With teams set to play their 40th game of 2010 early this week, it marks a fourth of the MLB season in the books. We’ve already seen two no-hitters, including one perfect game, and plenty of surprises in teams through this first month and a half of baseball. Let’s take a look at the week that was.

Sweeps weekend
Not only is it sweeps time in the TV industry, but this weekend was sweeps weekend around the country in baseball. There were six series sweeps: Blue Jays over the Rangers, Marlins over Mets, Angels over A’s, Giants over Astros, Dodgers over Padres and Phillies over the Brewers. The Phillies are started to roll and run away with the NL East as they are 8-2 in their past 10 games for the best record in the National League at 23-13. Plus, the Phillies get ready to welcome Jimmy Rollins back to the lineup tonight. Even better for the Phils to keep their surge on is that the Pirates come into town for a nice two-game series. I would be stunned if the Pirates took either game of that series.

Also, speaking of teams that are on a roll currently, the Los Angeles Dodgers are starting to finally heat up. Their three-game sweep of the first-place Padres puts them at seven straight wins to move to 20-17 after a horrible start to the season. Though Dodgers fans (and my fantasy team) are holding their collective breath until more news comes down regarding Andre Ethier’s broken finger. Still no word on whether or not Ethier will make a trip to the DL as he will try to swing through any pain he has. This could be a huge loss for the Dodgers as Ethier is currently raking with a .392 average, 11 homers and 38 RBI, which all rank first in the NL. Yes, Ethier is leading all the Triple Crown categories, so him being out of the lineup for a significant period of time is big news.

Big Red Machine
I had to do a double take while looking at the standings today, specifically the NL Central that showed the Reds in first, a half game ahead of the Cardinals. Cincinnati has won eight of its last 10 games, but don’t buy too much into this streak because the Reds had three wins against the Buccos. Though they did take two out of three from the Cards this past weekend to take over first place.

One reason for the 21-16 record is the pitching staff which has seen pretty much the opening day rotation healthy 37 games into the season. A great find has been rookie pitcher Mike Leake, who skipped the minors altogether to join the Reds rotation this year and has been their most consistent starter (4-0, 3.09 ERA). They’re winning close games, but Francisco Cordero has nailed down 12 saves in 14 chances. Cincy has a good shot to keep this up at least till the end of the month as they have the Brewers, Braves, Indians, four games with the Pirates and three against Houston in the next two weeks.

Rays-Yankees showdown
I don’t buy into early season matchups that ESPN will totally over hype too much, but I am interested to see how the Rays play in a two-game series in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday. The Rays are flying high with a league-best 26-11 record, two games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. The pitching matchups don’t favor the Rays very much with Wade Davis scheduled to pitch against AJ Burnett on Wednesday. James Shields faces Andy Pettitte in the second game, but the Yanks are lucky to miss red-hot Matt Garza and David Price early this season. These two teams will not meet up after this series until after the All-Star break in July.

Nationals call-up rookie pitcher!
Don’t worry, it’s not Stephen Strasburg…at least yet anyway. The Nats purchased the contract of the 10th overall pick from 2009 in Drew Storen to pitch out of the bullpen. This is just another step of homegrown talent from their farm system to play for the Nationals this year. Strasburg is not far behind as he continues to blow away (1 hit, 0ER in 12 innings) the International League.

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