As the one dissenting voice in the wilderness stating that the Orioles should be able to hang in there and compete for the division title and at least contend for the wild card: um, screwed that one up big time, eh? Well, maybe not. Yes, I did forget to factor in the Lee Mazzilli factor (How did this guy ever get hired in the first place? Oh yeah, like Willie Randolph of the last place New York Mets, they are part of the Friends of Joe Torre club. The theory goes something like this: Joe Torre wins World Series in New York; therefore, his first base coach must be able to replicate that success. Sure, that is a sound theory.)

Anyway, I still say the Orioles will jump start themselves as soon as they settle down their pitching staff and Javy Lopez starts hitting as he works his way back to full strength. Yes, the Rafael Palmiero steroids incident is a drag for the team, but it is not their only problem, and if anything it can distract them from obsessing over their other problems and let them relax and play. Good teams can still get hot after a managerial change, and since the Orioles still have Ray Miller as their pitching coach it is hard to bet against them making a run for the wild card in the second half of the season.

Of course, the Blue Jays, going into a weekend series with the Yankees, have a chance to make some serious noise in the wild card race. Just as Cleveland made a statement by nearly sweeping the Yankees to announce that they were in the wild card race and would not be intimidated by anyone, the Blue Jays have that same opportunity this weekend. The Blue Jays are maddening to me. They are young, exciting, and working as a true underdog in a division with the two MLB heavyweights: in short, the type of team I LOVE to back. Unfortunately, they are in the AL East where one of the heavyweights is the Red Sox, and, to injury to insult, the Blue Jays have been beating up on the Red Sox all season long. So as long as they stop beating the Sox, I am hoping the Blue Jays make a positive statement this weekend because nothing beats an underdog beating the big, bad Yankees.

As I had stated earlier, the Indians this week nearly swept the Yankees. Short of an implosion by closer Bob Wickman in the final game, the Indians had their foot on the throat of the five years removed world champs. The Indians have to come out of that series with just a ton of confidence and just enough anger to be a factor in the wild card race in the second half of the season. Good for the Indians, I say. Anyone beating up the Yankees is a good thing in my book.

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So Derek Lowe appears to be adjusting to life on the West Coast without a hitch. Forget about his hideous stats after a decent start to the season, but now its splitsville for D-Lowe and his wife after his affair with the Fox Sports LA sports anchorwoman was exposed in the press. What a cad.

In comparison, it would be similar to a married Sox star hooking up with Hazel Mae. Of course, being in L.A., the effect is muted. In Boston, it would be front page news for a week, but out west it is business as usual. Of course, in Cauli-fornee-yah, with der Gropinator as Governor, this is hardly news at all.

I truly thought Lowe would thrive in L.A. outside of the distractions of the Boston press; however, I never considered the oft-distracted Lowe would tank the season in pursuit of a TV bombshell. Now add Lowe to Rafael Palmiero as the chump-of-the-year candidates who somehow end up on my fantasy teams.

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