COMMENTARY | One month down, five to go. It's hard to believe that the season is already a month old. While some teams are enjoying the spring, others are already in panic mode, as we get closer to the dog days of summer.
Here's a progress report of the American League East:
Boston Red Sox - Not even the most optimistic Red Sox fan expected this start. The lineup is producing, the starting staff is dealing, and the bullpen is closing. Boston finished with 18 wins in April, tying the franchise record for the month. There isn't much that can be negatively said about a team that was primarily picked to finish fourth or fifth in the division.
Looking Up- Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have been exactly what the Red Sox need. They have a combined 10-4 record, and Buchholz has a staggering 1.01 ERA. Meanwhile, David Ortiz has come back from injury to hit .487 in his first 10 games, with three HRs and 15 RBIs.
Looking Down - Stephen Drew is off to a slow start after missing most of the spring with a concussion. While he may be on a long leash due to his contract, don't be surprised if Pedro Ciriaco starts getting some more playing time. And there's always the possibility of Jose Iglesias coming back up.
New York Yankees - What a wild season so far for a team that has $95 million in payroll on the disabled list. The Yankees are hanging on with solid pitching and timely hitting. While the injuries may catch up eventually; for the time being, New York is getting enough to win games and stay in the playoff hunt. It has been very impressive to watch.
Looking Up - Welcome back, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells. The two have had a renaissance in the Bronx this season, combining for 12 HRs and 30 RBIs, with both hitting over .298. The production may not last, but for the time being the two have been incredibly valuable.
Looking Down - With an ERA close to 5.00 (4.67), Phil Hughes is still not showing his potential. After pitching so well in the postseason for the last two years, it still hasn't translated to the regular season. Hughes continues to look for his first win this season.
Baltimore Orioles - Nothing spectacular for Baltimore, just a solid start. At 16-12, the Orioles are hanging right in the middle of the division and should be in the wild card battle all year. The lineup has been outstanding so far, scoring the third most runs in the American League (141 runs). And much like last year, the bullpen continues to bail out a marginal starting staff to keep the team above .500.
Looking Up - Chris Davis' performance may have earned him the distinction of MVP of April. The first baseman is sitting with 9 HRs, 28 RBIs, while hitting .337. He simply put the Orioles on his back with his bat in the first two weeks of the season. He, along with Adam Jones and Nate McLouth, could all be looking at All-Star picks.
Looking Down - Matt Wieters is slow out of the gate, hitting just .228, with four homeruns. The big catcher is well off his pace from last season and fans should start worrying if it doesn't turn around soon.
Tampa Bay Rays - It was a disappointing start to the season for a team that many had winning the division. The Rays are already seven games behind as May kicks off. While the Rays have been tough at home (8-4), their 4-11 road record is one of the worst in the league. Pitching has been inconsistent and the lineup is just not getting the job done.
Looking Up - Two young arms, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, have performed very well early on. Moore is 5-0 with a balmy 1.13 ERA, while Cobb is 3-2 with a 2.55. The two are the reason why Tampa is not currently in the basement.
Looking Down - What happened to David Price? The reigning Cy Young winner is just 1-2 with 5.21 ERA, and now getting into fights with umpires. If the Rays have any chance, Price will need to find his award-winning form.
Toronto Blue Jays - What a disaster the first month has been for the preseason favorite. The Blue Jays haven't hit, haven't pitched and ultimately haven't won. Toronto already finds themselves down 9.5 games in a very competitive division. While a first place finish is increasingly getting more difficult, the Jays better soon find a way to be competitive so the wild cards don't go slipping by as well.
Looking Up - Casey Janssen has been perfectly fine closing games when the Jays actually have an opportunity to do so. The reliever has 11 strikeouts in nine innings of work, with a cool WHIP of .33.
Looking Down - Pick someone. No starter has an ERA better than 3.86. No active batter has an average over .279. The team is first in the division in runs allowed (147) and dead last in runs scored (105). It's tough to win games with that kind of incompetence.
Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox.You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.
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