As I’m writing this, the Dodgers and Orioles are both in first place, with neither team expected to make a major splash in the off-season (though our very own Thomas Wayne did predict a major improvement for the O’s this season.
The Orioles currently sit at 29-19 (though they’re losing to the Blue Jays as I write). The bats have been there, with 5 regulars posting OPS+’s above 110, most notably the recently extended Adam Jones, who is currently fourth in the American League with 14 home runs and 3rd with a .595 slugging percentage. Much bigger of a surprise has been the absolute dominance of their bullpen, which has posted a 2.40 ERA through 164 innings of work.
The Dodgers have been roughly a .500 team the last couple of years after making back-to-back ALCS’s in 2008 and 2009. They were led until recently by the 2011 MVP-runner-up Matt Kemp, but he hasn’t appeared in a game since May 13 due to injury. With 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw displaying his usual dominance and 33-year old Chris Capuano enjoying a resurrection on the West Coast, the Dodgers have posted the second best ERA in the National League, which has contributed to their MLB-best 32-15 record (currently tied 1-1 against the Milwaukee Brewers).
So, my question to the group – which start has surprised you more?