Mike Bauman has been a national columnist for MLB.com since 2001 and has covered Major League Baseball for more than three decades.
|The Cardinals and Tigers have built deep staffs around their big-name stoppers in 2013, and it's led to plenty of success. Both clubs feature several arms pitching like aces -- not to mention a couple of the league's most consistently dominant pitchers for the past few seasons, too. Clearly their first-place standing is no fluke.
More» Wainwright fans six over seven innings|
|The days of players blaming reporters for misquoting them are long gone when big leaguers choose to sound off by typing their own opinions on social media platforms.
More»Epstein discusses decision to suspend Stewart|
|Over the last two winters in free agency, the St. Louis Cardinals have lost Albert Pujols, who at that time was considered the premier player in the game, and a frontline starting pitcher, Kyle Lohse. The Cardinals have been so devastated by these defections that they currently have the best record in the Major Leagues.
More» Rosenthal fans four over two shutout frames|
|You can now count Cardinals manager Mike Matheny as a solid proponent of expanded replay.
More» Votto stays on the bag to end the game|
|The Reds defeated the Cardinals for the third time this season. The common denominator in all three wins? Mat Latos started all three games for Cincinnati.
More» Latos fans five over seven strong innings|
|The Cardinals are playing their game, up to their expectations. If they maintain this level, it won't matter what anybody else, including impressive Cincinnati, does.
More» Matheny discusses Miller's performance|
|Many baseball people will tell you that it takes 60 games to find out what kind of team you have on your hands. Despite falling to the Brewers on Tuesday, failure seems fluky for the A's. In fact, anything short of success seems like a surprise.
More» Griffin records seven scoreless innings|
|The A's have won 15 of their last 17, which seems a little more than even the term "hot streak" can bear. But if you look at it from the standpoint of getting exceptional pitching, this can hardly be a shock.
More» Parker two-hits Sox for over 6 1/3 frames|
|The All-Star Game is an event that should be about which players are playing at the highest level right now, not about which players have the biggest reputations.
More» Segura notches six hits, scores two runs|
|Alcides Escobar winning a Gold Glove ought to be a question of when, not if. The Kansas City Royals' brilliant shortstop was at it again over the weekend. His team may be slumping, but Escobar's defense is still operating at peak efficiency.
More» Escobar nabs Kendrick on great play at short|
|The Royals have lost 16 of their past 20 games, but manager Ned Yost isn't panicking.
More» Yost on quiet offense, Getz's ejecton|
|For the first six weeks of this season, victory generally eluded the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Now, victory seems to be drawn, almost magnetically, to the Angels.
More» Conger cranks a solo homer in the sixth|
|The outlook for the 21-27 Angels is not nearly as grim as it once was this season. Every portion of the Angels' game has picked up during a six-game win streak and there is further reason for optimism with ace Jered Weaver on the mend.
More» Richards records first save of season|
|After a 17-10 start, the Royals' lack of hitting has dropped them below .500, but they are still third in the AL in team ERA. If the offense performs at just an adequate level, this will be a winning team by season's end.
More» Kottaras drives in Lough with single to right|
|The Dodgers left Atlanta Sunday night after three disappointing, debilitating and ultimately, depressing defeats. Their bullpen lost late leads in all three games. Much is expected of the Dodgers, but so far this season they have delivered only a 17-25 record.
More» Mattingly on Greinke's return from the DL|
|The Atlanta Braves have been known for their admirable pitching depth, not only at the Major League level, but throughout their organization. They're going to require a show of that depth, now, and for some time to come.
More» Kimbrel shuts the door on the Dodgers|
|The Braves have played 63.4 percent of their games on the road. And they have played considerable stretches of the early season without some of their most important personnel. It's not hard to see that even in first place, their overall direction should be upward.
More» Heyward makes a nice sliding catch|
|How good has Jean Segura been during the first six weeks of his first full Major League season? He has been Mike Trout-good. In this, Segura's first full season in the Majors, he has been something else. He has been Trout-like, and then some.
More» Segura ranges across middle for slick play|
|"Strikeout stuff" is a day at the office for Yu Darvish. In fact, Darvish is a pitcher for whom the term "no-hit stuff" can be not a reach, but a reality.
More» Darvish takes perfect game into the ninth|
|Joe Nathan, who is 9-for-9 in save opportunities this season, has been as good as anybody pitching in the ninth inning.
More» Nathan retires Gonzalez to earn the save|