We are almost at the 100-game mark for the MLB season, which leverages the rumors for October. Today, we take a look at the AL East, and the tight battle between Boston, Tampa Bay and New York. What will each team need to do to capture the division? What is Baltimore and Toronto failing at? Let’s take a look.
First Place: Boston Red Sox (54-42)
It’s no surprise that Boston is in first place. Coming into this season, Boston added Chris Sale to its pitching rotation, which inevitably made the Sox one of the toughest rotations in the whole league.
In order to remain in first, the Red Sox pitchers need to continue to have great games on the mound. Rick Porcello, the 2016 Cy Young award winner, needs to step up and finish strong for Farrell. Porcello is 4-12 in 20 games, with 20 home runs against him, the most homers allowed off any pitcher in the clubhouse.
Finally getting back from soreness in his elbow, David Price needs to go back to his usual dominant starts like he is capable of. Other than that, Sale and Pomeranz combine for 21 wins and a total of 299 strikeouts.
With Brock Holt finally back as well, you will see this lineup ramp up and get on a hot streak. Dustin Pedroia is dominating the AL since the All Star Break, batting .379 with 8 RBIs.
Second Place: Tampa Bay Rays (51-45)
After the Rays finished last, and stood 25 games behind in the AL East, they strive for a full change this season. They currently sit in second place, being only three games behind Boston. What’s working for them this year that failed last year?
Pitching has been the Rays’ claim to fame this season. As a team itself, Tampa Bay sits in 5th out of 15 teams in ERA. Guys like Chris Archer and Alex Cobb have stepped up big time, and Matt Andriese has helped too.
On top of that, Tampa Bay is hitting the ball very well this season. They sit in third in homers with 140, and fourth in RBIs with 433.
Logan Morrison is on fire, and has 26 homers and 61 RBIs, leading the team in both categories. Corey Dickerson is having a dominant season, starting in the All Star Game last week, batting .310 which leads the team in average.
If the Rays continue to hit well, you could see them go from last place to first place from one season to the next. Archer and Cobb need to be consistent on the mound to gain first place.
Third Place: New York Yankees (48-45)
Aaron Judge: The leader of this team so far this year. Judge is leading the team in every hitting category, with the exception of one category: doubles. Yes, he leads the team in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percent, hits, at-bats, RBIs, triples, home runs, runs and hits. All that for one player.
The Yankees have been in a weird position. You think they should be the best team in the AL East due to the crazy statistics that Judge is putting up, but they are descending in the standings game by game.
They are 4-6 in last 10, not to mention that Judge has three hits on 29 at-bats, batting a whopping .103 since the All Star Break.
The Yankees were in first place not that long ago.
In order to get back on top, they need more pitchers to do their job. Masahiro Tanaka is 7-9, with a 5.33 ERA and 27 homers against. Tanaka is letting up too many hits. Montgomery is 6-5 with a 4.09 ERA and a opponents batting average of .247.
As long as Judge does not slow down, this Yankees squad is capable of doing damage to any team in the AL.
fourth place: baltimore orioles (45-49)
Eight games behind Boston, the Baltimore Orioles need to pick things up, quickly. A wild card team that finished just four games behind first place last season is slipping away. What isn’t working for them?
Simply, their pitching is at an all-time worst. They sit in 15th out of 15 teams in the AL for team ERA. Their ERA of 5.07 is good for second-worst in the MLB.
Honestly, there’s no hope in Baltimore making the playoffs this season. Kevin Gausman holds a 6-7 record with a 6.11 ERA, while Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-5 with a 7.01 ERA. It’s not been the best season for these starters. Baltimore sits in last in the MLB in BAA at .279.
It is also time for Machado to ramp his game up. He is currently batting .239 with 76 strikeouts, the fourth most on the team. Machado finished the 2016 season with a batting average of nearly .300. He was the leader on the team for hitting, alongside Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis.
This season could turn out to be a total bust for the Orioles.
Fifth Place: Toronto Blue Jays (43-51)
The Blue Jays stand 10 games behind Boston, and safe to say, they have little to no chance to capture the division. The Blue Jays finished with nearly 90 wins last season, and one year later they are on the outside looking in. What’s wrong with them?
Toronto’s hitting has been the biggest problem this season. Guys like Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson are not producing like in previous years. These guys are big-name players, and have a combined average of .233. It’s been nothing like other years where these guys have been the top hitters in the AL, and even the MLB.
Troy Tulowitzki is not doing his best, but is still lights out at short stop. Bautista is probably the biggest disappointment for this ball club. He is batting .230 with 97 strikeouts. Not to mention, he had four strikeouts this past Monday against Boston.
The pitching is sub-par. They are fifth in the AL for strikeouts, with a total of 825. Marcus Stroman has been their most dominant pitcher. Stroman is 9-5 with a 3.10 ERA. Other than that, they have no other pitcher that has helped keep a consistent pitching rotation.
The Jays aren’t looking good for this season.
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