A few previously highly ranked teams’ ships are slowly sinking: just look at the Nationals, Mariners and Angels
At the start of every season, so-called “experts” make their predictions on which teams will be the strongest during the regular season and ultimately make the playoffs. Some years they come closer than others, but in a sport where anything can happen, their predictions are rarely correct.
This season has been one where quite a few teams, predicted to be powerhouses, have severely under-performed. The team getting the most flack for their performance (or lack of) in 2015 are the Washington Nationals. Part of the reason they are getting the most public criticism is likely because they were picked across the board, almost unanimously, to win the NL East and then move on all the way to the World Series. Experts from ESPN, CBS Sports, Grantland, Sports Illustrated and MLB.com (to name a few) all ranked the Nationals highly prior to the start of the 2015 season.
The Boston Red Sox were also highly ranked prior to the season and have put up an underwhelming performance to say the least. It’s these teams, typically, that get the attention when they succeed and fail – Washington, Boston, New York, even Detroit.
That said, there are teams on the West Coast who have also put up less than stellar performances; namely, the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels. Yet you don’t hear the same kind of criticism surrounding those teams. It’s there, but not as prominently featured. Maybe it should be.
So many things have gone wrong for the Mariners and Angels that the former team is already out of playoff contention and the latter is looking more and more likely by the day to end up on the periphery of the second American League wild card spot. These AL West teams were ranked as highly as the Nationals in some places, with the Mariners being the most likely to win the division and the Angels most likely to take the first AL Wild Card spot.
Yet, as with the Nationals, things have gone very wrong for the Angels and Mariners. Similar to the New York Mets in the NL East, the Houston Astros – a team without much preseason buzz in the AL West – are anxiously waiting to celebrate their unexpected division titles.
So what happened out west to send the Mariners spiraling downward early and the Angels to start choking down the stretch? Find out by reading my full post on Today’s Knuckleball via the link below: