Nail Bitting Is a Bad Habit: AL East Is About To Get Exciting
As the standings in the AL East currently stand, the Rays and Yankees are tied at the top of the division with the Red Sox 6 1/2 games back.
Tampa Bay Rays:
For the Rays, they are currently on a hot streak going 9-1 in their last ten. They have 22 games against the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays. Yes the jays are too far back to contend for anything, but they can still create a lot of troubles for the rest of the division.
They are 27-14 against their own division, which is better then any of the other three teams. Tampa Bay also has the best away record in all of baseball, which does not hurt since they have more away games then home games at this point.
The only thing that could hurt them the most is injuries at this point in the season. They do not have depth behind their great starting team, unlike the Red Sox and Yankees that do.
New York Yankees:
The Yankees just gave up their division lead, and will be hard pressed to get it back. Of the "Core Four" only Jeter and Mo are fully healthy. Pettitte has been the Yankee's number two pitcher all season, and he is still on the DL. That means the Yankees have to start aan unproven kid in his place. With the Red Sox rotation healthy, and the Rays rotation continuing to be good, the Yankees might drop behind them both for best rotation.
The Yankees need A-Rod to get 600 already so he can get that off his back and produce. They also need to pray that Teixeira does not do his good month bad month thing he has been all season. The end of July into early August has not been good, and they need him most right now.
The Yankees currently have 25 games against the Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. Although that gives them the chance to directly put them ahead of the Red Sox and Rays, it also allows the Rays and Sox to gain ground or go ahead a lot easier. They cannot afford to get into a slump right now. The good news for them is that they have more home games left.
Boston Red Sox:
The Red Sox have some catching up to do. They are 6 1/2 back right now, but they still have 22 games against the Rays, Yanks, and Jays.
The Red Sox rotation is completely healthy for the first time all year, and With Beckett back they have 4 ace caliber starters. Beltre is hot right now, Papi is on fire, and guys are still coming off of the DL. The main thing for the Sox to do right now is get everyone back and ready to make one last push these last two months.
The biggest concern for the Red Sox right now is the bullpen. It has been horrible all year. Daniel Bard has been their best pitcher, but they cannot over use him. Papelbon has had one of his worst years with the team, and yet he is still one of the best in the game. There are still many opportunities for the Sox to get bullpen help via the waver wire, and I would not be surprised if they used that.
These last two months of baseball could get very interesting in the AL East. There is the potential for three teams to win 95 games, and wouldn't it be exciting if there were a three way tie for the division. Yeah one would win, but the other two would have to have a playoff game. When was the last time that happened in the AL East? All in all expect some great baseball from these three teams, it could get ugly.
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