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MLB Notebook: The Orioles are bucking the odds

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

April 8th, 2021

The MLB season is in full swing. With fans beginning to return to ballparks and the grind of a 162-game season upon us, let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines to this point in the 2021 campaign.

Fernando Tatis Jr. out of commission

San Diego Padres phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. left Monday’s game due to a left shoulder injury. It looked pretty painful, and he’s been placed on the 10-day injured list, but the club is optimistic he’ll be able to return sooner rather than later.

The Padres obviously need Tatis’ bat in the lineup in order to contend in the power-packed NL West. He’s gotten off to a slow start in 2021, going just 3-for-18 to kick off the season, but this is a guy who hit 17 homers in 59 games last year. We discussed a key Tatis prop prior to the start of the campaign, and it will be interesting to see what sort of effect this injury has on his production once he’s back in the lineup.

At his best, there’s no doubt Tatis is one of the most exciting players in baseball. Here’s hoping he’s back soon.

Shohei Ohtani Does Everything, Leaves Early

Shohei Ohtani took the mound Sunday while also hitting second in the Angels lineup. In doing so, he became the first starting pitcher to bat second in a game since 1903, and he did more than just appear in the box score. He fanned seven Chicago White Sox hitters while belting a huge home run (one with a measured exit velocity that eclipsed 115 miles per hour). He left in the fifth inning, but indications are that he won’t miss a scheduled start.

Ohtani is in his fourth season with the Angels, and he’s yet to appear in more than 106 games as a hitter. When he’s in the lineup, he’s capable of special things, and he’s shown flashes of brilliance on the mound. The question is, can he stay healthy and showcase the entire breadth of his skill set over an entire season?

Rough Start for the NL East

The Philadelphia Phillies have won five of their first six games of the new season and are the (very) early leaders of the NL East. However, for the other four squads in that division, it’s been a forgettable start.

The Braves and Marlins are a combined 3-9, while the Mets and Nationals had their season-opening series postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Washington clubhouse. There’s a ton of baseball left to be played, but four-fifths of the division has struggled to get out of the gate in a respectable fashion.

The AL East division leaders are... the Baltimore Orioles?

Yes, we’re only six games into a 162-game odyssey. However, expectations for Baltimore this season were very, very low. Their seasonal wins over-under number was in the 60’s, and the Orioles finished last in the division in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

American League East 2021

Mon, October 4 2021, 5:00 PM

New York Yankees

-200

Toronto Blue Jays

+350

Tampa Bay Rays

+400

Boston Red Sox

+2500

Baltimore Orioles

+4000

The Orioles, though, swept Boston at Fenway Park to open the season and took one of three from the Yankees in the Bronx. Yes, it’s early, but they’re currently the only team in one of baseball’s flagship divisions with a winning record. If nothing else, it’s worth an eyebrow-raise at this point.

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