5 Teams That Should Already Be Hitting the Panic Button

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IApril 16, 2013

5 Teams That Should Already Be Hitting the Panic Button

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    It may be early in the 2013 MLB season, but there are a number of clubs that should already be reaching for the panic button and pouncing on it as quickly as possible.

    These are teams that were expected to compete for a postseason spot in 2013, but after slow starts, those chances of a playoff appearance have been put in jeopardy.

    Ultimately, it's too soon to panic to the point of blowing a team up, but for these five MLB teams, the level of panic is definitely on the rise in their respective cities.

    Here are your five clubs that should be hitting the panic button.

Toronto Blue Jays (6-7)

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    With Jose Reyes likely out until the All-Star break, it's definitely time for the Toronto Blue Jays to hit the panic button.

    The Blue Jays weren't even playing great baseball with a healthy Reyes, and now, without their leading offensive player and starting shortstop, Toronto is in trouble.

    Toronto starting pitchers collectively own the MLB's worst ERA, coming in at an inflated 6.11 mark to go with a 4-4 record and .309 batting average against.

    Jose Bautista has yet to really get it going offensively, and Reyes' injury is resulting in a complete shakeup of the Blue Jays' infield, which is never a good thing for a team with a slew of new pieces.

    Without Reyes, the Blue Jays' lineup will suffer without the speed at the top, especially given that they already sport a negative-19 run differential.

    In a tight division like the AL East promises to be, Toronto isn't in good shape.

Milwaukee Brewers (3-8)

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    Ryan Braun is off to another hot start, but the production significantly drops after him for the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Norichika Aoki and Jean Segura have been pleasant surprises for Milwaukee, but as a whole, the Brewers have scored just 36 runs in 11 games, which ranks 28th in all of baseball.

    To make matters worse, the Brewers' starting rotation has been an utter disappointment, owning a collective 5.04 ERA (25th in the league), compiling a 1-4 record and allowing batters to hit .305 against them.

    What's more startling is the fact that Milwaukee is playing this way against teams like the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks (the St. Louis Cardinals are obviously a quality club).

    With just a 1-5 record at home and a minus-26 run differential, it's becoming time to panic in Milwaukee.

Chicago White Sox (5-8)

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    Sitting in the basement of the AL Central, this isn't the start to the 2013 campaign the Chicago White Sox had in mind.

    Chicago's starters own a 5.03 ERA and have posted a 3-6 record in 13 games on the young season. Chris Sale and Gavin Floyd have struggled in their three starts this season, leaving Jake Peavy to shoulder much of the load on the pitching staff.

    Offensively, the White Sox rank 24th in runs (45) and second-to-last in OBP (.279) and have seen sluggers Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn combine for just four homers and 14 RBI. 

    Alex Rios has been a pleasant surprise for Chicago this year—hitting .360 with four homers and eight RBI—but with little protection in the lineup of late, Chicago doesn't stand a chance in a division with the Detroit Tigers.

    I think the White Sox have the talent to compete in the AL Central, but they need to get it together before the Tigers start to run away with this thing.

Tampa Bay Rays (4-8)

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    After dealing James Shields, the Tampa Bay Rays' pitching staff has certainly taken a hit.

    The Rays' starters have earned only three wins and have posted a collective 4.01 ERA—including David Price, who is 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts—but it's been the offense that has seen Tampa Bay fall to the bottom of what should be a very competitive AL East.

    The Rays rank 29th in runs (35), 29th in batting average (.205) and 27th in on-base percentage (.281). Ben Zobrist has been the leader in the lineup, driving in 10 runs, but has received little help—except from Evan Longoria, who's hitting .300 on the season.

    The schedule only gets more difficult for the Rays as the season progresses, and without a deep lineup and more than one dominant starter, it's panic time in Tampa.

Los Angeles Angels (4-9)

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    Without their ace Jered Weaver for at least a month (according to the Los Angeles Times), it could be time for the Los Angeles Angels to panic.

    The starting rotation as a whole ranks 27th in the MLB, owning a 5.72 ERA and receiving just two wins from starters. No Angels starter has an ERA under 4.00, which is a problem for a struggling offense right now.

    After the addition of free-agent slugger Josh Hamilton and budding of young star Mike Trout, Los Angeles was supposed to run away with the AL West, but instead has seen no everyday hitter with more than 30 at-bats sport a batting average better than .300.

    Hamilton's struggles have been a big storyline for the Angels this season, but unless everyone around him picks up their play, Los Angeles isn't going anywhere in the American League in 2013.

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