5 betting surprises in the young 2009 baseball season

Almost two months in and the 2009 MLB season has already been filled with many twists and turns. Last year’s World Series contestants have looked anything but and some of the weaker rosters have been inspiring. A lot has transpired and here are some of the biggest surprises thus far.

Mariners Competing

No one would have predicted that Seattle would even put up a fight in the early season. Though recently falling under .500, they could be a serious threat in the AL West with a much weaker Angels team and the inconsistent Rangers. The homeruns are only trickling in, however the bats are on fire. Ichiro Suzuki is leading the team with a .318 average while Russell Branyan is the team’s RBI leader with 20 runs batted in. Seattle’s greatest strength is perhaps their pitching as Jarod Washburn, Erik Bedard and Felix Hernandez have all looked sharp. If the Mariners can hit the long ball, they might be able to stay afloat in the shaky AL West.

Blue Jays Soaring High

The biggest surprise of the young season has to be the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays. 27-16 overall, the team is a profitable 16-6 at home and equally impressive on the road at 11-10.
You can almost pencil Jays ace Roy Halladay for the win every time he steps to the mound. 8-1 with an ERA of 2.78, Halladay is currently one of the game’s hottest big money pitchers. Toronto also has stability at the three spot with Scott Richmond and his 4-2 record. With Hill, Lind, Rolen and Bautista all hitting over .300, it may be hard for the Yanks and Sox to keep up with this team.

Tigers Pitching Roaring

Predicted by experts to score more than 1,000 runs in their miserable season, the Tigers have looked mighty good in the early goings. The offense has been solid but surprisingly, Detroit is being carried by their pitching. Rodney and Zumaya have tightened up in the bullpen and Justin Verlander is showing serious flashes from the 2006 World Series run. Everyone keeps waiting for the kitty cats to collapse but the Tigers haven’t folded, looking down from the top of the AL Central in spite of Kansas City’s impressive start.

Big Papi Stinks

From the mouth of the man himself, “Big Papi Stinks,” said David Ortiz after another miserable “0-fer” in a recent defeat. David Ortiz is having one of his worst seasons ever, hitting a lowly .210 with 34 strikeouts. Ortiz didn’t hit his first homer until May 20, but the Red Sox have been carried by the hot bats of Ellsbury, Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis especially. The Sox have been able to display the mental toughness that has made them a post-season regular. Who knows when or if, Ortiz will get the pop back, but it doesn’t look like Boston is waiting for him.

Manny Being Manny?
Even after all the shenanigans with A-Rod and Clemens, you have to admit that it’s at least a little shocking to know Manny is the latest superstar to be linked to performance enhancing drugs. The most surprising part in all this is that the Dodgers have been able to maintain first place in the AL West. Juan Pierre is hitting like he’s from another planet and the bats of Hudson and Castro have started to follow suit. The Dodgers should have no trouble holding first until Manny returns from his 50-game suspension.

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