With one month of the 2010 season is in the books, what have we learned so far this year? Not too much actually. There have been teams who were expected to win that are winning while there has also been some surprises and bad starts in April. You can make certain observations from the first 23 games of the year, but they should be tempered to a point because the season is obviously still very new. I will attempt to sift through the early observations to pick ones that could be for real and others an aberration.

The Rays 17-6 start to lead the AL East—The Rays look scary good right now as they cruised to their best start in franchise history. I think this start is definitely for real. With that said, will they continue to play .740 ball? Of course not, but this team is for real thanks to their stellar pitching. The rotation of Matt Garza, David Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis have all been great, which is what you need to be successful in the big leagues. Not only has the pitching been sterling, but the Rays are also leading the league in runs scored with 144. They will have to keep it up to compete with the Yankees for the division lead all year, but I think they have enough pitching and young stars to do just that.

Padres and Nationals fast starts—The Padres are leading the NL West with a 15-8 record while the Nats are off to a 13-10 start. I believe both of these starts are an aberration. Remember when the Nationals first moved to Washington and had a ridiculous first half due to one-run wins before it came crashing down in the second half? Well, the Nats did the same thing this April as most of their wins have been close ball games. Washington is in the bottom half of the league in ERA, so the pitching will not be there for this team to stay above .500 even if/when Strasburg arrives. On the other hand, the Padres pitching has been stellar but their 2.91 ERA is just too low to expect it to continue all year and their offense is still a problem, hitting just .248 in April.

Horrible starts by the Braves, Red Sox, White Sox, Dodgers—Before any fans of these teams start calling it quits on a season, just calm down. Isn’t the saying that every team wins 60 games and loses 60 games, but it’s what you do with the other 40 games that makes you a good or bad team. There are still about 140 games to the season for these teams to rebound. The Braves have already started a turnaround thanks to a visit from the Astros. The Red Sox are too talented to be under .500 for most of the year, so I expect them to turn it on soon. The White Sox pitching will get hot soon enough, but the Dodgers are one team that could be in trouble. Their pitching hasn’t been there, the defense has been shoddy at times and injuries to Vicente Padilla and Manny Ramirez are reasons for this slow start. Plus, when your GM starts blasting the team and their start center fielder in the first month of the season, it’s never a good sign.  And they can’t seem to beat the Pirates at this point, which is really not a good sign. It might get worse in Dodgertown before it gets good.

In short, the month of April cannot be trusted. A look at the standings on May 1, 2009 shows the Blue Jays in first of the AL East at 16-9 before stumbling to a 75-87 finish. The Mariners and Marlins were also in first place and the NL wild card winner (Rockies) was buried in dead last in the NL West. We shall soon find out who’s for real and who’s not in 2010.

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