Point/Counterpoint: Who's the best team in the MLB so far?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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Boston Red Sox

Not only are the Boston Red Sox the leading team in the American League with a 54-37 record (before yesterday’s game), they’re the best team in all of Major League Baseball.

The Sox don’t have the best record, but they do have good team chemistry, great pitching, and a great new manager in John Farrell. Firing Bobby Valentine has proved to be invaluable, as Farrell seems to actually like — and has earned the respect of — his players.

David Ortiz is having a career year — he leads the team with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. Dustin Pedroia has returned to form after an injury-riddled 2012 — he currently leads the team with 112 hits and is raking at a .320 clip.

Farrell is a former Red Sox pitching coach, and his return has affected Boston pitchers immensely. Jon Lester has been a strong pitcher, earning an 8-5 record in games started so far. Clay Buchholz, though on the disabled list, owns a spotless 9-0 mark.

The rocky and disappointing past is now (hopefully) behind Boston. With Ferrell at the helm, strong pitchers on the mound, and Ortiz and Pedroia hitting at an All-Star rate, all signs points to another baseball title for Beantown.

— by Matt Cabel

St. Louis Cardinals

To me, the best team in baseball is the one most likely to win in October. That team is the St. Louis Cardinals.

What makes the Cardinals so great is their depth. St. Louis is not only chock full of talent, but that talent is ready to step in a make an immediate impact.

Injuries can dismantle any team, especially late in the season. However —the exception being catcher Yadier Molina — not one player would kill St. Louis’ championship aspirations if he suffered an injury.

Take, for instance, Jason Motte.

When it was announced that Motte needed Tommy John Surgery, it was reasonable to doubt the Cardinals. As most people who follow baseball would know, 40-plus save closers don’t grow on trees.

But what the Cardinals did, and do time after time, is expect the next man in to do his job — i.e., Edward Mujica. Before this year, he had 4 career saves. Since being named the Cardinals closer, Mujica has 23 saves — tied for sixth in the MLB — and has blown just one opportunity.

Mujica isn’t the sole reason the Cardinals are the best team in baseball, of course; he is just one of many. It would be a shame if I forgot that Molina is an MVP candidate or that Adam Wainwright is pitching as well as anyone in the majors.

But that’s what the Cardinals are about — the team. For now, this team is the best in baseball.

— by Jacob Sheyko

Texas Rangers

There are several great baseball teams out there. But in my mind, one team stands above the rest: the Texas Rangers.

After three solid seasons — Texas has played in the World Series in two of the last three — the Rangers began the 2013 campaign strong. They lost just eight games in the month of April and only 11 in May.

Any team that wants to win in the majors needs solid pitching, and the Rangers have just that. They have arguably the best pitcher, currently, in baseball in Yu Darvish, who is a favorite for the Cy Young award, in addition to Joe Nathan, who is a premier pitcher in his own right.

Not to mention Matt Harrison, Nick Tepesch, and Colby Lewis, who are all injured. Should all three be healthy, the Rangers hold one of the most lethal rotations in baseball.

They have proven that they can hang with other top teams, too. The Rangers swept both Boston and St. Louis, teams that are atop their respective divisions. They even won their most recent series with the Oakland A’s, who are ahead of the Rangers in the West — proof that Texas can hang with the league’s best.

The Rangers are currently 53-37, and are only a half-game back from first. Come September, I know Texas will be in first place. They are the best team in baseball.

— by Ryan Young

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