First Week of Major League Baseball Underway


The Major League Baseball season is 162 games long, so we shouldn't jump to too many conclusions from the first week. However, there are new injuries, playing time developments and we get a good look at rookies, players on the comeback trail and teams who have had major roster shakeups.

The most dramatic events have taken place in The American League East among the perennial juggernauts in Boston and New York. The Yankees have had a rough start, dropping a couple of games in the standings, which in itself is not very significant. However, they are already down two bats from the top of the lineup. Slugger Greg Bird will be out for 6-8 weeks with an ankle injury. All around talent Aaron Hicks will be out for an undetermined time with an oblique injury. The most distressing thing here is that both injuries are recurrences of the injuries that ruined the 2017 season for each man, with a combination of missed time and compromised play. On top of that, the vaunted Yankee bullpen has shown early signs of vulnerability, with Dellin Betances looking human, which is concerning after he had some rough patches last season. New York's prized offseason acquisition, Giancarlo Stanton is no stranger to the DL himself. It's easy to see things unraveling for the Bronx Bombers from here.

The Tampa Bay Rays were always picked to dwell in the cellar of the division. After losing top SP prospect, Brent Honeywell for the year they decided to enter the season with only four starters, hoping to cobble together a crew of relievers to fill the fifth spot. Some would call this move "bold." Anybody who doesn't work for the Rays would call it "a cheapskate team demonstrating disdain for their fans." Very, very predictably, this approach has already blown up, with Nate Eovaldi down, probably for the season. With 3 starting pitchers and a dearth of offense, the Rays have set themselves up to be a laughing stock.

The darkhorse in the division is The Toronto Blue Jays, a fashionable pick to sneak into the final wild-card spot. They struck gold with Justin Smoak's breakout season in 2017, filling in for the power they lost to free agency. They upgraded their outfield considerably, added depth with players like Yangervis Solarte and entered the year with a solid if somewhat precarious rotation and another breakout in closer, Roberto Osuna. There has been a rather large red flag to start the year with Josh Donaldson, and MVP level talent, demonstrating signs of a sore shoulder. For now, he and the team are insisting this is a short-term problem. But a lost or unhealthy Donaldson would likely be a death blow to the Jay's aspirations.

The clear winner in all of this is Boston. Though Dustin Pedroia has started on the DL, this is no surprise and he is no longer one of their best players. Xander Bogaerts seems healthy after an injury hampered his play in the second half. Hanley Ramirez looks well and is playing for one last contract. Perhaps most importantly, David Price looked like his old self in his first start. If Price has put his physical and mental problems behind him, the Sox could have 2 of the top 10 starters in baseball to go with a potent offense and solid defense. They also have a small lead over the Yankees in the bag. If you want to hop on the Sox train, do it now before the lines shift.

The Boston Red Sox are 2-1 to win the AL East at William Hill.

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