Boston Red Sox: 100-62
New York Yankees: 84-78
Toronto Blue Jays: 83-79
Tampa Bay Rays: 76-86
Baltimore Orioles: 60-102
The Red Sox are just too strong not to win this division. Jacoby Ellsbury has quietly established himself as a starter in centerfield with a torrid start. David Ortiz seems to have found his stroke after a slow start, and the core of the lineup has been good as well. Their starting pitching was a bit of a question mark coming into the season, but has been very solid. I just can't imagine this team missing the playoffs, but everyone else in their division will this year.
The Yankees have a lineup that is rightly feared around the league, but big names don't always equal big win totals. The Yankees main concern is their starting rotation, as it should be. Phil Hughes isn't right and besides Chien-Min Wang, no one has displayed shut-down stuff consistently. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera make this team nearly impossible to beat if they get the ball with the lead in the 8th & 9th innings, but the magic just isn't there this year, and the Yanks miss the postseason.
The Blue Jays have a great chance to equal the Yankees in wins this year. They seem to be healthy for the most part, and can really play ball. BJ Ryan is back from the DL, and AJ Burnett hasn't found his way there yet. Vernon Wells is trying to return to his old form with and Alex Rios is making the Jays glad they didn't deal him. The recent departure of Frank Thomas opens the door for perenially underrated Matt Stairs to get some more at-bats. Roy Halladay fronts a rotation that is probably better than they Yankees rotation right now.
The Rays are quite frankly a team that I love. Now, if my love counted for wins (which it really should sometimes) they wouldn't still be a 4th place team. But such is love, and life. They haven't seen what Matt Garza can do yet, but they will, and Scott Kazmir is getting ready to come off the DL. Evan Longoria is with the team and has been good in spurts, and Carlos Pena's power still looks real. BJ Upton is an incredible talent, and Carl Crawford has yet to really get on track. Troy Percival has received few opportunities to prove himself as a revived closer, but if the Rays can keep this core intact and get that awesome new ballpark they want, watch out.
Oh, Baltimore, you had a nice run to open the season. The Orioles finally pulled the trigger on an all-out rebuilding effort. However, they still have big contracts that can't help them win right now and that they can't get rid of. Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada both departed in the offseason, but the O's are happy with what they got in return. George Sherrill has looked like a closer, for the most part, and the team has played their way into early season contention. Don't expect it to last, though, as the Orioles lose 100 games before it's all said and done.
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