AL East Now a Four-Way Race Going into All-Star Break
With each passing week it seems the Boston Red Sox have a new team to worry about. The Tampa Bay Rays have went on a furious run going 9-1 on their last ten games. The Rays are now 2.5 games behind the Red Sox. Third place in the division is the team that had second place taken away from them by the Rays, the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are 4.5 games behind the Red Sox.
Meanwhile, the New York Yankees, who you can never count out, are six games behind the Red Sox and will be looking for a resurgence after t.he All-Star Break.
However, fans of the Rays should not get too excited yet as they are going to have a hard time keeping up their winning ways. Their last three series where they went 9-1 were not exactly challenging games. The teams they faced were the Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, teams with winning percentages between .351 to .424. Do not get me wrong the Rays deserve credit for going 9-1 against any major league team. I hesitate to call them the real deal, though, until after they beat a team with a decent winning percentage. We will revisit the Rays after they get to their second series back from the All-Star Break against the Boston Red Sox.
The same can be said for the Yankees as far as being “real deals” go. The Yanks started the season off great only to slip as of late. With everyone’s focus on the drama involving Alex Rodriguez as opposed to actually Yankees baseball has got to be considered part of the problem. If the Yankees can leave behind the prima donnas and drama they will have a good chance at getting back in this race after the break.
The only real threat to the Red Sox is the Orioles. The Orioles were a great team last season and have proven they have only gotten better during the offseason. Expect the Orioles to only get better before the trade deadline as they will be buyers on the market. It is unlikely that the Orioles will bolster their offense even though they have struggled as late. Overall, the Orioles have been among the top offenses in the MLB this season. The O’s lead the MLB with 122 homers. They are also in the top-five in runs, doubles, batting average and OPS. Expect the Orioles to focus on improving their pitching over the break in order to topple the Red Sox and secure their spot at a post-season run.