By: Chandler Ragsdale
The AL East race has been pretty tight all season long. The first half involved mainly the Orioles on top, followed tightly by the Red Sox, while the Blue Jays were figuring things out. Now that we are in the second half of the season, we see a very tight race a top the AL East involving all 3 of these teams. In a pre-season article of mine, I actually predicted the AL East to go as having the Blue Jays on top, the Sox finishing second, and the Orioles actually in fourth behind the Yankees, and that left the Rays in last. Some good news is that it looks like I was definitely right about the last place team, but completely wrong about Baltimore. I feel like no matter how the top 3 spots are filled out, that all 3 will still make the playoffs, just the lower 2 will have to play one another in the wild-card game. With that being said, I see the top of the AL East shaping up like this:
3. Baltimore Orioles – I like what the Orioles have done this year and are doing, but as far as competing with the Red Sox and Blue Jays the rest of the season, I just don’t see them beating the other two out record wise. The Sox and Jays both have 2 of the top 6 offenses in baseball (Red Sox #1, Blue Jays #6) and the Orioles aren’t too far from being number 11 in that category. However, I don’t see them scoring enough runs to keep pace with these teams. Yes, these teams will still have to pitch, and only time will tell how that will turn out, but I believe that the offense will eventually be Baltimore’s short coming in this race and land them in the 3 hole.
2. Boston Red Sox – My Red Sox have been looking good this year also and have kept pace in the AL East up to this point. Just like a game in which my Duke Blue Devils beat the UNC Tar Heels last winter, Duke stayed hanging around the whole game and stole the game from UNC in the end. I see the Sox doing that to the Orioles at least. The Red Sox have the most explosive and potent lineup in baseball and they have been phenomenal this year. Their pitching staff is such a concern, though, as it always is. Yes, Fenway is a hitter’s park, but their pitching has been very bad of late. If they can get their pitching figured out, with the talent that they have, then the Sox will be a forced to be reckoned with. Like I said, though, only time will tell this.
3. Toronto Blue Jays – I have the Toronto Blue Jays winning the AL East again this year. They have a very good offense, and a decent pitching staff to back them most nights. That’s what makes them different than the other two teams right now, is their balance. Yes, Baltimore is a balanced team, but I see the Jays being more balanced down the stretch, being that they were here only a year ago, and repeating as AL East champs. Aaron Sanchez is pitching some of the best baseball in the MLB right now, and he may be moved to the pen! Although, Toronto could opt to go to a six-man rotation. I think this is what needs to and will happen.
Overall, all 3 of these teams still have a lot of one another to see before the season is over, and I think the race will be very tight. Record wise, however, I see the standings shaping up like this, and then we can go from there when the postseason gets here!
*All stats and info from mlb.com