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MLB News and Notes: Rays Best Team in Majors and Leake Is Impressive

D WizzleSenior Analyst IMay 13, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 12:  Relief pitcher Rafael Soriano #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays kisses his hand after earning a save against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on May 12, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The Rays defeated the Angels 4-3.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball right now with a 24-10 record. The Rays just completed a very successful West Coast road trip, as they won six of the nine games on the trip. They are only a half game ahead of the New York Yankees in the standings though.

The Rays have very good hitters and a great pitching staff. They have a big time star in 3B Evan Longoria. Longoria is batting .326 with eight homers and 29 RBIs so far. He has committed a few errors of late on defense, but his offense has made up for the errors in the field.

Their starting five is one of the best in baseball. James Shields, Matt Garza, Jeff Niemann, David Price, and fifth starter Wade Davis can all dominate a game with their stuff. Price has been very good of late, and won two games on the West Coast road trip. The bullpen has been very solid as well, and closer Rafael Soriano has nine saves and a 1.93 ERA.

The Rays have Hank Blalock in the minors and it might be time to call him up soon, since DH Pat Burrell has played very poorly. Burrell has been horrible at the plate and it might be time to get rid of him.

The three biggest surprises so far are the Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals, and the San Diego Padres. The Blue Jays are leading the majors in homers with 52. They are 20-16 but only 7-10 at home. The Blue Jays have three young starters with potential in Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, and Shaun Marcum.

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The Nationals are 19-15 and in second place in the NL East. Once phenom Stephen Strausburg gets called up to the majors, their pitching staff will be more dangerous. Middle reliever Tyler Clippard has seven wins already. Lefty starter Scott Olsen has pitched very well of late.

The Padres are 21-12 and are in first place in the NL West. They don't have a great offense, but they have the best bullpen in the NL. Their starting rotation just has to keep the games close. The offense is weak, but they do steal a lot of bases and have had a lot of timely hitting.

The Reds are 19-15 this year and they could contend for the NL Central title. Dusty Baker was a candidate to be fired if the Reds got off to a poor start, but things are going very well right now for Baker's team. They have a good offense and play in a very hitter-friendly home park. Rookie pitcher Mike Leake is a candidate for Rookie of the Year. He has four pitches and great command of all of them.

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