The baseball season is so long, and the individual games themselves are so reliant upon the performances of the starting pitcher, that it's very rare we recall a team's start right out of the gate. It's the opposite of football, where it seems that, almost every year, someone is making a run at the 1972 Dolphins.
So when it's still this early, I enjoy seeing which teams are undefeated and which are winless, and how long they can keep it going. I certainly have fond memories of the 1982 Braves, and the 1987 Brewers, and on the flip side, the 1988 Orioles and 1997 Cubs.
Looking at this year's standings, we have six undefeated teams _ Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Francisco - and, not coincidentally, six winless teams - Baltimore, the Cubs, Washington, the Dodgers, Cincinnati and Houston.
Which team will last the longest in each category?
In the winners category, I'll say St. Louis. The Cardinals close out a three-game set at Cincinnati tonight, and then they head to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers, whose pitching is shaky. The Braves and Giants play each other and figure to cancel each other out, I think the Phillies will drop at least one to Houston and the Pirates could easily lose today's series finale to the Dodgers. And the Rays play the Yankees this weekend.
In the losers' bracket, I'll go with Washington, who finish with the Phillies today and then come to New York to take on the Mets. We all know the Mets aren't exactly a dynamo, but they're better than the Nats, for certain. The Mets can feel good about themselves for a few days before heading on that killer road trip to Colorado and St. Louis.
Once we get to a point to where every team has both won one game and lost one game, then the season feels a little more real to me. In the meantime, it's fun to see which teams can delay the inevitable.
--Off a third straight, tense Yankees-Red Sox game last night, I wrote about Curtis Granderson, who delivered the game-winning home run off Jonathan Papelbon. Is Granderson a "true Yankee" now? I'd bet most of you would say no, that he has to come through in the postseason.
It was a typically exciting three-game set, in which none of the six starting pitchers recorded a decision. Such was the late-breaking nature of the contests. And now, with the Yankees heading to Tampa Bay, we should see another exciting weekend of AL East ball.
(Not me, though. I'm already back home and plan to see the Mets and Jose Reyes on Saturday.)
--Excellent piece by Kimberley Martin on Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, who have spent more time together as teammates than any other modern-day trio in any sport. How much longer will it last? At least one more year, since Posada is signed through 2011 and Jeter and Rivera both figure to re-up after this season. Posada's future beyond '11, at which point he'll be 40, is in significant question.
--Erik Boland wrote about Robinson Cano, who is off to an encouraging start. For my early column, which had to be in at 10:30 last night, I documented how John Lackey, in his Red Sox debut, silenced the hot Yankees bats.
--Michael S. Schmidt reported that the Feds want to speak with Alex Rodriguez's assistants about A-Rod's involvement with Anthony Galea. This is starting to take on a "Catch Me If You Can" vibe, as A-Rod has postponed his meetings with government investigators. I'll put my money on A-Rod never getting in any sort of actual trouble.
--Tough one for the Mets, but as the players said, they were sort of luckky to even be close on this one. John Maine did not look good, and at this point, is there much reason to think that Maine can be what he was in 2007?