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A glance at the today’s sports page, specifically the MLB standings, and you maybe struck by the fact that the AL East is essentially upside down from what most experts are predicting it will be, come the Fall. Granted, we are just about four weeks into the season, and have played a mere 12% of the the total number of games, but I still find it amusing that the team so many people were quick to bury in the cellar, namely your Boston Red Sox, are currently in first place. Perhaps my pre-season prediction that they would finish in three way tie for third place does’t seem so outlandish after all.

As I write this, the Sox sit on top followed by the Yankees, who are also a bit of an early season surprise themselves, then Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and everyone’s pre-season favorvite, Toronto sits 4 1/2 games back in last place. I get that it’s still very early, and that teams are really still sorting themselves out, but I do feel that a few of the scenarios I set down in my pre-season predictions for the Sox do to well, are actually taking shape. For one thing the Rays are not hitting, and have not been getting consist work from their starter, especially David Price. The Jays have yet to jell as a team and have been hit with some key injuries, most notably Jose Reyes, who was actually off to a good start before suffering an ankle injury. The Yanks have been saved by Brian Cashman picking a few veterans off the proverbial scrap heap, namely Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, and Kevin Youkilis, who have all gotten off to solid starts. Essentially, they really only need to keep it up for another three or four weeks, when some of their injured start to return. One note of concern for New York has to be that Youkilis recently missed some action because of lower back soreness. Now, where have we heard that before?

Big Papi's words may have been naughty, but they were appropriate. (Mike Dwyer/AP)
Big Papi’s words may have been naughty, but they were appropriate. (Mike Dwyer/AP)

As for the Sox themselves, they have predicably been energized by the return to form of pitchers Jon Lester and his 3-0, 1.73 ERA start, along with Clay Buchholz and his 4-0, 0.90 (that’s right, 0.90 ERA). The return of “Big Papi”, the feel good story of Danial Nava (.326), the decent- but not big contract worthy .290ish start for Jacoby Ellsbury, along with the solid 22 RBI start for Mike Napoli, have helped to propel Boston and given us reason to hope. That’s not to say that there are not reasons for real concern, though. After his 3-homeroom game against the Twins, Will Middlebrooks went like 3 for 30, and 3 weeks before hitting another homerun. The starting pitching beyond one and two as been inconsistent, (Dempster has yet to win)  and the the bullpen has suddenly loss the ability to hold a lead. Throw in Steve Drew’s .100 batting average, and you can understand why I’m not recommending we reserve the duck boats for October just yet.

At any rate, I’m going to enjoy the fact that the Sox are in first place for as long as I can. Although if it goes on for too long, it would make a third place finish considerably less satisfying. But, on the other hand, almost anything would be more satisfying then last year! Stay tuned…

Finally, I want to say that I love it that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, was so supportive of David Ortiz and his appropriate use of the F-word in his brief, but passionate remarks at Fenway, last Saturday. I had my doubts about bringing Ortiz back for another year, but I was wrong. He once again came through when it was needed in a way I can’t imagine anyone else could. Well done, David, and thank you Mr. Genachowski.

Ortiz’s Moving Words

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.