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The Rays Tank: Beware Of The Orioles?

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We're a mere 17% of the way into the season, so it's not necessarily uncommon for the standings to be a bit haywire. And in case you need any proof of how early it still is, just take a peek at the AL East standings right now. The Yankees and Red Sox are in fourth and fifth place, and the Baltimore Orioles are not only in first place -- they have the best record in the entire majors. Umm, what?

We knew coming into the year that the AL East would be even more competitive this year, as the Blue Jays could be a real threat, but I didn't exactly anticipate the Orioles playing so well. They have a lot of youth on their team and certainly have upside if everyone puts it together at once...which seems to be exactly what's happening so far. Will it continue? Who knows, but I'm just excited that it's going on long enough that they managed to sweep the Red Sox this weekend (at Fenway too!).

It's still early, but the Red Sox are five games under .500, and I'm loving every minute. Now if only the Rays can put some distance between themselves and the Yankees this week...

  • Speaking of the Orioles, I contributed a piece to Baseball Nation this weekend on Matt Wieters. I'm a little bit rusty after not writing for a bit, and I screwed up one fact by forgetting about Joe Mauer's 2008-2009 season. I also think I came across a bit too strongly about his hot start, but that's probably mostly because I have a thing for Wieters. It doesn't help the Rays any, but I can't help but root for him to become great. \
  • If you missed it yesterday, be sure to watch Sean Rodriguez's insane play from the ninth inning. He made a great diving stop in the hole and then fired off a quick throw to first to nab Brandon Inge by about as slim of a margin as possible. Results have been mixed so far, but I think Roddy is looking plenty fine at short so far.
  • When it rains, it pours. So Desmond Jennings may miss some time, as he left Sunday's game early with "left knee soreness". There's no official word yet on how much time he's expected to be out (if any at all), but we should hear more today sometime.
  • Albert Pujols hit his first home run of the season last night, raising his season line to .196/.237/.295. Progress!
  • So Cole Hamels purposefully hit Bryce Harper last night to "welcome him to the big leagues", and then Harper came around and stole home on him. He's one cocky S.O.B., but I suppose he has the talent to get away with it.
  • We've linked to Stadium Journey articles a couple times around here, and they do a great job covering both major and minor league stadiums. They've released a magazine, and in it they talk about Tropicana Field and rate it among major league parks (spoiler: it comes in #20). It's certainly worth a peek.