Let’s take a look at how the AL East has been shaping up and take a guess at who will win the Division.
1 - The New York Yankees
Surprising everyone except writers at this site, our boys remain in sole possession of First in the AL East. Gone are the predictions of doom and gloom. Gone are the doubts and dread. The Yankees, it appears, are still the Yankees. This despite a continuing slew of injuries to key players.
Veteran players have experienced a career resurgence. Hafner, Wells, and even Lyle Overbay have proven potent. Bats have heated up. Mistakes have been pounced upon. One player falters and another steps up.
Pitching remains strong. Hiroki Kuroda is cruising. CC is steadying after a slow start, which is what he always does. Mo doesn’t age, apparently. We are glad he is on our side because he is scary. Actually scary. Like, undead scary.
As the season progresses, the Yankees will have a very good chance to maintain their standing. Stars are beginning to return, with many more in the wings. Guys are going to be fresh.
2 - Boston Red Sox
The Ancient Enemy. They just don’t go away. Here they are again, nipping at the Yankees’ heels in the standings. Lester is a bona fide ace once more. Big Papi is experiencing a near-Jeterian late-career surge. A new fire burns bright in Fenway Park.
The sentimental side of me is happy to see the Sox doing this well, as long as they don’t do better than the Pinstripers. Regardless of how they make you feel, the stronger the ball team is in Boston, the better they make the men of the Bronx.
Prognosis: Very Good.
3 - Baltimore Orioles
The O’s are legitimate contenders. They are also breathing down the Bombers’ necks and won’t be letting up anytime soon. They will visit the Bronx shortly. That series should not be missed. It feels odd to be wary of Baltimore, but they should not be underestimated ever again.
Jim Johnson is officially an elite closer. His ERA is minuscule, his K rate is solid, and his consistency is very high. This guy has an amazing future ahead of him if he remains healthy. This is bad news for everyone else in the entire League, let alone Division. Keep an eye on him. Both when you can spare them.
Prognosis: Very Good
4 - Tampa Bay Rays
This team has stumbled out of the gate. The Rays live and die by their pitching and it has been inconsistent this year. Matt Moore will have one great game and then a couple of horrible ones. David Price is nagged by bad luck in one start and left with no run support in another. James Shields is in Kansas now, so the rotation is not quite as lethal as last season, leaving less room for mistakes.
Bats wise, things have gone South. Like Antarctica south. As in freezing cold. Ice world. We are saying they cannot buy hits in Tampa right now.
Will this continue? Hard to say. Certainly any team with David Price and Evan Longoria always has a chance. But the bullpen needs some serious shoring up and somebody is going to need to thaw out the bats.
This does not mean they are to be taken lightly. The Rays up their game against the Yankees. Everyone does, sure, but Moore dominated the Bombers not long ago, and they barely escaped with a win against Price that same series.
As with a wounded beast, approach with caution.
Prognosis: Long Shot
5 - Toronto Blue Jays
Oh, man. If the Rays stumbled out of the gate, the Jays ran into the wall. And then had it fall on them. Followed by the rest of the building. And then a plane crashed on top of them. And the plane was full of lava cactus monsters that squirted acid at their genitalia before burying them in pig feces.
Toronto, what is UP with you? Seriously, this isn’t even funny. The Jays have always been this long suffering city’s best hope for a win in Major League sports. This was really looking like the year too.
The Jays finally have a smart and savvy GM in Alex Anthopoulous after the disaster that was the JP Ricciardi era. He brought in an All Star roster. Expectations were atmospheric. Fans were absolutely ecstatic. That is entirely evaporated now.
After a spate of injuries and massive ERA inflations, it can only be said that combining good players from three bad teams does not make a winner.
Also, Toronto is cursed. The sports gods hate them. Sorry, folks.
Prognosis: Not this year. Next year also not looking good.
And there’s your AL East breakdown, Beasts.
*note- this blos was subsequently published by bleedingyankeeblue.com: http://bleedingyankeeblue.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-al-east-from-beast-to-least.html