When the Red Sox and Indians finally took the field on Monday night in Cleveland, one of the teams at Progressive Field came in with the best record in Major League Baseball. If you told any baseball fan that would be the case back in March, it would come without much surprise.
That is, until of course, you told them that it was the Indians, not the Red Sox coming in to the contest with the best record in the bigs.
When the Indians swept the Red Sox in the second series of the season for both teams, it was pretty surprising, but it was also dismissed as an aberration. Now, with more than a quarter of the season complete, the Tribe looks like they're about ready to run away with a mediocre AL Central. Not even Ricky Vaughn and Willie "Mays" Hayes made it look this easy in Major League.
Cleveland isn't alone in being the only surprise in the AL. Just look to the AL East. While the Red Sox' recent stretch of impressive play hasn't been very surprising, the fact that it is Tampa Bay they are chasing, is somewhat unexpected. The Rays were thought by some to be a potential darkhorse, but there were plenty of naysayers, especially after the Rays lost Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Matt Garza this past offseason. Yet, Tampa Bay looks like they're ready to hang on, anchored by a good, young pitching staff.
Out West, the Texas Rangers are slugging things out in a rockfight for first place in that division. After losing Cliff Lee to the Phillies in the offseason, expectations were lowered for the defending American League champs. However, they've fought and clawed to get back in first place, a byproduct of the Angels' recent slide perhaps more than anything else.