Thursday, July 10, 2008
NO LOVE FOR BALTIMORE
The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays are the talk of baseball. And while their turn-around has been remarkable, another team has been overlooked and practically ignored.
The Orioles will probably finish 4th in the AL East, which has been their home for 9 of the last 10 seasons. But they might do something they haven't done since 1997: finish above .500. They're 44-45 coming into this weekend's series at Fenway.
Baltimore wasn't supposed to be this good. They were supposed to finish 5th in the division, and contend for the worst record in baseball. And although their pitching has been true to that prediction (12th best ERA in the AL), their offense has some teeth. They're 6th in runs scored, and 4th in homeruns. Former Ray Aubrey Huff has 18 homers. Nick Markakis has a .397 OBP and 14 dingers. Former Astro Luke Scott also has 14. Kevin Millar has decided to go back to being a baseball player, and has 12 HRs.
The Red Sox are only 5-4 against Baltimore this season. They were 12-6 against the O's in '07, and 15-3 against them in '06. But they're not that easy to beat anymore.
The Orioles won't be directly involved in the AL East race. But they will be a factor. Tampa Bay is 8-3 against Baltimore. The Sox are 2 games behind that record, and also 2 games behind the Rays for first place.