American League East
Preseason projection: Boston Red Sox
Current leader: Boston Red Sox (57-40)
Mid-season projection: Boston Red Sox
It's tough to pick against the great underdog story that is the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Red Sox have too much firepower and experience for the Rays to overtake them. David Ortiz will return to Boston in late July and solidify a lineup that has seen a resurgence from JD Drew. Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Drew will combine to form the most formidable middle of the order in the American League and Boston's pitching depth will ultimately carry them to the postseason.
Keep an eye on: New York Yankees
Yes, the Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000, but they haven't missed the playoffs in 13 years. Yes, their pitching rotation looks thin. Yes, their bullpen has questions before Mariano Rivera. And yes, they may be without Hideki Matsui for the rest of the season. But never count out the New York Yankees—a fact that has been proven in the last three years when the Yankees looked dead in the water in the first two or three months. New York plays well at home (27-22) and on the road (23-23), something that could be a big factor in them competing for the playoffs down the stretch.
American League Central
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