The first week of the season was a fun one for Orioles fans, starting with opening day’s 11-inning win against the Jays on Mark Trumbo’s homer. Their 4-1 start puts them in first place in the AL East, thanks to their strong bullpen and potent offense that featured exciting come-from-behind wins. The Tampa Bay Rays, 5-2, won their last three games to keep pace with the Birds - behind by winning percentage only.
After winning their first four games, the Orioles had a lead through seven innings Sunday and a chance to be the only MLB team to remain undefeated in the season’s first week. But the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead for the first time, giving up its first runs of the season and losing 7-3 to the Yankees.
Kevin Gausman struggled in both of his starts, but battled through jams and gave the team chances to win - which they did. And Dylan Bundy was sublime in his outing, but I can’t stop thinking about Hyun Soo Kim’s base hit against Dellin Betances in the seventh inning of Saturday’s win over New York.
Two outs ... 4-4 game ... 3-2 count ... Trumbo on second ... and Kim flicks his bat at a breaking ball like Rod Carew and hits hit squarely into right-center field to bring home the go ahead run. I love me some Kim. How can you not root for this guy? The bullpen shuts the Yankees down and the Birds win 5-4!
Last week: 4-1 (2-0 vs. Blue Jays; 2-1 vs. Yankees)
Week ahead: 2 games at Red Sox; 4 games at Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
Now the Red Sox are making each other sick. After years of baseball fans outside of New England trying their best to stomach the Red Sox nation’s annual expectation of grandeur, the team itself is now feeling a similar intestinal pain. Mitch Moreland, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez have all missed games due to the flu, and rookie Andrew Benintendi was tossing cookies in addition to warm up throws in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game.
Benintendi remained in the game, which is more than can be said for Jackie Bradley who sprained his knee after stumbling while rounding first base like Chevy Chase imitating Gerald Ford. He will be evaluated by doctors in Boston today.
David Price(y) threw lightly from the mound a couple of times this past week and has a bullpen session scheduled for Monday as he attempts to recover from elbow soreness.
Last week: 3-2 (2-0 vs. Pirates; 1-2 at Tigers)
Week ahead: 1 game at Tigers; 2 games vs. Orioles; 1 game vs. Pirates (rainout make-up); 3 games vs. Rays
New York Yankees
The Yankees’ battery life is running low as catcher Gary Sanchez hit the DL and the team’s starters struggled. Sanchez injured his right bicep Saturday on a foul-tip swing and was immediately placed on the 10-day DL. But a bigger concern for New York may be the starting rotation.
With the exception of C.C. Sabathia who allowed two earned runs over 11 innings in his two starts, New York’s starters had a disappointing start. Ace Masahiro Tanaka was hammered by the Rays on opening day, giving up seven earned runs in 2.2 innings. He followed that with a five-inning, three-run performance against the Orioles on Saturday resulting in an 11.74 ERA after week one.
Luis Severino and Michael Pineda didn’t fare much better as they struggled in their first attempts to rebound from their disappointing 2016 seasons by allowing eight earned runs and 14 hits in 8.2 innings. And Joe Girardi still needs to identify a fifth starter on April 16, with Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery among the considerations.
Keep an eye on swingman Adam Warren as a possible rotation candidate at some point this season. He’s off to a great start, logging six scoreless and hitless innings in three relief appearances while striking out seven and not allowing a walk.
Last week: 2-4 (1-2 at Rays; 1-2 at Orioles)
Week ahead: 3 games vs. Rays; 3 games vs. Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are off to a fast start, winning five of their first seven and riding a three-game winning streak heading into week two. Legit Cy Young candidate, Chris Archer, performed well in two starts, earning a victory on opening day and pitching to a 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 14.2 innings. Tampa Bay’s offense featured a league-leading seven steals, and the trio of Steven Souza, Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison combined to hit a sizzling .397.
Last week: 5-2 (2-1 vs. Yankees; 3-1 vs. Blue Jays)
Week ahead: 3 games at Yankees; 3 games at Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
After losing both games against the Orioles to start the season, the Blue Jays traveled to Tampa Bay to lose the last three games of a four-game set. Toronto had the lead in all three, highlighting the costly loss of closer Roberto Osuna who started the year on the DL with neck and back pain. According to the Toronto Sun, Osuna looks to be back by Tuesday.
Last week: 1-5 (0-2 at Orioles; 1-3 at Rays)
Week ahead: 2 games vs. Brewers; 4 games vs. Orioles