It’s that time again kids. It’s that time to look at the “top 10 things we learned about baseball” series. For those of you not familiar with this series, this is where I piece together the month that was in Major League Baseball.

Without any further ado, here at the top 10 things we learned about baseball in April.


10. The Baltimore Orioles Had a Bad Month

I really liked what the Orioles did this offseason, but the moves they made this winter clearly have not translated into success in 2010. The Orioles finished the month of April with the worst record in baseball.

Closer Mike Gonzalez and 1B/3B Garrett Atkins have been terrible and this team desperately misses Brian Roberts at the top of the lineup.

While the Orioles had the worst record in baseball in April…


9. The Tampa Bay Rays Came out Swinging

Due to the fact that Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena are free agents at the end of the season, many felt that 2010 was the Rays’ last stand. If that is indeed the case, the Rays aren’t going to go down without a fight.

The Rays ended April with a 17-6 record and the best record in baseball. What is the most impressive about the Rays hot start is that they finished April with a 9-1 road record. The Rays finished 17 games under .500 on the road in 2009.

Speaking of first place teams…


8. The New York Mets Are on Top Of the NL East

That’s right, the Mets—not the Philadelphia Phillies—were on top of the NL East when the first month of the season ended.

It seems like the call up of first baseman Ike Davis has inspired the boys from Flushing, N.Y. The Mets ended the month of April on an eight-game winning streak and believe if they can stay healthy, they will be in the thick of the NL East race all year.

Staying in the NL East…


7. Ryan Howard Got Paid

Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. gave Howard a five-year, $125 million extension. That’s a lot of boxes of ziti to pay a guy who is going to be in his mid-30s when his contract kicks in.

On the subject on extensions…


6. April Was Extension Month in Major League Baseball

Yovani Gallardo, Josh Beckett, Brett Anderson, and Ben Zobrist signed extensions in the month of April.

Out of these extensions, Gallardo’s made the most sense in my opinion. The Milwaukee Brewers signed Gallardo to a five-year, $30.1 million deal and at 24, the Brewers will have Gallardo signed through his prime years.

One guy who might be up for an extension soon if he continues to pitch like he did in April is Minnesota Twins’ closer Jon Rauch…


5. Who Needs Joe Nathan?

When Joe Nathan went down because of an elbow injury prior to the start of the 2010 season, the Twins were scrambling for a closer. Rumors swirled that they may acquire Heath Bell of the San Diego Padres or Jason Frasor of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Twins acquired nobody and went with an internal option. That internal option was Jon Rauch and Rauch has been nothing short of spectacular for the Twins so far. Rauch finished April with a 1.80 ERA and seven saves.

Rauch used to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks where a certain second baseman had a monster month…


4. Kelly Johnson Is Back on Track

Johnson spent most of 2009 in Atlanta Braves’ manager Bobby Cox’s doghouse. In 2010, Johnson might be spending some time in Anaheim for the All Star Game.

Johnson finished the month of April second in the majors in home runs with nine and hit .313 with a 1.154 OPS. I predicted Johnson would have a bounce back year, but in no way did I expect this.

Let’s stay in the NL West…



3. Barry Zito Is Pitching Like the 2002 Version of Barry Zito

I always felt the San Francisco Giants’ pitching staff was overrated as a whole because all they had was Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and nothing else. Well, if Zito pitches like he did in April for the rest of 2010, then they will prove me wrong.

Zito was the man in April going 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA and a Lincecum-esque 0.88 WHIP. If you combine Zito’s second half of 2009 with his first five starts of 2010, he is 9-4 with a 2.18 ERA.

Not bad at all.

Speaking of pitchers who started the season on fire…


2. Ubaldo Jimenez Was This April’s Zack Greinke

Greinke was the talk of baseball last April when he went 5-0 with a 0.50 ERA. Jimenez might have one upped Greinke this April.

Not only did Jimenez go 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA, but he managed to also throw a no-hitter as well. Jimenez’s no-hitter came against the Braves and he was just awesome as you could imagine.

In the last inning, Jimenez was throwing 97-98 mph. He is turning into a bonafide ace.

And the No. 1 thing we learned in April…


1. Baseball Is Back, Baby

Sure the NFL has their Opening Night and Weekend, but nothing beats Opening Day in Major League Baseball. Opening Day in baseball represents hope and represents the excuse to take a really long lunch break that day.

So far this season we have seen a no-hitter, a slew of walk-off hits, and a lot of good baseball being played. The 2010 baseball season is shaping up to be a great one.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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