The AL East: The Best Soap Opera on TV
The AL East is one of the most entertaining divisions in all of sports. It is unequivocally exciting and unpredictable. The Blue Jays are playing incredibly well, the Rays and Yankees have been a disappointment and the Orioles have had moments of greatness to match moments of incredible frustration.
The only team that has played even close to what was expected is the Boston Red Sox even though they have an injury hampered rotation and their ace is not playing up to snuff.
All this and yet the season still has about 125 games left. The Blue Jays, anchored by arguably the best pitcher in baseball, are playing out of their minds. They have played very well but, the Blue Jays biggest asset thus far is there schedule.
They have only played the Orioles in the AL East so far, meanwhile the rest of the division has been beating up on each other. So far the Blue Jays have only played three teams with winning records. While Roy Halladay is the real deal while the rest of the staff is suspect until they prove themselves against tougher competition.
The Red Sox are doing exactly what they should be doing. They have some of the best bats in baseball and they are living up to their name. Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jason Bay have more than enough pop to protec their so far unimpressive rotation.
The Red Sox also have a huge weapon in the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury and one of the best bullpens in baseball to protect any lead that they get. They will be a tough competitor all season but, I believe that even when Dice K comes back from injury that their pitching will not be able to hold up against the rest of the division.
The Yankees have been perhaps one of the biggest emotional roller coaster rides in the division. The new hitter friendly park that seems to launch the ball has everyone talking.
Not having A-rod for the first month of baseball hurt the line-up more than expected but, the resurgence of Nick Swisher's offense and the 180 degree turnaround that Robinson Cano has done on his offensive production are both promising and exciting. Mark Teixeira still struggles and is now in a hit or get booed situation sadly.
The fickle Yankee crowd has seen enough lackluster production. The former ace of the staff Chein-Ming Wang has been terrible, Xavier Nady might be done for the year, Jorge Posada and Jose Molina are both on the DL, and Brian Bruney has hurt the bullpen by being on the DL himself. All this and they are still only two games under .500 ball.
The Rays are perhaps the scariest team in baseball right now simply because they are playing poorly and pitching sub-par yet they find ways to win. Joe Madden proved that he can win with this team last year and this year Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria have RBI machine Pat Burrell to help them out.
Their pitching rotation is solid with the ever looming David Price waiting in the minors in case they need a shot in the arm down the stretch.
The Orioles have some of the best young talent in the division but, a very weak pitching rotation and an even weaker bullpen. They will be in a rebuilding year this year and could play spoiler at best. They are a team to watch for in the coming seasons, however.
All in all I still believe that the Yankees are the best team in the division when healthy. The Red Sox and Rays will definitely be there to pick up the pieces if the Yankees let their injuries keep them from winning. The Blue Jays will find themselves slowly slipping to the back of the pack and on the outside looking in by the All-Star break.
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