Here is a review of Friday’s action in Major League Baseball as most sides have a week’s playing time under their belts.
Let’s have a look at who has started on top and who is struggling.
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a dominant start to the season winning all of their first seven matches. They continued this with a 9-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Tampa Bay's 7-0 start trails only the 2003 Kansas City Royals (nine straight wins) for the longest-opening win streak of the Wild Card era and each victory has come by at least four runs.
The Rays have outscored their opponents, 53-18, while putting together their longest winning streak since a nine-game winning tally in August 2021.
Granted, the Rays have only played the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and Oakland, however the club are displaying power that the side didn’t have last season, which contributed to their downfall in the wild card playoff loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
Starter Zach Eflin spoke to the official Rays’ website after the win and said: “I think they’re proving a lot of people wrong. We have a lot of dogs in our lineup who not only put on great at-bats, but absolutely smoke the ball.
“It’s huge for us pitchers when we don’t have our best stuff for the offense to keep us in the ball game and really battle.”
The Tampa Bay Rays are the only unbeaten side left in Major League Baseball and are +1500 to win the World Series.
Julio Rodriguez is starting to break records for the Seattle Mariners. In their much-needed 5-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians, Rodriguez hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning on a blustery afternoon at Progressive Field in Ohio.
This was Rodriguez’s second home of the season and his 30th in Mariners’ colours. In his 140th game going back to his debut on opening day last season, Rodriguez is the fastest in Mariners’ history to that many home runs.
Following a 2-5 homestand for Seattle, they needed this win to boost some confidence going forward. Seattle are only 1.5 games behind the leaders, Los Angeles Angels (4-3) with Houston Astros on 3-5 season so far. The Mariners are +450 to win the American League West Division.
The Baltimore Orioles have continued where they left off last season, this time with a nervy but exciting win over their American League East foes, New York Yankees who have struggled to get going so far this campaign.
Camden Yards’ saw its highest attendance for opening day since 2018 as 45,017 attended the game. The atmosphere was electric and from the start even before starter Dean Kremer’s first pitch.
The decibel levels got even higher in key situations, such as Rutschman’s game-tying RBI single in the sixth inning. Ramon Urias’ go-ahead RBI double in the seventh and reliever Bryan Baker’s escape act in the eighth.
The pro-Baltimore crowd rose to its feet in the ninth inning and then roared as closer Felix Bautista sent the home fans away happy.
Baltimore improved over 2022 and interest in the team grew after going through years of rebuilding and trying to improve the side over time.
It hasn’t been much for manager Brandon Hyde’s tenure, he only posted a .341 winning percentage over his first three years at the club and often the Yards were taken over by visiting supporters.
Hyde has felt the change and seen that supporters are on their way back and they feel hopeful after last season's 83-win campaign.
Speaking to the official O’s website, Hyde said: “You want your fan base to feel good about their team, and you want people to be excited and want to watch your club.
“I think it’s uplifting for the city also. We’re fun to watch, and people are following us and like our players.”
Two bits of injury news though for the Orioles which has dampened their spirits is that catcher James McCann is going to be out for another couple of weeks at least with a left oblique strain.
McCann opened the season on the injured list, but has been starting to maintain baseball activities for the past couple of days.
Also, pitcher Michael Givens opened the season on the 15-day injured list and is expected to throw for the first time in the next few days but his time schedule for a return to the roster hasn’t been announced.