x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

National League still chasing the American

A great influx of impressive youngsters in the National League has led some to suggest the gap between the NL and the American League is narrowing.

A great influx of impressive youngsters in the National League has led some to suggest the gap between the NL and the American League is narrowing. NL teams boast, after all, promising rookies such as Pedro Alvarez, Buster Posey, Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg, as well as other young All-Stars like Tim Lincecum and Matt Kemp. But on the scoreboard and on the field, it is the same old story.

The American League continue to dominate in interleague play and the best three teams in baseball not only are in the AL - Tampa Bay, Boston and the New York Yankees - but in the same division. With interleague play winding down, the AL held a decided advantage in head-to-head play, going 92-72 in the first 164 games played, a winning percentage of 56 per cent. That figure is less one-sided than in recent seasons, but it's still clear-cut.

Next month, the NL will attempt to end a 13-season winless streak in the All-Star Game, having lost the last seven contests since the draw in 2002. The AL have also won four of the past six World Series. By any measure, the AL are the better league, featuring better players and better teams. In time, the arrival of Strasburg, Heyward, et al, may help shift the balance of power back to the NL, which dominated much of the 1960s and 1970s. But as the first few weeks of interleague play has shown, that shift hasn't happened yet.

sports@thenational.ae