It is kind of amazing to me how big of a deal people seem to be making over early season struggles or success of various teams that seem to be defying the various pre-season predictions. Despite the fact that everyone should have a fairly good idea that baseball has a very long season, I have heard in person, and even seen articles online, that are either pushing the panic button (Red Sox and Brewers) or already proclaiming that the division is theirs (Baltimore Orioles).
So the question is, will this early season trends stand up?
Red Sox (0-3): Yes, the Red Sox gave up 11 Home Runs in their opening season series. Red Sox pitching has struggled in the first three games of the season, but is it a trend? Probably not. Jon Lester has a bad April almost every year, Buccholz start was really not that bad, in that he gave up only 5 hits and yes, 4 were homers, but 2 of them were fairly clearly wind blown. The more positive and important trend of that series that may be (at least more) indicative of thigns to come, is David Ortiz's two home runs. He has started horribly the last two years, and his fast start this year is a good sign -- though it certainly does not mean he will not have a prolonged slump at a different time this year. The short answer is, the opening season series for the Red Sox has been overblown as a sign that the team is overrated, and they should certainly compete.
Brewers (0-3): The Brewers issues are not as clearly temporary as the Red Sox, but it still seems likely. The Brewers are missing Corey Hart and Zack Greinke, both of wihch are fairly large losses. Assuming they don't dig too big of a hole for themselves the return of those two will certainly help. It is also pretty much a guarantee that Prince Fielder will get it going. While I dont' see the Brewers winning their division, I can certainly see them contending for it.
Orioles (4-0): The Orioles young pitching so far this season has panned out and the Orioles offense has been as good as advertised. Can the Orioles young pitching continue to produce? I think it would be great if it did, but unfortunately trends indicate that having a rotation filled with such inexperienced guys will probably not pan out, not this year. Next year, it would not be completely shocking to see the Orioles compete in 2012 or 2013 after they get some more innings under their belt. The short answer is, I do not see the Orioles continuing to compete this season, although, as I stated in an earlier post, the Orioles could certainly surprise this season.