Apr
13

AL East roundup: 4/6/09 through 4/12/09

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In an effort to keep our readers up to date with our most direct rivals, RAB has gotten together with a number of AL East bloggers to produce a weekly AL East roundup. Every Monday you’ll get a capsule of each division rival’s past week. It’s a basic summary of the week’s happenings, followed by team record, injuries, and a look at the week to come. If you’ve got some free time, be sure to check out the blogs we’ve partnered with. They’re passionate fans of their respective teams and provide excellent coverage.


Boston Red SoxSurviving Grady

Tough going out of the gate for the Sox, dropping 2 of 3 to the Rays at Fenway to kick off the season, then hopping a flight to the left coast where they dropped another 2 of 3 to the Angels. Hey, it’s only the first week, but a couple things have us concerned: After Josh Beckett’s stellar performance in the season opener, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Timmy Wakefield struggled. Brad Penny didn’t fare much better in his Sox debut against Anaheim, but was saved by some timely offense. Speaking of hitting, the team’s first full season of Life After Manny may be tougher than we’d imagined; through the first six games, the team is averaging just 3.4 runs per game, and some of the big guns we’re counting on — Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, JD Drew and Mike Lowell — are a wretched 10-for-65 combined.

On the bright side, Youk is tearing it up at .526, and Rocco Baldelli has been a pleasant surprise thus far, legging out a key hit in Saturday’s game against Anaheim and flashing some pretty imrpessive leather in the field. This week it’s on to Oakland for three games, then back home for Baltimore. Things should be getting better fast. Or so I pray to the Gods of Baseball.

Week’s record: 2-4

Season record: 2-4

Injuries: None

This week: Mon – Wed @ Oakland; Fri – Sun BALTIMORE



Baltimore OriolesDempsey’s Army

Overall, a good opening week for the Orioles as they win a series with last year’s AL East champ (Rays) and one from this year’s favorite (Yankees). However, glaring weaknesses were on display as SP Alfredo Simon got knocked around by New York on Thursday, SP Adam Eaton got pounded by the Rays on Sunday and the performance of the bullpen was up and down all week. A shoddy rotation and a bullpen that is a work in progress indicate that Baltimore will have trouble competing on a regular basis with the rest of the AL East.

It’s not all bad for the pitching staff though. SP Jeremy Guthrie shook off his bad Spring Training and WBC performances and went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA this week. Koji Uehara earned a win in his U.S. debut giving up a lone run over 5.0 innings against New York.

Considering the level of pitching they were facing this week (Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Kazmir, Shields), the Oriole batters fared pretty well. Standouts included RF Nick Markakis (.364/.423/.591), 2B Brian Roberts (.375/.444/.458), 3B Melvin Mora (.313/.421/.500) and CF Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones (.409/.462/.682). It is especially good to see the 23 year old Jones get off to a good start as the Orioles are counting on him to take a big step forward this season.

Notes: I was at the game on Thursday and got to witness firsthand the inhospitable welcome for Maryland native Mark Teixeira. Teixeira was booed long and hard by the Oriole faithful for spurning his hometown team and signing with the hated Yankees. Sure, some of this logic is misguided but it was nice to see the (lately) apathetic fan base find something to get excited about. Besides, it was a lot of fun….LF Felix Pie was reported to be having problems adjusting to his new position in Spring Training; through the first week of games I see no evidence of that at all. The Oriole outfield should be a lot of fun to watch this season…RP Matt Albers was optioned to AAA Norfolk to make room for SP Adam Eaton…Speaking of Norfolk, top prospect C Matt Wieters started his AAA career by going 1 for 11 this week. On the other hand, SP Brad Bergesen (5.0 IP, 6 K, 1 BB, 1.80 ERA) and SP David Hernandez (4.2 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 1.93 ERA) had good starts this week for the Tides. Look for the 23 year old Bergesen to break into the Baltimore rotation by the end of May.

Week’s record: 4-2

Season record: 4-2

Injuries: None

This week: Mon – Wed @ Texas; Fri – Sun @ Boston


Tampa Bay RaysRays of Light

The story of the week for the Rays starts and ends with Evan Longoria, with a little bit more Evan Longoria sprinkled in during the middle chapters. Though it’s a little early to be talking about these things, Evan is on pace to shatter the April record for dingers as he hit 5 home runs in the Rays’ 6 games. He’s already silencing anyone who thinks that there’s a “sophomore slump” about to happen. Along with those 5 round trippers, Evan hit .481 with 10 RBI, 4 doubles, and 5 runs scored (that’s a 1.185 slugging percentage, for those of you keeping count).

All told, it was a rather pedestrian opening act for the rest of the Rays. After looking pretty good in taking 2-out-of-3 from Boston to start the week, the Rays then came out all sorts of flat against the Orioles on Friday and Saturday before beating the tar out of the orange-birds on Sunday. A 3-3 start to the season when going to Boston and Baltimore isn’t the worst of ways to start the season, but the team has to be disappointed that couldn’t head into the home opener with a 4-2 mark instead.

This was all done without the services of centerfielder B.J. Upton, who will be activated from the disabled list prior to Monday’s night’s home opener against the Yankees. To make room for Upton, the Rays sent outfielder Matt Joyce to Triple-A Durham. Joyce hit .100 (1-for-10) with a home run and an RBI in 3 games for the Rays this week. In all likelihood, he would be the first man recalled should another outfielder go down with some kind of injury.

Week’s record: 3-3

Season record: 3-3

Injuries: None

Next week: Mon – Wed NEW YORK; Thu – Sun CHICAGO


Toronto Blue JaysDrunk Jays Fans

Note: DJF is here for a one-week cameo. We’ll have a different Jays blogger next week.

The biggest news of the first week of the season for the Jays, other than nearly forfeiting on Opening Day because of debris being thrown onto the field by fans, was that they actually went out and won. After an off-season of lowered expectations, following on the heels of a season where Jays pitchers were arguably the best in the majors, but the hitters simply couldn’t score, the Jays’ lineup actually looked like the “best case scenario” that disappointingly didn’t materialize in 2008. And for the most part, the production was coming from outside the 3 and 4 spots in the lineup, held down by Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. Youngster Adam Lind led the way with an MLB-leading 12 RBIs, and Aaron Hill, back after missing most of last season with post-concussion syndrome, looks like his old self. Marco Scutaro (.385/.485/.731 with 2 HR and 5 RBI) has also been swinging a hot bat. The rotation held it’s own as well, with strong outings from rookie Ricky Romero, second-year man David Purcey, and naturally, a pair of gems from Roy Halladay.

The Jays’ main concern– apart from the fact that the torrid hitting certainly won’t last, and that the young pitchers are going to suffer through ups and downs– has been for $10M closer BJ Ryan. Nearly a full two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Ryan is still struggling to find his command, and his fastball is down a couple notches to the 88-89mph range– which is up from earlier in the spring, when he was throwing fastballs that would occasionally top out at 84. Ryan blew a save against Detroit, though the Jays came back to win that game, and entered in a non-save situation against Cleveland, only to load the bases with two outs (two of them by walk), and then watch Mark DeRosa hit a double that would have been a home run if not for a stiff wind off Lake Erie, turning a comfortable 5-1 lead, into a 5-4 game with a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth. Jason Frasor relieved Ryan to close out the game.

Week’s record: 5-2

Season record: 5-2

Injuries: RHP Casey Janssen – shoulder – 15 day DL, out indefinitely.

Next week: Mon – Thu @ Minnesota; Fri – Sun OAKLAND

Categories : Other Teams

50 Comments»

  1. Mike Axisa says:

    Evan Longoria ain’t got NUTTIN’ on Nick Swisher.

  2. “Standouts included… CF Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones.”

    Don’t worry, I’ve already made up my mind to call you Eric Davis II.

  3. Bruno says:

    Never thought I’d say this, but after the way he hit in SP I wish we could see Angel Berrora at 3B with Ransom at UTIL and Pena developing at AAA.

  4. “Notes: I was at the game on Thursday and got to witness firsthand the inhospitable welcome for Maryland native Mark Teixeira. Teixeira was booed long and hard by the Oriole faithful for spurning his hometown team and signing with the hated Yankees. Sure, some of this logic is misguided but it was nice to see the (lately) apathetic fan base find something to get excited about.”

    Being happy that the apathetic nihilism has been replaced with ignorant asshattery isn’t something to be proud of.

    That’s more of a lateral move than an upward sign of progress.

    • Heath says:

      Hey, you place Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray beneath Don Mattingly during your first press conference in pinstripes…you’re pretty much asking for it.

      And I forgot, Yankee fans are always well-behaved and reasonable…;-)

  5. Jamal G. says:

    I wonder how long of a leash Jacoby Ellsbury has in regards to bating leadoff. I mean, he was pinch-hit for in yesterday’s loss to the Halos when Brian Fuentes was on the mound. Who

  6. This is another awesome new feature, btw.

    These bloggers look to be fairly well reasoned, IMO, as well. Good choices.

  7. Mister Delaware says:

    Very off topic but Phillies announcer Harry Kalas died today. Baseball really, really needs a 2009 restart.

  8. A.D. says:

    Physics charts, and now a round table of sorts among AL east bloggers, RAB has gone next level, impressive

  9. A.D. says:

    He’s already silencing anyone who thinks that there’s a “sophomore slump” about to happen.

    Evan “Don’t call me Ben Grieve” Longoria

  10. UWS says:

    You guys are simply fabulous!

  11. Senor A. Boy says:

    Great idea for a weekly article. Thanks guys.

  12. I’m working on some utterly arbitrary Week One Power Rankings, and these capsules help a ton =D

  13. Tripp says:

    Haha, I wonder how hard it was for DJF to write a column without dropping a F-Bomb somewhere in the post.

    • I don’t want to hazard a guess!

    • dan says:

      Q: OK, on to other stuff: How much fun was it to do FireJoeMorgan? I have an idea how hard it is to maintain a blog, especially when it’s not what you actually do for a living: Did you ever get that feeling of “Oh man, I guess I better post again?” And being as busy as you are, do you find at all that you miss doing it now?

      Schur: I do miss it, and people still send us email links to silly articles. It just took too much time away from our jobs and families. The thing I’m proudest of was that it was never a money-making enterprise. We just did it to do it. The other thing I was most proud of was: the cursing. There was some really creative cursing on that site.

      http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlo.....ael-schur/

    • The couple of “dry” games that were forced down the throat of Jays fans might have to do with the nice language from DJF.

      But then again, it would have just made me curse more then ever.

  14. Elle says:

    Great feature! I always think I should look up news from other teams and then get lazy. Now it will come to me.

  15. Phil the manager says:

    Come post season (assuming the Yankees ever make it there with Girardi the the helm) will he still look to give everyone days off while we’re trying to put together a winning streak?

    Game 2 ALDS vs. Angels

    1. Gardy CF
    2. Jeter SS
    3. Swisher 1B
    4. Cano 2B
    5. Nady RF
    6. Molina C
    7. Duncan DH
    8. Melky LF
    9. Pena 3B

    Days Off:

    Tex-ray
    Alexia
    Matsui
    Posada

    Joe Girardi = Definition of bench coach. No personality. No wit. No charm. No motivational skills. All statistics. By the book.

  16. Mike Pop says:

    I’d rather have Jeff “Go Red Sox Nation” Louderback………

  17. Zack says:

    “Injuries: None”
    Just noticied Red Sox put Jed Lowrie on the DL for his wrist again

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