In baseball it’s very early to judge a team.
With a 162 game schedule to work with MLB teams have plenty of time to slide and rebound.
Thus it’s a step for there to be cause for concern in the AL East, arguably the toughest division.
The standings heading into this week show the mediocre Toronto Blue Jays leading the way with the Baltimore Orioles in hot pursuit, the New York Yankees languishing in third, the Tampa Bay Rays slipping into fourth and the Boston Red Sox in last.
The season has barely passed 10 games and there’s much discussion that the three favourites in Tampa Bay, Boston and New York are playing catch-up while the under-achieving teams are better than advertised.
To be fair all three of those squads have glaring issues at present. Boston lost ace Diasuke Matsuzaka to the disabled list (arguably from pitching in the World Baseball Classic) for a few starts, Josh Beckett is suspended and the offense has sputtered.
Tampa Bay has seen its bullpen struggle with inflated ERAs for key players Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler and Grant Belfour while allowing 36 base-runners in 24 innings.
New York has not had good starting pitching aside from A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettite and the offense hasn’t been hitting consistently.
On the other hand those clubs have the talent and experience to come back strong as they go deeper into the season.
Boston simply needs all their players on the field at 100 percent and the starting rotation to be dominant and the offense to look fearsome with David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz.
Tampa Bay has to get its bullpen straightened out to match the solid production from its offense.
Even the Yankees, who have the added pressure of not winning a World Series in eight years, should be fine once Wang and company get back on track in the starting rotation, Teixeira gets his swing going and the bullpen can reliably shut the door on the opposition.
The thing about the early rise of Baltimore and Toronto is their players have been on the ball since the beginning. In Toronto Roy Halladay has done well while youngsters Aaron Hill and Adam Lind have hit for power.
Brian Roberts and Jeremy Guthrie have started on the right foot for Baltimore.