May 5, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) follows through on his home run swing against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY SportsHere at Jays Journal we like to keep you up to date with breaking news, statistical analysis and opinion pieces on the players, staff and front office of the Toronto Blue Jays. But in the sports world the steps your opponents take on their team have an effect on your team, for better or for worse. That’s why we bring you a weekly feature where we look back on what took place among the other 4 AL East teams. It’s the AL Feast: Week 8!
New York Yankees
– Despite the team’s continued ability to win despite the injuries, all is not good in Yankeeville. According to ESPN New York, there was a small spat between future Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera and fellow reliever Joba Chamberlain on Saturday. Chamberlain apparently took offense when Rivera asked Chamberlain and his family to keep their voices down when Rivera was being intereviewed. I’m sorry Joba but when the Sandman tells you to shush, you shush.
– The Yankee injury train may finally be returning to the station, as the first of the injured stars are set to return according to PinStriped Bible. Outfielder Curtis Granderson, who has been out since getting plunked on the arm in the team’s first spring training game (by J.A. Happ no less), is expected to rejoin the team on Tuesday. So much for taking advantage of the Yankees while they were down and out huh?
– Young third baseman Manny Machado has been one of the better stories in baseball this season, so much so that some people are trying to point out out that Machado belongs in a more elite class of players. Cole Stevenson at Opposing Views makes a good point that Machado, 20, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other elite youngsters Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. A .323 batting average, 28 runs, 24 RBI, and a .876 OPS from a 20-year-old that never played an inning at Triple-A should be enough evidence to get that discussion started.
– With top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy on the shelf and the Orioles pitching staff struggling, it may be another rookie that makes the jump. MASN points out that righty Kevin Gausman (MLB.com 36th ranked prospect) is making his case at Double-A Bowie. Despite a 1-4 record, Gausman is posting a strong 3.35 ERA and a 8.9 K/9 ratio. What is even more impressive is that Gausman has walked just 4 batters in 40.1 innings this season.
Tampa Bay Rays
– The Tampa Bay Rays are pushing themselves back into the division picture after a solid week, and as usual, they are doing it with surprisingly solid performances from bargain-basement pitching. As MLB Trade Rumors points out, that may bode well for Roberto Hernandez, the man formerly known as Fausto Carmona. After signing a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Rays to boost his value, Hernandez has enjoyed some mixed results thus far, posting a 1-4 record with a 4.66 ERA. However, his 9.1 K/9 ratio and his 2.7 BB/9 ratio show that his peripherals are strong., and an xFIP of 3.25 shows that better things may be coming.
– And you can’t talk about the Rays without discussing their available trade bait, as this piece from Bleacher Report does. With a seemingly unending train of pitching prospects to pull from, this piece points to the availability of both David Price and Jeremy Hellickson, and how they could be used to facilitate the team’s need for high-upside hitting prospects.
Boston Red Sox
– At one point, the Boston Red Sox had the problem of having too many closers, with both Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey on the roster. With Bailey already on the DL with a biceps strain, the Red Sox announced on Saturday that Hanrahan will now miss the remainder of the season after electing to undergo surgery to repair his damage flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. That leaves Junichi Tazawa handling the closer duties until Bailey returns.
– Speaking of returns, the return to high production levels has at least one Boston area reporter questioning whether David Ortiz is on the juice. On Tuesday, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnssey published a column where he justified accusing Ortiz of steroid usage because the player is a) Dominican, B) Coming back from injuries consistent with steroid usage, and C) getting better with age. That lead to an outpouring of racial stereotyping claims against Shaughnessy, by Ortiz (via CBSSports) and Shaughnessy’s cohorts in the media.
Weekly AL East Standings (Overall Standings)
New York 4-2 (22-13)
Baltimore 4-2 (22-15)
Boston 2-5 (22-15)
Tampa Bay 5-2 (18-18)
Toronto 4-3 (14-24)