I, and presumably you, have been getting a kick out of the Angels' chelonian start to the 2012 season. And the "more home runs than Albert Pujols" jokes will never stop being funny until he's back to hitting many many dingers only this time against the Mariners. But that can't happen until May, so fun times until then! But opposite the Angels stumbling have been the Rangers sprinting. Or I suppose you could say the Angels are also sprinting, but in the wrong direction. We always assume that everyone is going the same direction. That's so presumptuous! We don't all have the same goals, Mom.
Now obviously I don't, and you shouldn't, expect the Rangers to continue winning at a .789 clip or the Angels at a .316 clip. Both teams will likely regress. I do think that outside the realm of the highly improbable, that the AL West division chase has already been decided, just 19 games in. Which is incredible on its own, especially since the Angels and Rangers weren't thought to be very far apart talent-wise at the beginning.
The point of this isn't just to highlight the disparity between the Angels and Rangers though. Last night, apropos of nothing but I digitally wandered into Cool Standings' domain after yesterday's slate of games and noticed this
The Rangers' have both an amazing record and run differential (already +55). With the rest of the AL West being at .500 or worse, Cool Standings' "smart" algorithm (using run differential and I think seeded by preseason projections) currently pegs the end of season standings to look like this:
Team W L GB
35 games! That's an incredible rate. It won't hold up, but it's amazing to think about. I don't know and couldn't figure out a way to find out what the largest division lead ever held in baseball has been. I don't have that data on hand and all my searches were directed toward largest leads ever blown, which says something about our society, but 35 games would have to be up there, right? If not just shattering the current high. I wouldn't be happy with the Mariners winning only 73 games, nor with the Rangers getting so close to the 2001 Mariners mark*, but part of me does want to see a version of the above standings come true. They'd clinch the division in August! Incredible.
*unless they did that and then botched the playoffs again. ha!