With all due respect to Toronto and Baltimore, the AL East is mostly considered a three-horse race between the defending champion Tampa Bay Rays, who have won two of the last three, the Red Sox, who won it in 2007 (along with the World Series,) and the Yankees, who have pretty much won it since baseball was invented.
But the teams are so talented and so competitive against each other it is impossible to decide who a clear-cut division winner will be (at least since the Rays entered the discussion.)
In the end, there is no running away with an AL East division title.
And there are so many factors that can play into an AL East team's division chances. Here are 14 of them. This is probably not ALL of them, but each of these factors may play a key role in who will be the 2011 AL East champion and, heck, even the World Series champion.
*With the exception of Derek Jeter's hitting streak, the statistics for this article are updated as of 7/5/11 before game time.