Outfielder Gerardo Parra talks about being traded to the Orioles at the trade deadline. Parra has the highest batting average in baseball since May 1, and is currently hitting .328. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Blue Jays still have something to prove: The Toronto Blue Jays have been on an unbelievable roll since they acquired top-flight shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitching ace David Price, so we might as well pencil them into the playoffs right now, right?
Not yet. They certainly look the part and the wise guys in Vegas have elevated them to the odds-on favorite to win the World Series, but there's the small matter of seven more weeks of the season and 21 years of Blue Jays history to consider.
The New York Yankees were almost as hot a couple of weeks ago as the Jays are now, but their aura of invincibility in the American League East has been punctured. Don't be surprised if that fickle pendulum called momentum swings the other way at some point.
The Jays certainly are due. They haven't been to the postseason since they won their second straight world title in 1993 and own the longest playoff drought in the major leagues.
Parra looks like a keeper: The Orioles failed to adequately replace right fielder Nick Markakis last winter, but Gerardo Parra came better late than never. He gives the Orioles both the on-base potential and defensive ability that they lost when Markakis signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves.
So, here I go again. This would be a pretty good time to consider trying to get him under contract beyond the end of this season. Clearly, the Orioles are going to have more than enough free-agent issues come November without adding one more.
Parra will earn a bit more than $6 million this season and stands to get a raise after what likely will be a career year, but he's not a guy who's going to break the bank.
Coming home: The Orioles entered this weekend having played just 52 games at home, equaling the Texas Rangers for the fewest home games played in the majors this year. That gives more reason for hope that the Orioles will break out of their holding pattern just above the .500 mark.
The Orioles opened the series against the Oakland Athletics with a 32-20 record at home, which was the best home record among any American League team not leading a division as of Friday. If they can maintain that .615 winning percentage at Oriole Park the rest of the way, that should be worth a few extra games in the standings.