive promotion.

2011 Third Division standings and summary
After getting thumped out of the Second Division in 2010, the Detroit Tigers dominated the Third Division in 2011 and they will go back to the second tier in 2012. Joining them in promotion will be the Arizona Diamondbacks, even though they barely broke better than even in this group.

2010 Third Division standings and summary
The Cincinnati Reds blitzed through the Third Division to win easy promotion to the Second Division for 2011. The San Diego Padres beat out the Toronto Blue Jays by one game to earn the second promotion. Going down to the Fourth Division in 2011 are the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros.

2014 Fourth Division standings and summary
The Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies aren't for long staying in the Fourth Division. They finished one-two in the bottom tier in 2014, securing their advance back to the Third Division for 2015. The New York Mets, once again the second-place team, once again didn't win the 10 games they needed to advance.

2013 Fourth Division standings and summary
The final remaining team from the original Fourth Division, the Kansas City Royals, finally get to move up. But they are behind the Oakland Athletics, who won this tier with ease in 2013.

2012 Fourth Division standings and summary
The Toronto Blue Jays finally are moving up from the Third Division after three straight near misses. They are joining the Cleveland Indians, who romped through this group. On the other side, the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies are being demoted together for the second straight season. They're both headed to the Fourth Division in 2014.

2011 Fourth Division standings and summary
The Milwaukee Brewers cruised through the Fourth Division with an .800 winning percentage, not surprising, considering they also had the second-best record in the National League. Two years into these standings, the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates still haven't even produced winning records against this bottom tier.

2010 Fourth Division standings and summary
The New York Mets were clearly the best team of this bad lot, winning more than two-thirds of their Fourth Division games to win easy advancement to the Third Division for 2011. The Washington Nationals won the second promotion, beating out the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals by less than two games.

2014 Joe Cronin League standings and summary
The Angels took the Joe Cronin League in a dominant performance in 2014. The Angels' .704 winning percentage was the highest ever in the Joe Cronin, the Chub Feeney or either Bud Selig League. The Angels won it by 10 games over the defending champions, the Cleveland Indians.

2013 Joe Cronin League standings and summary
The Cleveland Indians improved from worst to first in the expanded Joe Cronin League, winning a red hot race with the Texas Rangers by three games. The Indians did all of their damage against the Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.

2012 Joe Cronin League standings and summary
The Chicago White Sox came from nowhere in 2012 to win the Joe Cronin League, winning nearly two-thirds of their games and romping to the title by seven games over the Angels and New York Yankees. The White Sox finished fourth out of six teams in the first two years of the Joe Cronin League.

2011 Joe Cronin League standings and summary
The New York Yankees, who have won more World Championships than any other professional sports franchise in world history, won the Joe Cronin League for the first time in 2011. The Yankees beat out the Angels and the Texas Rangers for the honor

2010 Joe Cronin League standings and summary
The Minnesota Twins topped off a year in which they won the American League Central with additional championships in the Joe Cronin League and the Bud Selig West. The Twins won the Cronin by 3½ games over the New York Yankees. The Texas Rangers, who actually won the American League pennant, finished third in the Cronin.

2014 Chub Feeney League standings and summary
The Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals went to the National League Divisional Series neck-and-neck on top of the Chub Feeney League. The Cardinals prevailed in that series, and in the Chub Feeney League. The Cincinnati Reds, who won the first three Feeneys, fell all the way to the league basement.

2013 Chub Feeney League standings and summary
The Cincinnati Reds won the Chub Feeney League once again in 2012, making themselves the only Chub Feeney winner in the first three years of the competition. With the league expanding in 2013, the Reds will go down as the only club to win the Chub Feeney in its six-team configuration.

2012 Chub Feeney League standings and summary
Not only are the Pittsburgh Pirates in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, but they arrived with the big arm that can keep them there for a while. Rookie Gerrit Cole from UCLA quieted the St. Louis Cardinals and their crowd in Game 2 of their National League Division Series Friday.

2011 Chub Feeney League standings and summary
The St. Louis Cardinals can claim the World Championship for 2011, but they weren't as good as the Cincinnati Reds in the Chub Feeney League. The Reds beat the Cardinals in the Chub Feeney by 1½ games after going 9-6 against the Cardinals during the regular season.

2010 Chub Feeney League standings and summary
The Cincinnati Reds won the first Chub Feeney League championship, beating out the Houston Astros and New York Mets by more than four games. The Reds were the only Chub Feeney club to enter the National League playoffs.

2014 Bud Selig East standings and summary
Despite falling from first place in the Joe Cronin League, the Cleveland Indians defended their championship in the Bud Selig East. The Indians won the 2014 Selig East title by three games over the New York Yankees and four over the Tampa Bay Rays.

2013 Bud Selig East standings and summary
The Cleveland Indians won their first Bud Selig East title in 2013, taking advantage of an expanded field to beat out the Cincinnati Reds and the Tampa Bay Ray. The Indians had never before finished higher than fifth in the Bud Selig East.

2012 Bud Selig East standings and summary
The Bud Selig East came down to a battle between the champions of the Joe Cronin and Chub Feeney Leagues. In the end, the Chicago White Sox out of the Cronin prevailed, beating the Reds by 1½ games. Oddly enough, the White Sox and Reds never played each other, even though the interleague schedule in the Major Leagues pitted the Central divisions of each league against each other.

2011 Bud Selig East standings and summary
The New York Yankees won their second consecutive Bud Selig East title in 2011, beating the Cincinnati Reds by 7½ games. The Yankees claimed something of a double championship, as they also won their first title in the Joe Cronin League.

2010 Bud Selig East standings and summary
A superior performance in games against Chub Feeney League clubs propelled the New York Yankees to the first championship in the Bud Selig East. The Yankees barely beat out the Cincinnati Reds, who won the Chub Feeney League.

2014 Bud Selig West standings and summary
The Angels won the Bud Selig West for the second time, blowing past the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals for the 2014 title. The Angels, who won the 2014 title by 11 games, had last won the Bud Selig West title in 2011.

2013 Bud Selig West standings and summary
The Texas Rangers won the American League pennant in 2010 and 2011, but not until 2013 did they win the Bud Selig West. The Rangers won by percentage points over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers still could have beaten both the Rangers and the Cardinals if they could have won in the National League Championship Series.

2012 Bud Selig West standings and summary
The Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals split the 2012 championship in the Bud Selig West. The Dodgers had the best winning percentage, but the Cardinals were more games above .500. Close behind the Dodgers and Cardinals were the Angels and Texas Rangers.

2011 Bud Selig West standings and summary<
The Angels won the Bud Selig West for the first time in 2011, but they had to sweat out the World Series between two other Bud Selig West teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. The Angels prevailed, in the end, by two percentage points.

2010 Bud Selig West standings and summary
Lacking a strong contender from the Chub Feeney League, the Minnesota Twins easily won the Bud Selig West. The best Chub Feeney League club in this mix, the St. Louis Cardinals, were only a .500 club in the Bud Selig West.

AL 2014 a tale told by Athletics, Royals October 21, 2014.
One couldn't find two more different clubs in the American League than the Oakland Athletics, who went through much of the year as the team to beat, and the Kansas City Royals, who were unbeatable during the American League playoffs. The Royals will begin the World Series tonight against the San Francisco Giants.

Royals surge shows no trouble for Angels October 21, 2014.
The Angels might lament that they didn't last longer in the American League playoffs, but it's hard to argue that anyone in the AL was going to beat the Kansas City Royals, who are headed to the World Series. The Angels are headed to 2015 with a strong club with a good chance of making that trip.

Lester, trade loom large as A's straggle to playoffs September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's American League wildcard game is a beauty, with the Oakland Athletics sending Jon Lester against the Kansas City Royals and James Shields. Both arrived in controversial trades. The Shields deal already has worked out for the Royals, and Lester still has a chance to save his trade if he is the postseason pitcher that he always has been.

Good news and bad for teams missing playoffs September 30, 2014.
The last two teams eliminated this year from playoff contention have two different stories to tell. The Seattle Mariners made a big move up after years of straggling in the AL West. The Milwaukee Brewers made an even bigger move up in the NL Central, but they then made a huge move down, casting themselves as the most unfortunate flops of the regular season.

Are the Giants and Dodgers cooking a greater rivalry? September 24, 2014.
The Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are always in each other's business. But they have too seldom, in the last several decades, both been in the business of winning the championship at the same time. This year, now that it's all but certain that both clubs will be in the playoffs, they might be getting back to what once made the rivalry great.

Tigers in tangle for AL Central title September 18, 2014.
The Detroit Tigers are trying to win the American League Central division for the fourth straight time, and this one isn't as easy as some of the others. They still hit as well as just about anyone and they still catch it worse than anyone, but their trademark pitching is way down. Now, they're trying to hold off the Kansas City Royals in the last two weeks of the season.

Kershaw no Koufax ... and thank heaven! September 16, 2014.
Comparisons between Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax are inevitable and, fortunately, misguided. Kershaw will never be used as Koufax was used, which means we don't have to worry that Kershaw will retire at age 30 with a traumatically arthritic left arm. That aside, Kershaw not only is the best pitcher, but the best complete baseball player going today.

Another lesson learned, again: you never know September 15, 2014.
Perhaps Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto isn't a genius, but he clearly has something on the game's annointed genius, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane. All Dipoto did this year was rebuild his bullpen on the fly, which is one reason why the Angels go to the last two weeks of the regular season with a 10-game lead in the American League West.

A's made the trades, Angels made the pitches September 2, 2014.
The Angels put together a huge four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium during Labor Day weekend, increasing their lead in the American League West to five games. The Angels heroes were pitchers, none of whom arrived with any fanfare this season.

Orioles again: Pitching, defense, three-run homers August 23, 2014.
The Baltimore Orioles are something of a throwback to the old days, in more ways than one. Not only are the Orioles dominating the American League East by margins reminiscent of their days under the late Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver, but they are doing it the same way.

Angels lose Richards, but not division August 20, 2014.
The Angels apparently will have to compete for the rest of this season without pitching ace Garrett Richards, who went down with a ghastly knee injury Wednesday night in Boston. But they are all but assured of going to the playoffs. And their team to beat in the American League West, the Oakland Athletics, aren't the team they were a month ago.

Dodgers improve by inches, not miles August 12, 2014.
The Dodgers didn't create much of a sensation at the non-waiver trading deadline, obviously. But they did improve their ball club by adding three guys who weren't even stars with poor clubs. The Dodgers picked up what they need, which isn't stars.

Haren hangs on with big start at Big A August 7, 2014.
Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren is a Los Angeles-area product who formerly pitched for the Angels. Haren returned to the Big A Wednesday night and shut down the Angels, helping the Dodgers to a 2-1 win and securing, for the time being, his place in the city team's starting rotation.

Moreno: LA's unsung baseball hero in 2014 August 6, 2014.
After taking the heat for over-reaching his baseball operation to saddle the Angels with a poor club in 2013, Angels owner Arte Moreno doesn't receive enough praise for reversing his own course and giving the baseball people room to operate in 2014. The Angels are back to being an elite club this season, and Moreno's new patience has a lot to do with it.

Richards, big arm, keys to Angels contention August 5, 2014.
The Angels have the big right arm other clubs have paid for dearly. After making a huge error in 2013 by making Garrett Richards wait while signing free agent Joe Blanton and watching him give up home runs, Richards is getting those starts in 2014, and he's making them count.

Is the extra pitcher worth it? August 4, 2014.
Like the Oakland Athletics, the Detroit Tigers added a premium pitcher to a deep rotation at the non-waiver trading deadline, bringing in left-hander David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays. But they took a player out of their daily lineup to do it. Again, the questions about the Athletics' deal apply to the Tigers, even if Austin Jackson isn't as big of a loss as Yoenis Cespedes.

By default, Angels win AL West trade deadline August 1, 2014.
The Oakland Athletics over-reached at the trade deadline by dealing Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Lester. To marginally improve their pitching rotation, the A's tore a huge piece out of their offensive and defensive teams. The Angels, who made less spectacular moves to address a real need, stand to benefit.

No reason for Dodgers to deal on deadline July 31, 2014.
The Dodgers already have plenty enough to win this year. In order for them to have enough for winning every year, they must refrain from dealing prospect talent that gives them a chance to win every year in exchange for a pitcher who would be marginally valuable right now. It sounds like the Dodgers will play this right.

A Dodgers-Giants division race? About time! July 23, 2014.
It's been 10 years since the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants duked it out in the National League West. Now, at long last, coming out of the All-Star break, here it comes.

Dodgers freeze in first inning June 13, 2014.
The Dodgers lack luster so far, and it shows in the way they start the game. The Dodgers have scored only 25 runs in the first inning. Only San Diego, among National League clubs, has fewer runs to show for the first frame.

Torrid Trout could succeed (finally) in MVP bid June 11, 2014.
No one has questioned Mike Trout's greatness in his first two years with the Angels, but that never got him an MVP award. This season, the way he's going right now, there might not be any stopping him. The Angels are winning, and Trout is a key reason.

Second wild card starts race to the middle June 8, 2014.
Now that fifth best in some league is good enough to reach the playoffs, even the worse clubs know they're only one or two good players and a dozen good bounces from surviving to October. Thus the distance from the middle of the league to the bottom is shorter than ever.

Dodgers sell out fans with local TV deal May 28, 2014.
The Dodgers, enriched by their $8.35 billion television deal with Time-Warner Cable, have shut out more than half of their local market. It's time for the Dodgers to stand with their fans and push to put their games on more Los Angeles television sets.

NL Central: Cardinals, until someone else May 6, 2014.
The St. Louis Cardinals have transitioned comfortably out of their Tony LaRussa-Albert Pujols period, taking their run to the World Series in 2013. The Cardinals have challenges from within the division in the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. All three went to the playoffs last year.

AL East: Can Red Sox repeat? May 6, 2014.
The Boston Red Sox, who seemed resigned to scratching out a down season, ended up winning the whole thing. Having David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury for the full season helped a lot. But Ellsbury has jumped to the New York Yankees this year, and that might be enough to usher in a new winner.

AL Central: Who else? The Tigers May 6, 2014.
The Detroit Tigers really have no peer in the American League Central Division, which they have won in each of the last three seasons. The Tigers are so far ahead of this pack that everyone knew the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals made upgrades last year just to bid for wild cards.

NL East: Two up, three down May 5, 2014.
The National League East almost certainly can't involve anyone other than the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals in 2013. Each has won it in the last two years, and no one else is even close to contending for even a wild card spot.

NL West: Dodgers, and no one else, according to WAR March 31, 2014.
The 2013 season went badly for most of the National League West. Only the Dodgers prospered and, if we subtract that 42-8 period, it wasn't so great for them, either. But the Dodgers are back with obviously the strongest team in the NL West for 2014, according to the 2013 WAR values of their 2014 players.

AL West: WAR says A's, spring injuries disagree March 31, 2014.
Looking at the 2013 WAR values for players on the 2014 Opening Day rosters for the clubs of the American League West, the Oakland Athletics would have to be favored. But early injuries are among the reasons the Los Angeles Angels might have a chance.

Dodgers no better than a year ago ... is that good enough? February 10, 2014.
The Dodgers are a star in the Major League universe again, and it is good to have them back. But they began spring training last week no better than they were when they left the field after last year's National League Championship Series, which makes one question if they can take the next step in 2014.

Dodgers won't fret over losing out on Tanaka January 23, 2014.
Japanese star right-hander Masahiro Tanaka signed Wednesday with the New York Yankees, meaning the Dodgers didn't get a player they wanted. Turns out, perhaps, that the Dodgers didn't want him very badly. Certainly not as badly as the Yankees.

Red Sox build champion by inches, not miles December 2, 2013.
Almost no one believed the Boston Red Sox were about to win the World Series when the 2013 baseball season began. Everyone else in the American League East appeared to be better. Just shows, once more, how easily we can be tricked by names and fame.

Big Papi pops Benoit, brings Boston back October 14, 2013.
David Ortiz already was a postseason legend before Sunday night, but he keeps playing, so he keeps hitting crucial home runs to change playoff games. Ortiz hit an eighth-inning grand slam for the Boston Red Sox to tie Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, and the Red Sox went on to beat the Detroit Tigers, 6-5. The series now is tied, 1-1.

Sanchez plays 'keep away' to crater Red Sox October 13, 2013.
Contrary to what's often spoken in Little League, and certain analytical circles, a walk is not as good as a hit. At least, that was the frame of mind Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez took into Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox. He struck out 12 in six innings, and the Tigers almost tossed a combined no-hitter in a 1-0 win.

Shadows, Wacha drop Dodgers into darkness October 13, 2013.
On a day when hitting conditions in St. Louis were all but impossible, every base counts. The Dodgers gave up a key base on a passed ball, enabling Michael Wacha to outduel Clayton Kershaw in a 1-0 game, helping the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.

Dodgers dolt up NLCS opener, lose in 13 innings October 12, 2013.
It seemed as though the entire Dodgers organization had a collective synaptic misfiring Friday, when they set their roster for the National League Championship Series quite questionably, then performed questionably in Game 1. It still took the St. Louis Cardinals 13 innings to beat them, 3-2.

Present meets persistent in ALCS October 12, 2013.
The Boston Red Sox were the best team in the American League this year, at least so far as their record shows, while the Detroit Tigers are in their third consecutive American League Championship Series. So, they meet, and it shapes up as an outstanding round of games to determine which will go to the World Series.

Dodgers have right matchups to beat St. Louis in NLCS October 11, 2013.
With all the metrics going around baseball these days, the simplest might still be the most predictive. And when we look at the simple numbers pertaining to right-handers against left-handers, it become very hard to believe the St. Louis Cardinals can last against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

Mattingly is winning ... or is he? October 9, 2013.
It would seem that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly's decision making is on permanent probation, and that he has a negative margin for error. In 2011 and 2012, he took poor Dodgers teams to winning records. In 2013, he took a good team to a division title before the end of August and now he has won the first round of playoffs in four games. But we still don't know if he has a 2014.

Cards, Bucs making up for lost rivalry October 9, 2013.
Somehow, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates haven't been good at the same time in more than 80 years, so they haven't been rivals. But are they ever making up for it now, playing for the 24th and final time this season Wednesday in Game 5 of their National League Division Series.

Red Sox wrecking Rays destiny
October 7, 2013.
The Boston Red Sox don't need any help scoring runs, but the Tampa Bay Rays have been helping them, anyway. The Rays entered their American League Division Series with the Red Sox on a roll, but now they're down, 2-0, and they appear to be flat-out doomed.

Tigers hitters disappear, and so might their playoffs October 7, 2013.
The Detroit Tigers entered their American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics with one of the game's most crushing lineups. But the Tigers hitters instead are being crushed by Oakland pitchers. Following another day of goose eggs on the scoreboard, the Tigers face elimination Tuesday.

In 12th Major League season, Byrd finally flies October 7, 2013.
Marlon Byrd's 12-year Major League career hasn't exactly been the stuff of storybooks. Until now. Byrd made the Pittsburgh Pirates better when they picked him up from the New York Mets in late August. More to the point, the Pirates have given Byrd a chance to win, finally.

Surprise! Matty tabs Kershaw for Game 4 October 7, 2013.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is making a bid to close out the Atlanta Braves before the home folks in Game 4 of the National League Division Series Monday night, shifting to Clayton Kershaw as his pitcher. But if the Dodgers can get it done, they shouldn't celebrate too much.

Braves will lose for lopping off lefty Maholm October 5, 2013.
The Atlanta Braves probably lost their National League Division Series with the Dodgers before it started. Quality left-handed pitching is the one proven way to slow down the Dodgers when they are at their best, and the Braves decided to short themselves of left-handed starters.

Cole's big arm evens Pirates with Cardinals October 5, 2013.
Not only are the Pittsburgh Pirates in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, but they arrived with the big arm that can keep them there for a while. Rookie Gerrit Cole from UCLA quieted the St. Louis Cardinals and their crowd in Game 2 of their National League Division Series Friday.

Tight matches on deck for NL playoffs October 3, 2013.
The divisional round of playoffs in the National League stands to be among the most even ever. One pits two easy division winners against each other, and the other will decide, once for all, which National League Central club can claim the best outcome.

Indians wildcard campaign flops with Cleveland fans September 29, 2013.
Winning a wildcard playoff position today merely requires that some team be the fifth best in its league. As the Cleveland Indians have demonstrated this season, the chance of being fifth best doesn't necessarily fire up the fans.

Astros still rotten, but no one's watching, anyway September 24, 2013.
We haven't seen a baseball team so poor for so long as the Houston Astros since the expansion New York Mets. Now, turns out, we're not seeing them. According to Nielsen, no one in the Houston area watched the Astros on television Sunday afternoon.

NL Central race is as good as it gets September 23, 2013.
Is the National League Central division race any worse for the fact that none of its three contestants will be eliminated for falling short? No, that actually makes this race better. Because the wildcard team enters the playoffs so marginally, winning the division is everything, and we have three good clubs going at it.

Puig needs to cool it, or he'll cool down the Dodgers August 21, 2013.
Yasiel Puig, 22, is a wonder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have become powerful contenders through his energetic style of play. As the competition becomes more serious, though, it becomes a question of whether his erratic style of play will derail the Dodgers' championship bid.

Clubs must bear burden in PED enforcement August 19, 2013.
As long as we're going to be this righteous and indignant about performance enhancing drug (PED) use across Major League Baseball, or if we just want to take it seriously, then shouldn't at least some of the burden be placed on the clubs?

Inside the numbers of the Dodgers' 40-8 surge August 15, 2013.
Breaking down the Dodgers' last 48 games, of which they have won 40, it seems as if there is no kind of a game or circumstance in which the Dodgers are likely to lose. The Dodgers are defying every tried and true indicator out there. No matter who scores first, the Dodgers are likely to win. No matter who hits the most, the Dodgers are likely to win. No matter how little the Dodgers score, they're likely to win

Pirates putting off plunge, maybe for good August 14, 2013.
In 2011 and 2012, we saw the Pittsburgh Pirates plunge in the second half. Early this week, we thought we might be seeing the 2013 version. But after Francisco Liriano's brilliant performance Wednesday night in St. Louis, maybe not.

Angels designed for August apathy August 13, 2013.
The Los Angeles Angels are built on gimpy sluggers signed to expensive long-term contracts. Now, it's August, and we can see where it has gotten them -- 15 games out of first place in the American League West.

Deadline trades only to be guessed, not judged August 1, 2013.
The trade deadline has passed in Major League Baseball, which often means contending clubs have given up too much for too little. Who are the winners and losers this year? It's way too early to tell. All we'll say is if a contending club dealt for a player who isn't getting it done right this moment, that club probably made a mistake.

Dodgers bashing everyone -- except left-handed starters July 29, 2013.
The Dodgers would seem to be unstoppable right now, winning 26 of their last 32 games and improving their standing by 12 games in five weeks. But there is this matter about failing to hit left-handed starters that defies easy explanation.

The Angels according to WAR July 9, 2013.
The statistical confection known as Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has become something of a new religion among a certain strain of baseball fans. As such, it requires a leap of faith, which some of us aren't quite willing to take. Here's what WAR says about the Angels in 2013.

50 wins on July 1: Playoffs likely for Boston, Pittsburgh July 1, 2013.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Red Sox each have 50 wins on July 1. History says that means each will last to at least the playoffs. History also says the World Championship is an unlikely outcome for either club.

Is this the Dodgers? Is this for real? June 26, 2013.
The Dodgers suddenly have won five straight games, all against the National League West. They suddenly have all of their players back. And they suddenly look like they have purpose and possibilities, this last-place team with the highest payroll in the National League. And we ask: Is this real?

1967 a moment approaching glory for Angels, Reichardt June 25, 2013.
The Angels, the California Angels, had one moment of contention in the 1960s, and Rick Reichardt, the $200,000 bonus baby, was in the middle of a fine moment during that 1967 season. But the flame burned out for the Reichardt, and for the Angels, who wouldn't seriously whiff contention again for another 10 years.

San Jose lawsuit should shake up Bay stalemate June 24, 2013.
Round and round and round they go. But no one knows where the Oakland Athletics will wind up once their lease at Coliseum expires at the end of this season. The city of San Jose is attempting to force the issue with its lawsuit against Major League Baseball.

Dodgers become the whipping boys of NL West June 21, 2013.
Many believed the Dodgers would win the National League West in 2013. Most of those who didn't thought the Dodgers would, at least, contend. The few who are left over figured the Dodgers would at least win a few within the division. As it turns out, everyone has been wrong about the Dodgers, who are 9-22 against the National League West.

Angels have a good lineup ... out there ... somewhere June 19, 2013.
If we could tell you of a batting order that is proven to work for the Los Angeles Angels, that scores about a run more per game than their other lineups, would you like to see them try it? We have found such a lineup. Unfortnuately, you will never see the Angels use it when they're healthy. But they can get close enough.

Votto not to blame for low RBI total June 18, 2013.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto had only 34 RBI entering games of June 18, despite a .321 batting average from the third position in the batting order. Don't blame it on him. The way the Reds are set up this year, Votto is a table setter.

Right remark made the wrong way June 17, 2013.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said last week that the club wouldn't suffer for his one-game suspension because it is on "autopilot." Mattingly didn't mean it as a knock against himself, but it described the club he is managing all too well.

Puig lifts Dodgers, but can they stay up? June 5, 2013.
The new Dodgers outfielder, Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, has really juiced up a flagging ball club. Better yet, he is going to make outfielders with big contracts fight for playing time. With two first-place clubs coming to Dodger Stadium in the next week, see if the Dodgers can make a move.

San Jose lawsuit should shake up Bay stalemate June 24, 2013.
Round and round and round they go. But no one knows where the Oakland Athletics will wind up once their lease at Coliseum expires at the end of this season. The city of San Jose is attempting to force the issue with its lawsuit against Major League Baseball.

Can Angels contend? No June 10, 2013.
It's tough to say some baseball team can forget about going to the playoffs so early in June. But the Angels are so far down after botching last week's home stand that they have no remaining realistic chance of climbing into the 2013 playoff hunt.

Five pitchers throw four-hitter: Angels 7, Kansas City 0 May 26, 2013.
In 2007, the Kansas City Royals traded Billy Buckner to Arizona for Alberto Callaspo. Both of those players now are with the Angels, and it's safe to say the Angels and Royals are going in two different directions. The Angels ran their winning streak to seven Saturday with their third straight win in Kansas City.

Six straight wins: Angels 5, Kansas City 2 May 25, 2013.
The Angels have won seven of their last 10 games, tacking up an OPS of .922 in that time. Friday, in a 5-2 win in Kansas City, the Angels claimed their sixth straight win with 11 hits. The Royals, in their last 10 games, have an OPS of .661 and lost eight of the 10.

Redbirds rake Cap: St. Louis 7, Dodgers 0 May 25, 2013.
St. Louis right hander Lance Lynn threw almost nothing but four-seam fastballs at the Dodgers Friday night, and struck out Dodger hitters like they didn't know it was coming. With nine strikeouts in six innings, Lynn notched an easy 7-0 win.

Grounding one out: Angels 7, Seattle 1 May 23, 2013.
Some are saying the Angels' 7-1 win against Seattle in Anaheim Thursday demonstrates that they are exploding offensively. Really, though, the Angels just took what Seattle gave them, which was practically every ground ball they hit.

Ryu rolls: Dodgers 9, Milwaukee 2 May 22, 2013.
The Dodgers picked up the rubber game of their three-game series in Milwaukee, 9-2, Wednesday, largely because the Brewers couldn't pick up ground balls. The Dodgers actually did pick up ground balls and starting pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu picked up half of the outs he induced on balls that hit the ground.

Bullpen blows up again: Atlanta 5, Dodgers 2 May 20, 2013.
We might say that no lead is safe for the Dodgers, the way their bullpen is going, except that the Dodgers don't score enough to build big leads. Instead, they blow small leads, as they did in Atlanta for the third straight day Sunday, a 5-2 loss.

Vargas vexes Sox: Angels 6, Chicago 2 May 20, 2013.
Are the Angels changing before our eyes? Or is the Chicago pitching that wild? The Angels walked six times, twice with the bases loaded, in their 6-2 win Sunday against the White Sox. After walking 16 times in the last two games, the Angels now have more walks than the American League average, which is highly unusual under the field management of Mike Scioscia.

Walking to a win: Angels 12, Chicago 9 May 19, 2013.
Such an unlikely way for the Angels to win a game. They walked 10 times, Alberto Callaspo drove in five runs and they came back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Chicago White Sox, 12-9, Saturday at Angel Stadium. The Angels won for the first time in Joe Blanton's nine starts for them, and he wasn't very good.

Kenley coughs it up: Atlanta 3, Dodgers 1 May 19, 2013.
The Dodgers couldn't hold a slim lead Saturday in Atlanta and lost, 3-1, when reliever Kenley Jansen couldn't outwit the pinch hitter he came in to face, Evan Gattis. The pinch hitter's homer turned a 1-0 Dodgers lead into a 2-1 Braves lead in the eighth inning. Ball game.

Crawford crashes in left: Atlanta 8, Dodgers 5 May 18, 2013.
More than anything else, poor fielding cost the Dodgers in an 8-5 loss Friday night to open a three-game road series against the Atlanta Braves, who lead the National League East. Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford made two deadly misplays that were mostly responsible for Atlanta scoring six runs, combined, in the sixth and seventh innings.

Sale sails: Chicago 3, Angels 0 May 18, 2013.
Chicago left hander Chris Sale posted another gem against the Angels Friday night, and he now has shut them out in 16 2/3 innings over his last two starts. The result was a 3-0 win for the White Sox and a second straight hard-luck loss for Angels left hander C.J. Wilson.

Kershaw K's Nats: Dodgers 2, Washington 0 May 15, 2013.
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson threw a "what the heck" lineup out there Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, and Dodger left hander Clayton Kershaw did what he's supposed to do against a group like that. He shut it down, striking out 11.

Beckett bombs, Dodgers blunder: Washington 6, Dodgers 2 May 14, 2013.
The Dodgers didn't make pitches or plays in their 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium Monday night. The Dodgers batted only one-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and they matched that performance on the field and the bases.

Butler bashes Blanton: Kansas City 11, Angels 4 May 14, 2013.
The Los Angeles Angels returned home to a rude greeting from the Kansas City Royals Monday night. Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler led a 19-hit attack by going five-for-five after entering the game in a four-for-35 slump.

Capuano cruises: Dodgers 5, Miami 3 May 13, 2013.
Dodgers left hander Chris Capuano had an easy day against an easy lineup Sunday, mixing together almost nothing but sinkers and changeups to keep the Miami Marlins quiet. The Dodgers' win brought them a little bit closer to leaving the National League West cellar.

Williams washes White Sox: Angels 3, Chicago 2 May 12, 2013.
Angels right hander Jerome Williams made his second start count Saturday in a 3-2 win at Chicago. Williams received help from Mike Trout's two-run homer and a dismal display of defense for the White Sox, who don't hit very well, either.

Bombs away for Ichiro, Overbay: New York 11, Kansas City 6 May 11, 2013.
The convalescent New York Yankees continue to surprise with their disabled list of superstars and their replacement lineup of oldies but goodies. Friday night, it was Lyle Overbay and Ichiro Suzuki who paced a 16-hit attack as the Yankees outslugged Kansas City and presented starting pitcher Phil Hughes with a change of luck.

Slo-mo Norris flusters Angels: Houston 3, Angels 1 May 9, 2013.
The Angels sent 30 hitters at Houston starter Bud Norris Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Of those Angels hitters, 23 were in and out within three pitches. In the standings, the Angels still are better than the Astros, but, on the field, the Astros have beaten them twice in a row.

Zimmermann stops another good lineup: Nats 3, Tigers 1 May 9, 2013.
Jordan Zimmermann might be the hottest pitcher in big league baseball. He shut down a potent lineup for the third straight time Wednesday, leading the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 win against the Detroit Tigers. Zimmermann now is 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA.

Goldy hammers Dodgers again: Arizona 3, Dodgers 2 May 9, 2013.
Paul Goldschmidt hit four homers in three games at Dodger Stadium as the Arizona Diamondbacks swept three straight from the Dodgers. Next up for the Dodgers, the Miami Marlins come to town, and it's an open question which of those two clubs is worse right now.

As Kemp goes, so go the Dodgers ... badly May 6, 2013.
Nearly a half-season of games have come and gone since the Dodgers made the big trade with Boston to add offensive pieces around Matt Kemp. But Kemp hasn't given them much to build around -- just seven homers, 31 RBI and a .248 batting average in those games.

Detroit Tigers do it with smart money April 23, 2013.
We hear a lot about big league baseball teams spending foolishly. We do not hear that about the Detroit Tigers, who spend intelligently even when their contracts don't work out. Which means that the smart money is picking the Tigers to prevail in the American League Central.

Nationals shape up as new NL East dynasty April 5, 2013.
The National League East has been a division of local dynasties. The Atlanta Braves won it for 11 straight years. Then the Philadelphia Phillies won it five straight times. Time for a new dynasty. The Washington Nationals.

A new day in the AL East? Maybe just a different year April 3, 2013.
The 2013 season might not signal a new day in the American League East, but it's certainly a different day. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox might not fight at the top. They might even end up fighting at the bottom.

Giants win it all in 2012, but do it the boring way April 2, 2013.
Come-from-behind wins are relatively rare in baseball, and if you fell behind the World Champion San Francisco Giants in 2012, they were all but impossible. When the Giants took the lead, they kept it.

Clubs must bear burden in PED enforcement August 19, 2013.
As long as we're going to be this righteous and indignant about performance enhancing drug (PED) use across Major League Baseball, or if we just want to take it seriously, then shouldn't at least some of the burden be placed on the clubs?

Deadline trades only to be guessed, not judged August 1, 2013.
The trade deadline has passed in Major League Baseball, which often means contending clubs have given up too much for too little. Who are the winners and losers this year? It's way too early to tell. All we'll say is if a contending club dealt for a player who isn't getting it done right this moment, that club probably made a mistake.

50 wins on July 1: Playoffs likely for Boston, Pittsburgh July 1, 2013.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Red Sox each have 50 wins on July 1. History says that means each will last to at least the playoffs. History also says the World Championship is an unlikely outcome for either club.

Marvin Miller (1917-2012): The Great Disrupter December 2, 2012.

The Major League Baseball Players Association was almost nothing before Marvin Miller came along. Miller died last week, long after building the baseball players union into the strongest in America.

Wild card playoffs awash in absurdity, tragedy October 6, 2012.

Baseball is a game of tragedy and absurdity. Friday's one-game wild card round of playoffs showed us both. Absurdly, the Atlanta Braves booted their way out of the postseason and later complained, with justification, that they were robbed. For tragedy, we give you Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers.

Dodgers lose playoff hopes, but only for this year October 3, 2012.
The Dodgers began the year on top of baseball and have declined, by levels, to where they now are entirely shut out of the playoffs after their 4-3 loss to San Francisco Tuesday night. So, they now turn to what this year really was about, anyway, which is next year.

Angels out, Dodgers still in -- for now October 2, 2012.
We've come to the time of year when we consider the tiny difference between going to the playoffs and missing them, especially in Los Angeles, where the Angels died Monday and the Dodgers barely stayed alive. Both clubs are so close that big turning points won't explain how they missed. The explanations are tinier.

Three up, three down October 1, 2012.
The Dodgers and Angels both remain alive in the playoff race with three games left in the season. And both are barely hanging on. Both teams basically have to win all the remaining games, and they need the teams they are chasing, basically, to lose all their games. But it's still on.

Dodgers, Angels, now on death watch September 21, 2012.
The Angels and Dodgers each needed to at least not lose ground as they took on division leaders this week. Instead, both lost lots of ground, and now their chances of advancing to playoffs are barely conceivable. But there are scenarios.

One baseball season, three distinctive Dodger teams September 18, 2012.
This fragmented 2012 season has given us not one Dodgers team, but three. The third, which is before us today, is, by far, the most talented. The first Dodgers team this season was the most successful on the field. The second? Glad to see 'em go.

Elite club list changes through season, but how much? September 17, 2012.
At the start of the season, it was commonly said that six of the best major league baseball clubs are in the American League. Since then, Boston has come off that elite list, and the one NL team on it, Philadelphia, has struggled through injuries to a losing record at this point. Are sudden AL contenders in Chicago, Oakland and Baltimore really good enough to move up to such a list?

Angels going great, but others are just as good September 16, 2012.
Since falling to 62-60 on Aug. 19 and all but eliminating themselves from the playoff race, the Angels are 18-7. And it has been barely enough to keep them alive, because Oakland and Baltimore have been as good or better. Now, the Angels are righted with about two weeks left, but Baltimore has a clear schedule advantage for the second wild card.

Adding playoff team already shapes races two ways September 15, 2012.
The additional wild card entry in the playoffs is having very different effects on shaping the races in the two major leagues. In the American League, it has clearly increased the value of winning a division, as the AL East race shows. In the National League, it has kept five break-even teams alive with less than three weeks left in the season.

How else are they going to find them? August 29, 2012.
At first, one thought the Dodgers were making a move just for the sake of making a splash when they took three huge contracts off the hands of the Boston Red Sox. But when you look at the kind of talent that might be available in free agency for the next couple years, that trade and the Hanley Ramirez deal make a lot of sense.

About that "Steroid Era" ... August 24, 2012.
It's been wrong to think there was such a time as "The Steroid Era," and that it has ended. It hasn't, and it never will. What has ended is every player who does it getting away with it. So, we shouldn't be too surprised by stories like Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon. The money in baseball will always make PEDs tempting to players with nothing to lose.

Angels starters sputter through August August 20, 2012.
On paper, and often on the field, the Angels have featured one of the best starting rotations in baseball, from the back to the front. Now, all of a sudden, their veteran starting superstars are falling behind hitters. The Angels have 40 games to climb into the wild-card playoff, but the next 15 are critical.

Angels go way too deep for Greinke July 30, 2012.
If the Angels go to the playoffs at all, they're going in as a wild card team facing a one-game elimination. Then, if they win that game, they go to the next round of playoffs handicapped. So, the Angels just gave up three prospects to acquire Zach Greinke in a bid for the one-game playoff berth. We're thinking they gave up too much.

Dodgers take shot in the dark with Ramirez July 25, 2012.
The Dodgers have made one of those big moves they promised, dealing with the Miami Marlins to bring in former MVP candidate Hanley Ramirez to play shortstop and third base. But unless the Dodgers can point Ramirez in the right direction, they have a player who, at 28, is on the down side of his career.

NL All-Star team ... uh, can we try this again? July 10, 2012.
The National League All-Star team playing Tuesday night in Kansas City is, at least measured by WAR, not very good. In fact, if we were to pick a team of NL WAR Stars and compare it with the real team of NL All-Stars, we would end up with only ten players in common.

AL All-Star team not quite ready for WAR July 10, 2012.
The American League All-Star team playing in Kansas City Tuesday contains great names like Derek Jeter and Prince Fielder. However, according to the WAR metric, neither of these players should be anywhere near the All-Star Game. Indeed, about half of the AL team shouldn't be there, according to WAR.

Angels hits, missing in April, showing up now July 6, 2012.
Weeks ago, the Angels couldn't hit, and they lost more than they should. Now, the Angels can't pitch, and they win more than they should. What happened to all those hits the Angels didn't get in April? They are getting them now.

Where's Magic? He's out of the way, like a smart owner July 3, 2012.
Since his group's much trumpeted purchase of the Dodgers, Magic Johnson has been sighted at only a handful of Dodger games. It would appear he has had some other commitments. What is his commitment to the Dodgers? Maybe staying out of the way is a good one.

Best in NL West? That would be the Angels July 2, 2012.
The Angels gained four games in the American League wild card race with a scorching 11-4 run against NL West clubs during the last stage of interleague play. Now, the Angels are playing in a de facto wild card division, holding the lead against a half-dozen suitors. The Rangers still appear out of reach in the AL West.

How to create new chases and keep the old ones June 29, 2012.
What would you say to a new baseball alignment that preserves the American and National Leagues, creates three new regional league pennants, all but eliminates wild cards and makes interleague play really matter? If you would be inclined to say, "That's a great idea!" then read on.

Dodger hitting woes part players, part lineup June 28, 2012.
The Dodgers are back in Dodger Stadium Thursday after a dreadful trip along the West Coast. They're not hitting left-handed pitchers, and they're not hitting right-handed pitchers. After being shut out three straight in San Francisco this week, the Dodgers and Giants now are tied for the National League West lead.

Interleague play, wild card playoffs must go June 27, 2012.
During these last several years of interleague play and wild card playoffs, Major League Baseball has profited as never before. But they still present problems. The commissioner's office has papered over some of them. But it would be better if interleague play and wild card playoffs went away completely.

Angels, Frieri, win battle of the bullpen closers June 14, 2012.
New Angels closer Ernesto Frieri and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen met twice this week in the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium. Frieri won the matching both times, and it made the difference as the Angels won two of three, taking the series in the city yard for the fourth year in a row.

Scioscia pays for thin bullpen on Scioscia Night June 13, 2012.
Between traffic and their own play, Mike Scioscia Bobblehead night Tuesday was shaping up as a fiasco for the Dodgers. But Scioscia's Angels entered the game with a depleted bullpen and paid for it when Angels outcast Juan Rivera belted a three-run homer in the eighth, sending Dodger Stadium into an eruption. Wednesday night, the Dodgers will aim for their first series win at home against the Angels since 2008.

Rookies take two paths to Angels win June 12, 2012.
Two Angels rookies were on display Monday night in the opener of their Freeway Series with the Dodgers. Mike Trout made all the plays that turned a 3-2 Angels win. But pitcher Garrett Richards, making his fifth major league start, equally won this game by handling failure.

A brief comparison of the Dodgers and Angels June 11, 2012.
The Angels and Dodgers finally meet Monday through Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. Both clubs are hot and in the hunt. They also have common opponents and circumstances, enough so that we can all-but-directly compare them a bit before they step on the same field.

Recent Dodgers drafts attempt to catch up after past June 8, 2012.
We like to think of the Dodgers as a traditional operation that builds its teams the old, homegrown way, but we can think that way only by forgetting the organization's terrible drafting performance during the 1990s. The Dodgers aren't doing an awesome job with the draft since then, but they've had a couple good ones.

Angels need better results in draft June 6, 2012.
The Angels have not been incredibly successful during the 21st century when it comes to scouting, drafting, signing and developing players. The media's player development experts place the Angels among the bottom half of all big league organizations when it comes to creating player value. The current scouting director, Ric Wilson, conducted his second draft for the club this week.

The Rangers are coming ... but so are the Angels June 1, 2012.
When last the Angels faced the Texas Rangers, they lost two of three while the Rangers scored 25 runs. The Angels left Arlington eight games down in the AL West. Now, the Rangers are in Anaheim this weekend. They Angels, 11-6 since they left Arlington, are presented a serious opportunity to put themselves into the divisional race.

With left approach, Dodgers can solve righties May 31, 2012.
Matt Kemp is injured again, and the Dodgers were starting to lose their grip against right-handed pitching even before Kemp returned from the disabled list the first time. However, the Dodgers have demonstrated an approach to right handers that works. The question is whether they will go back to it.

Angels batting surge a three-man show May 30, 2012.
Though the Angels have surged offensively to win eight straight games, the hit parade still isn't such a great show by American League standards. Indeed, the majority of the Angels offense continues to produce nearly nothing. But Albert Pujols has arrived, Kendrys Morales is back and Mark Trumbo keeps on coming.

Angels unlikely win sets scene for more May 29, 2012.
On a night when the Angels certainly needed their ace pitcher, Jered Weaver's back gave out after throwing 12 pitches to the New York Yankees. But there was something a little different about the Angels Monday night at the Big A. It's called hitting. The Angels finally did a bit of it, and they suddenly looked like a different team.

Kemp's return comes not a moment too soon May 29, 2012.
The Dodgers held up pretty well during Matt Kemp's stay on the disabled list, going 9-5. But they have flagged a bit lately, losing three of their last five, and right-handed starting pitchers now have shut them down twice in four days after a makeshift lineup of left-handed veteran hitters forged seven straight wins against right handers. Kemp is due back in the lineup Tuesday night.

Contenders or pretenders? We'll find out May 28, 2012.
The Angels seem to have stabilized, nudging themselves back into relevance with a nice trip through Oakland and Seattle. Now, can the Angels line up against a playoff contender and belong on the same field? The Yankees are in town this week.

Angels still in hunt -- for wild card spot May 24, 2012.
We suppose by now that the Angels probably won't put enough of it together this year to catch the Texas Rangers in the American League West. But can they finish with the 85-90 wins they need to make the easy new standard as a wild card team?

Minus Kemp, Dodgers not down vs. right handers May 21, 2012.
With Matt Kemp joining the Dodgers' disabled list, the club looked to be in trouble. But manager Don Mattingly has pieced together a productive lineup against right-handed pitching, and the Dodgers only figure to see three troublesome lefties in a 14-game stretch.

Angels firing of Hatcher signals extinction of Mikeyball May 18, 2012.
The Angels under Mike Scioscia have succeeded for years by eschewing the walk and swinging the bat. But now that defenses are increasingly shifted to where the ball is hit, the Angels ought to change their approach. In a move widely viewed as a power play against Scioscia, general manager Jerry Dipoto fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher this week.

Dodgers could be in big trouble against lefties May 16, 2012.
Before this week, the Dodgers were 6-1 at home against left handed starters. Then they put four right-handed hitters, including Matt Kemp, on the disabled list. Let's just say the new right-handed batting order isn't as good.

Hope short lived as Rangers batter Angels May 15, 2012.
The Angels went to Texas last weekend with a chance to at least tell the Rangers that they're still around after a slow start. But the Rangers don't necessarily want the Angels around, so they beat them back with 25 runs in three games.

Through Act One, Dodgers set up nicely May 10, 2012.
Right at about one-fifth into the 2012 season, the Dodgers are right where they want to be, leading the NL West. Whether they stay there will depend quite a lot on the next three weeks, which will be played almost entirely at Dodger Stadium.

Two games gone bad: One of those days May 9, 2012.
The Dodgers and Angels both had pitching mismatches in their favor Tuesday night, and both clubs lost. For the Angels, it was one of those days. For the Dodgers, it has to count as a bad day.

Angels, Dodgers not alone in bullpen woes May 8, 2012.
The Dodgers and Angels both are beset by ineffective relief pitching. But that does not make them unusual among the big league contenders in this year of the injured relief closer.

Dodgers change owners, but real change is on the field May 7, 2012.
The Dodgers passed into a transition during the last weekend of April as Frank McCourt made his last calls in the clubhouse and fans packed Dodger Stadium for three exciting games against another division leader, the Washington Nationals.

As Pujols struggles, Angels sink quickly in AL West April 27, 2012
We all said, before the 2012 season started, that no park could hold Albert Pujols. It turns out, so far, that they every park can hold him.

Way too easy to knock Dodgers 9-1 start April 17, 2012.
The Dodgers won nine of their first ten games, playing the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates. Is that a good sign? For the Dodgers, it's a very good sign.

Pujols, Fielder demonstrate AL superiority April 9, 2012
The American League is even stronger with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder crossing over from the National League. But that means, also, that Pujols and Fielder should be weaker for it.

Pujols debut marks just the start for Angels April 5, 2012
Despite frequent predictions of imminent glory, the real payout from the Angels' acquisition of Albert Pujols should come some time after 2012. For new owners to matter, old bats must produce April 5, 2012.
The path to contention for the Dodgers is very simple. All they need is for Andre Ethier, James Loney and Juan Uribe to produce as they have in the past.

As McCourt disappears, what of the Dodgers? February 13, 2012.
Frank McCourt, the villified owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, finally has agreed to sell the team. Now, Angelinos have their ball club back after avoiding Dodger Stadium in droves last season. This post first appeared on The Expo Line ( on Nov. 2, 2011, and is re-posted here because this is where it belongs.

Another Hall of Fame vote for Larkin, Bagwell, others February 13, 2012.
From this corner, the votes in the annual election for the National Baseball Hall of Fame go out to former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, who is likely to be selected, and former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell, among others. This post originally appeared on The Expo Line ( and is re-posted here because this is where it belongs.

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