All five teams top .500 in wicked, wicked West

With preseason favorite Superior engaged in a mystifying offensive slump, four other clubs in the Westbound Division are taking early-season advantage and have rolled out to winning starts, resulting in a five-team division in which all five clubs are above the .500 mark.

(Kathy/Flickr)

(Kathy/Flickr)

Superior manager Mike Renbarger’s No. 1 son (chronologically anyway) is also No. 1 in the division, as John Renbarger’s Boulder Tree Huggers have bashed their way to a league-best 37-23 mark, riding a league-best 122 home runs that includes a league-high 24 from Mike Trout, 19 from Mark Teixeira and 18 from Matt Carpenter.

Just two games back of Boulder are the surprisingly consistent Applegate Paperclips, who went 11-9 in May on the heels of 12-8 marks in March and April. The Clips are somehow leading the league in team batting at .278 and are third in team ERA at 3.52.

Superior and Destin are tied for third, three games back at 34-26. Superior struggled in May with an 8-12 mark that included a 1-4 showing against Northbound frontrunner Springfield and a 2-3 slate at home against Southbound leader South Grand Prairie. The Titans’ 3.21 team ERA, second-best in the league, is compensating for a league-worst .219 team batting average.  Four regulars in the Superior lineup are limping along below the Mendoza line, and Miguel Cabrera has just four home runs to show for 193 at-bats. NL MVP Bryce Harper is hitting .222.

Destin is staying even with a balanced hitting/pitching attack, ninth in average at .255 and fifth in ERA at 3.56. Gerrit Cole has four complete games and a 2.90 ERA, sixth in the league.

Even basement-dweller Satellite Beach has its head above the break-even mark at 31-29, sitting third in the league in team batting at .274 and fourth in the league in team ERA at 3.55, having given up the fewest homers in the league at 54.

Boulder and Applegate have opportunities to separate themselves from the pack in June with favorable schedules based on opponents’ current records; Boulder’s June foes are a collective 30 games under .500, while Applegate’s are a whopping 54 games under .500.

Could four postseason teams come from one division this year? It’s never happened to this point, but if the season ended today, it would be division leaders Springfield, South Grand Prairie and Boulder, plus three teams from the West.

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