Simon Impresses, but O’s Lose; AL East Thoughts into ’09

Although the Orioles lost 2-1 to the Mets last night, they got a nice little surprise from Alfredo Simon, who started the game last night for Baltimore. I guess it is safe to assume — at least from what I have seen — that Simon will make the rotation, presumably as the fifth starter.

Simon — who is actively looking to make the rotation out of Spring Training — was impressive as he only allowed one run in six innings of work. He gave up a home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning, but other than that, he was golden. I have no idea if Simon can keep up his success in Florida and translate it into the regular season, but then again, we’ve got another arm and one who has been solid.

Adam Jones continued his hot streak as he desposited a home run over into field field off Oliver Perez in the third inning.

Well, since the season starts next week, I might as well make some predictions — starting off with the American League East.

Here’s what I think the standings will be once the season ends in about a little more then six months…

  • Boston Red Sox 95-67
  • Tampa Bay Rays 93-69
  • New York Yankees 90-72
  • Toronto Blue Jays 83-79
  • Baltimore Orioles 70-92

Right now, I am going to give a brief — and I mean very brief synopsis of the 2009 American League East.

I think Boston barely wins the division because of their pitching and just their everyday lineup (I do think Ortiz and Lowell are huge question marks, as well as some of their pitchers — notably their free agent signings); however, I think Tampa Bay will get the Wild Card as they are the best all around team in the American League, perhaps in even all of baseball.

The 800-lb elephant in the division — the New York Yankees — despite their massive spending may suffer because of their age, injury concerns (Burnett, Matsui, A-Rod), and I’m not sure if Sabathia will be the same guy in the AL East than he was in the NL.

Toronto should have a solid team, but they lack offense — primarily, a big bopper, and some of their best arms are injured. As well, B.J. Ryan is on the mend, but they have an ace in Roy Holladay that should anchor a good, young staff.

Finally, Baltimore. They play in the wrong division, and obviously as I have said over and over, their stating pitching will suffer because of depth and inexperience. The Oriole bullpen should be strong, but the corps may appear in too many games and get burned out. The offense is actually fairly solid — they will need Mora and Huff to repeat what they did in ’08 — but I think 80% of the game hinges on pitching and again, they don’t have the arms to compete right now.

I’ll have more on my Oriole predictions this weekend, but right now, this is how I think the American League East will shape ouot.