Saying “it’s only April” is out, because it’s been May for a few days now. We’re about 15 percent of the way through baseball’s regular season, give or take depending on how many games each team has played, and while that’s not a big sample size, the teams that are in first place now have those wins in the bank.
It’s not impossible for, say, the Red Sox to come back from eight games behind the Yankees and fourth place in the AL East at this early date. At the same time, history is littered with teams that started 10-14, dug themselves an eight-game hole, and then played 18 holes on the first weekend of October.
For any team that’s not off to the first-place start that it left spring training dreaming of, part of the equation now is the competition that they’re going to have to run down. So, how hard are those teams going to be to catch? Let’s take a look.
(Statistics through May 3)