AL East Bias: Hamilton's Power Slows The O's
AL East Bias 5/11/12
We’ve witnessed an eventful two weeks since the inaugural edition of AL East Bias. Josh Hamilton slammed four bombs in a game against the O’s, Chris Davis recorded a win in a game that went 17 innings, and All Stars Mariano Rivera and Evan Longoria suffered serious injuries. Without further ado I present to you AL East Bias.
The Birds will play host to Tampa this week in a battle for AL East supremacy. If I had written that sentence in 2007 I would have been sent to live in a group home, but today the O’s and Rays are tied for first place with matching 20-12 records. The Orioles have been dealing with a mix and match pitching staff since last weekend’s marathon in Boston and Jason Hammel’s sore knee. Dana Eveland will be added to the Orioles’ roster today in order to start the series opener. Eveland is no stranger to MLB as he’s spent parts of seven seasons with a number of big league clubs. He went 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts for the Norfolk Tides to earn a chance in Baltimore.
The Orioles split a doubleheader with the Rangers yesterday to avoid a Texas sweep. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen continued his impressive start pitching 7 2/3 innings allowing just two runs on six hits and a walk. The Taiwanese import looks like a keeper. Chen-sanity has officially arrived in Charm City.
The Orioles are still looking for someone that can stand next to third base and occasionally field ground balls. Mark Reynolds once again hasn’t been up to the challenge. Wilson Betemit isn’t much better. The O’s have gotten so desperate that they re-signed Miguel Tejada to a minor league deal this week. Tejada will work out in Sarasota in an effort to prove his worth. The former All Star shortstop was last seen posting a .596 OPS for the 2011 Giants. It’s getting to the point that I think the Orioles should just put an overstuffed recliner or a kiddie pool full at JELL-O at third and call it a day.
The Rays are up to their old tricks again. Tampa is tied for first place despite injuries to third baseman Evan Longoria and left fielder Desmond Jennings. Longoria is expected to miss at least another month with a serious hamstring injury. Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriguez have picked up the slack at the hot corner in the All Star’s absence. Jennings burst onto the big league scene last August but has struggled thus far in 2012. He suffered a knee injury last weekend and has played sparingly this week. He is expected to return to the lineup soon with the help of a knee brace.
Toronto currently sits two games behind the O’s and Rays in third place in the division. The Blue Jays have been getting some terrific pitching performances from young hurlers Henderson Alvarez, Kyle Drabek, and Brandon Morrow. Edwin Encarnacion seems to have gotten ahold of Jose Bautista’s GNC card. The designated hitter has 10 home runs and 28 RBI in 32 games this season. Encarnacion also has a name that is utterly unpronounceable to MASN play by play man Gary Thorne. Arcenacion? Seriously Gary?
Bautista (aka Joey Bats) is off to a slow start by his own lofty standards. The slugger has just five homers and 15 RBI on the season. The struggles of Bautista and first baseman Adam Lind have prompted the Jays to ink former Orioles’ DH Vlad Guererro to a minor league contract.
The season ending knee injury to Mariano Rivera was a gruesome sight even to this admitted lifelong Yankee hater. Rivera has vowed to rehab and return next season. I’ve never rooted for a MFY but I will most certainly be rooting for Rivera to return in 2013. Here’s hoping that the sight of Rivera crumbled in pain on the Kansas City warning track isn’t our final image of an all-time great.
The Red Sox stink. It’s wonderful. Apparently the Sawx main problems weren’t Tito Francona, chicken and beer, or video games. The real problem was always that the starting pitching stinks. Clay Buchholz has suffered from a Brian Matusz/Philip Hughes type regression that has him pitching more like Clay Aiken. Speaking of Clay Aiken, have you seen that dude’s hair on Celebrity Apprentice? WTF man? If I were him I’d remove all the mirrors from my house.
If Buchholz’s struggles weren’t bad enough Josh Beckett has experienced a similar downward spiral. Following last night’s thumping by the Indians Beckett is now 2-4 with a 5.97 ERA on the season. He’s also been criticized for playing golf after missing a start last weekend against the Orioles. Rather than expressing remorse for his poor decision making and Christ-awful pitching Beckett responded to criticism by channeling his inner Kenny Powers. The veteran right-hander is in need of a publicist, a muzzle, or five-piece from KFC. This should be fun to watch.