If ever there was a series in need of a rainout (or two, or three, or four), it’s the one that seemingly is spanning two weeks at Fenway Park. The Red Sox and Orioles finally will wrap up their four-game set tonight, and not a moment too soon. There has been racism, there has been the ongoing fascination with throwing behind Manny Machado and there has been endless tension.
But not all the news this week has been ugly. A handful of promising developments that you might have missed from around the majors:
USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
The Astros' answer
Over the previous two seasons, Houston was 10-28 against Texas, which won the AL West in 2015 and 2016. However, it’s a new season and a different Astros team. They beat the Rangers in come-from-behind fashion in their first two meetings this week, with a grand slam the highlight of Tuesday night’s five-run, eighth-inning rally. And then there was the 10-1 shellacking on Wednesday that put Houston eight games ahead of Texas in the standings.
Sure, it’s the first week in May, but it certainly feels like a changing of the guard.
USA TODAY SportsThomas B. Shea
The Angels' ascent
The Halos have won eight of their past 11 games to move above .500; it’s the first time since 2011 that the team has had a winning record on this date. Mike Trout is doing MVP things again, and Albert Pujols, who needs six homers for 600 in his career, leads the team with 23 RBI. The rotation has been a pleasant surprise and the bullpen is being anchored by … Bud Norris (five saves in Huston Street’s absence).
USA TODAY SportsJoe Nicholson
Ryan Zimmerman's resurgence
The Nationals’ offense already has scored in double digits five times this season, including that 23-run explosion this past Sunday. And the man at the heart of it all is the same guy who nearly was out of a job because of injuries that limited him to 271 games over the previous three seasons.
Ryan Zimmerman now leads the majors in RBI (30), hits (41), batting average (.427) and OPS (1.337). His NL-leading 11 homers are just four fewer than his season total from 2016.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Mills
The NL Central congestion
On May 4 of last season, the Cubs already had a 6-game over the second-place Pirates and were 10 games clear of the last-place Brewers. A year later, all five teams are separated by just three games. At some point, the Cubs are going to slam their foot down on the gas pedal and pull away, but the parity at least provides some hope for now.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Curry
A Dodger debut
Nine games into his MLB career, Cody Bellinger is slashing .303/.361/.576 with a double, a triple, two homers and five RBI – at age 21. If he is battling nerves, it sure doesn’t show at the plate or in the field – he has played left field and first base and already has made a big impact in the rivalry with the Giants.
Catch him while you can, though, because Bellinger could be sent back to Triple-A on Friday when Joc Pederson (groin) is eligible to come off the DL.