Four teams opened their 2013 season today: the Baltimore Orioles played the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians battled the Toronto Blue Jays. A lot of experts have either the Rays or Blue Jays to win the AL East and possibly winning the World Series. How did they fare on Tuesday? Not well.
- Orioles vs. Rays
At first, American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, whom the Rays may not be able to afford, was shaky and gave up a two-run home run to Matt Wieters, giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the first inning. He was superb through six innings and the Rays managed to go into the 7th inning with a 3-2 lead. But the bullpen failed miserably. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts got on base and Adam Jones hits a double, bringing both home. Wieters is intentionally walked and Chris Davis homers, bringing home Jones and Wieters. The Orioles had 13 hits and win 7-4. It is very possible they may bloom sooner than later and should NOT be underestimated this season. But it does look like Ben Zobrist will be the same power hitter he was last year and if Evan Longoria performs well like he did today the Rays will be on top. But they have to get their bullpen in shape and Price cannot be shaky.
2. Indians vs. Blue Jays
Oh boy. Toronto was so happy to get National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets. He throws the knuckleball, which is an extremely hard pitch to catch. Tim Wakefield had a personal catcher when he was in Boston. The first few innings were painful to watch. J.P. Arencibia cannot catch the knuckleball. Josh Thole can catch them, but the Blue Jays optioned him to the minors because he cannot hit. Well, if the catcher cannot catch the pitches players will walk and advance on base. The team will score. If they have excellent batters, which they do, it would not be bad to have Thole catch every five days. If they can’t and Arencibia cannot get a handle on the knuckleball the Blue Jays wasted a ton of money on Dickey. But this should not take away from a great showing by the Indians. They saw the weakness and took advantage of them. The pitching was solid by Justin Masterson and the bullpen. The Indians won 4-1.
Again, you cannot judge a team by their first game, but you can get a feeling for them. While the AL East does not have dominant teams they did prove they are all on the same level. It will still be between Toronto and Tampa Bay, but Baltimore, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees will give them trouble.
This is what makes 2013 so great. There are great teams, but it is not cut and dry. Everything is up in the air and anyone can win.
Maybe the Cubs will win the World Series…