With legitimate superstars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw anchoring the team, it was only a matter of whether or not off-the-field issues would cause a disturbance. Now that there aren’t any, they’re free to do their thang, and as long as that includes Andre Ethier knocking in everyone in front of him and stellar performances from castaways like Chris Capuano and the longtime hookin’ lefty, Ted Lilly, then it really is their division to lose. Kemp is currently on the 15 day DL and they’re still mowing through the opposition.
To me, the Nats aren’t a suprise either. I think the consensus among learned baseball folk was that they were going to be good soon, it was just a matter of how soon. With Michael Morse sidelined due to injury and an anemic offense through the first several weeks of the season, it seemed like they had some time before they’d be that team to beat; but pitching wins championships and their pitching has been as impressive as the St. Louis Cardinals’ travel day attire.
The real surprise — the real head-shaker du jour — is the cartoon bird in Baltimore bringing a moribund and aloof baseball club back to serious life. Last year saw them get off to a good start, and I thought they might really be making a move back to the Oriole Way, but their youthful inexperience eventually backfired, ending in a bucket of Showalterian scowls.
But consider the performances of Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and even Kevin Gregg — yes, KEVIN GREGG — and you’ll see that it’s easier to win ballgames when your bullpen doesn’t come in and yack up the place. For those of you who follow the Birds, you know that a yackin’ bullpen has been as much a staple of the beltway as corrupt politicians screwing their constituents. Yeah, well, not everything can change.
Just as excited as I am about the Orioles’ resurgence, I’m equally as revved about the Toronto Blue Jays, yet another AL East team that just won’t back down. They’re hitting everything. They are pitching with authority. And their Canadian poster-boy is keen on taking on the silliness that is MLB umpiring, one batting helmet at a time.
Also, there’s this:
Ah… to be 8 years old and Canadian… no suprise there.
Hate me if you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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