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MLB - US Sports: Top five surprise packages of 2022

15 June 2022 09:44:24 EST
Edwin Diaz has shone for the Mets

So who are the surprise teams in Major League Baseball? Those you thought would be in a winning position by the middle of June?

Or the sides that haven't quite been up to scratch when they were expected to be?

Here we look at five examples of sides who could do better or have exceeded expectations at this stage.

New York Mets

Nobody expected the Steve Cohen-owned Mets to be this good by June. This is supposed to be a long-term idea by Cohen and the front office staff, including General Manager Billy Epplier.

The Mets are 41-22 this season and have been excellent. Pete Alonso scored his 58th RBI on Tuesday night's win over the Milwaukee Brewers, while Edwin Diaz has been superb with 12 saves.

Diaz wasn't required in the win over the Brew Crew, but a fine eight innings from Chris Bassitt, followed up by Drew Smyly, shut out the Brewers.

When buying the club in November 2020, Cohen said that "if the Mets don't win a World Series in three-to-five years, he will be disappointed".

It's a bold statement, but they parted ways with rookie manager Luis Rojas after two losing seasons in charge of the clubhouse and went straight for experience in appointing former Yankee and Oriole skipper Buck Showalter. At the moment, that vital knowledge is paying off and they are 5.00 to win the World Series

Milwaukee Brewers

If we are after surprises, then the Brewers haven't lived up to their reputation so far this season. The Brew Crew have been involved in the playoffs in the last four seasons, winning the National League Central Division twice under Craig Counsell.

Last season they lost to the Atlanta Braves in the Division series, as the Braves went on to win the World Series.

So what's been going wrong? They were shut out for the fourth time in 10 games losing to the Mets on Tuesday night and this appears to be where issues lie.

None of the big guns have been hitting. Their overall OPS is .698 which is 19th in Major League Baseball, while they have lost nine out of their last 10 games.

The Crew held a 2.5 game lead over St. Louis Cardinals, that lead has evaporated and it's now a two game deficit. The Bats need to come to the party, with them 34.00 to win the World Series.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

The talent that the Dodgers have on their roster is scary. They should be dominating, as they have done, the National League West Division.

Losing out to the San Francisco Giants was a warning to Dave Roberts' men not to be too complacent in trying to reach the end goal. Meanwhile, the resurgence of the San Diego Padres, despite not qualifying for the playoffs last season, hasalso been ankle-biting the gold-ladened Dodgers roster.

Roberts had to face a barrage of questions from reporters following his side's dismal sweep by rivals Giants. They beat crosstown rivals, the LA Angels on Tuesday evening, but their lead at the top of the NL West is .004 over the Padres.

Can the Dodgers handle the pressure? They remain favourites for the World Series at 4.10.

Minnesota Twins

Minnesota don't have the biggest budget to match some of their rivals. The Twins, 41.00 for the World Series, don't have the largest payroll in their Division, that goes to the Chicago White Sox, who always disappoint in not getting to where they should do.

They haven't won a World Series since 1991, but they have flirted with the playoffs in the past few seasons and manager Rocco Baldelli has something with his side that can cause a flutter or two for the big guns.

Minnesota currently leads the American League Central by 2.5 games over the Cleveland Guardians. If the White Sox can ever get their injured players back, then the Twins will face a test to claim the top spot, but as ever they keep on punching above their weight.

Boston Red Sox

The American League East is probably the most competitive division in Major League Baseball.

Four of the five teams can legitimately claim to battle for the Division every season, none more so than the Red Sox, who won the World Series in 2018, as they have Alex Cora back and reached the playoffs last season.

Boston, 101.00 for the World Series, had an appalling start and were within a game of bottom spot. Since then they have rallied, going 8-2 in their last 10.

it may be too late, though, to mount a playoff charge when rivals Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are in their way.

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