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Around the AL East, Week 1: Where the Orioles are riding high

It doesn't get any better than the Orioles being 6-0 after a week of play. How'd the rest of the division fare in the opening week?

For most of this century, the Orioles have been a bad baseball team. A lot of years there was no point in even worrying about how other teams in the division were playing because the Orioles weren't playing good enough for it to matter. That's all changed now. It's worth paying attention to the competition because the O's are actually competition for them again.

I don't know how long of this season it'll be worth keeping tabs on the other teams. As you're well aware, a whole lot of pundits weren't feeling too sunny about the O's before the season began. But right this second the O's are 2.5 games up on the nearest team while playing only six games on the year. That's pretty cool.

Here's how the AL East looks after a week.

Baltimore Orioles

Record: 6-0
Last Week: 6-0 (3-0 vs. Twins, 2-0 vs. Rays, 1-0 at Red Sox)
Games Ahead: +2.5
Upcoming: 2 games at Red Sox, 4 games at Rangers

You don't need me to tell you how the Orioles ended up here. It's the best start in franchise history. Even great Orioles teams that made it to and won World Series titles never began a season 6-0. A six game winning streak in and of itself doesn't mean a whole lot. Last year's O's had a six game winning streak and they got nowhere. So did some bad O's teams of the past, like the 2011 and 2008 teams. But hey, it's better than nothing.

New York Yankees

Record: 3-2
Last Week: 3-2 (2-1 vs. Astros, 1-1 at Tigers)
Games Behind: 2.5
Upcoming: 3 games at Blue Jays, 3 games vs. Mariners

The season is one week old and the Yankees have had two games postponed, although they made one of them up the next day. The other, who knows? Maybe the most interesting thing to happen to the Yankees over the first week of the season was that the folks at Last Week Tonight gave away moat seats to people in weird costumes in order to troll the snobby rich people:

This was a great service done for America.

Yankee Fan Concerns: Over at Pinstripe Alley, Christopher Novak is worried about Jacoby Ellsbury's start to the season. Ellsbury is guaranteed about another $111 million through the 2020 season, to which I can only laugh like Ed the hyena in The Lion King.

Yankee Fan Celebrations: It turns out that Mark Teixeira is basically a giant weirdo, and also over at PSA, Andrew Mearns paid homage to some weird Teixeira faces for Tex's birthday, which was yesterday.

Boston Red Sox

Record: 3-3
Last Week: 3-3 (1-1 at Indians, 2-1 at Blue Jays, 0-1 vs. Orioles)
Games Behind: 3
Upcoming: 2 games vs. O's, 4 games vs. Jays

Where the Orioles starting rotation did OK to start things out, three of the five Red Sox starters got wrecked their first time out, including double digit ERAs for Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly - who, coincidentally enough, the O's will be facing the next two games. Their fans booed their new closer Craig Kimbrel yesterday in his first home game, and a man who is guaranteed about $77 million more is having this happen to him:

Red Sox Fan Excitement: On Over the Monster, Marc Normandin is getting hype for Yoan Moncada, for whom Boston paid about $63 million to sign ($31.5 million signing bonus, $31.5 million tax to MLB). According to, Moncada's the #6 prospect in the game and he could make an impact as soon as next season.

Red Sox Fan Tears: On OTM, Matt Collins has some worries about Kelly in the starting rotation. Well, if Kelly is not a good starting pitcher, I sure hope the Sox keep him in that rotation forever.

Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 3-4
Last Week: 3-4 (2-2 at Rays, 1-2 vs. Red Sox)
Games Behind: 3.5
Upcoming: 3 games at Yankees, 4 games at Red Sox

The Jays found themselves in the headlines over the opening week because they had a game abruptly turn into a loss when a replay overturned a call using the new slide rule - Jose Bautista grabbed a Rays fielder's leg in the middle of an unfolding would-be double play. Jays manager John Gibbons, who a long-gone Camden Chat FanPoster once wanted the O's to hire because he would punch people in the face, proclaimed, "Maybe we'll come out wearing dresses tomorrow."

Bautista and Josh Donaldson are kicking butts and taking names so far in the young season and not much of anybody else on this team is doing well. A particular struggle is under way for Troy Tulowitzki, who is batting a sub-Wietersian .120/.207/.240 through his team's first seven games. Yowza.

Blue Jays Fan Excitement: On Bluebird Banter, Matt W. found some positive takeaways for Aaron Sanchez in his first start of the year. Sanchez, 23, is a guy the Jays are counting on to step forward this year. May he not step as far forward as Kevin Gausman.

Blue Jays Fan Nervousness: My counterpart at BB, site manager Tom Dakers, notes on the poor opening performance of every hitter other than Donaldson and Bautista. Could we be lucky enough that the Jays offense isn't as good as everyone thinks? Probably not. It's only a week.

Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 2-4
Last Week: 2-4 (2-2 vs. Jays, 0-2 vs. Orioles)
Games Behind: 4
Upcoming: 3 games vs. Indians, 3 games vs. White Sox

Last seen looking like they wanted nothing to do with playing in the cold in Baltimore this past weekend. The Rays have scored the fewest runs of any team in the division, scoring only 18 through six games. That's three runs per games - and that's probably not gonna fly most nights, even with their pitching staff.

Ex-Orioles Dana Eveland, Steve Pearce, and Ryan Webb are all on their team, which is all pretty weird.

Rays Fan Angst: Over at DRaysBay, my counterpart Danny Russell is worried that the Rays won't be able to renegotiate their TV contracts after 2016, so any infusion of cash they may get will be later than was previously thought. The Rays had an Opening Day payroll of about $67 million - one of the lowest in baseball and $9 million lower than even last year.

Rays Fan Encouragement: Also at DRB, Bradley Neveu counsels his fellow Rays fans not to worry, because they're better than their record says they are. It's only been a week, so he's right nobody should panic. They do have to win some games eventually, but there's plenty of time to do it.


So there's your AL East for this week, but as Buck Showalter said, there are still 156 games left to play. Hopefully more than that, counting the playoffs. Hold on to your butts.

P.S. I'd like to make this as interesting of a feature as possible as the year goes along. If you've got any suggestions for things that you think could stand to be included, let me know in the comments. Thanks!