The All-Star break is rapidly approaching and the Yankees currently have the best record in baseball. They’ve been playing great baseball and there was a period there where it looked like nothing could go wrong for them. That was until June 27, 2012. Casey Kotchman hit a line drive off Andy Pettitte’s ankle causing him to be out at least six weeks and CC Sabathia was placed on the DL. Two major blows to a team on fire. With the all-star break coming C.C. will only miss two starts, so this news sounds worse than it really is. These two injuries won’t affect these rankings so let’s get to it.
1. New York Yankees (46-28),
AL East: 1st
Upcoming Series: Chicago White Sox (40-35)
What else needs to be said about this team? They’ve been the best in baseball throughout the year, especially in June. Robinson Cano has been red hot and the starting pitching has been terrific (Phill Hughes I’m looking at you). The bullpen remained solid even with the losses of Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. Let’s issue some midseason awards because everybody loves those.
MVP: Robinson Cano
Cy Young: Andy Pettitte
2. Boston Red Sox (40-35)
AL East: T-3rd
Upcoming Series: Seattle Mariners (32-45)
They are nearly as hot as the Yankees. The Sox have turned their losing ways around and moved into third place. They just traded away Kevin Youkilis. I almost hate them less. If somehow the Red Sox keep hitting with this collaboration of AAA guys, the rest of the East needs to watch out. David Ortiz looks like the David Ortiz circa 2004-2006 *cough cough* but he’s in the front running for AL MVP right now. I don’t think he’ll continue his torrid pace but is well on his way for another 40 home run season.
3. Tampa Bay (40-35)
AL East: T-3rd
Upcoming Series: Detroit Tigers (36-38)
The Rays could be in some trouble. They were just swept by the Royals and have been hit with the injury bug. While Jeremy Hellickson was lost to injury, Alex Cobb stepped in nicely. David Price has been their best player all year and they really are leaning on him more than ever. With Evan Longoria on the DL indefinitely, they really need to make some moves if they are to stay in the race. Starting pitching can only get you so far, especially when your team can’t hit. They currently sit at a plus six run differential.
4. Baltimore Orioles (41-33)
AL East: 2nd
Upcoming Series: Cleveland Indians (37-37)
The Orioles are playing consistent baseball but it seemingly won’t hold up. They are eight games above .500 yet hold a negative 16 run differential. The “Oreos”, as my friends call them, are the only team to have a negative run differential and a winning record. Their starting staff is not as solid as they would like and it does not bode well for them staying atop the AL East. Jake Arrieta looks like Brian Matusz 2.0 and Hammel is about the only good starting arm they have at the moment. Their bullpen, anchored by Jim Johnson, has masked some deficiencies and has probably been the best in baseball. Jim Johnson is a no doubt all-star and in the one blown a save out of his 23 chances, he received the win in that game. He has been an all-star and then some. Expect their usual second half decline.
5. Toronto Blue Jays (38-37)
AL East: 5th
Upcoming Series: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (42-33)
The Blue Jays are without their best pitcher, Brandon Morrow, for at least four weeks. Morrow has been a rock and without him, it’s looking pretty bleak in that rotation. Ricky Romero has somehow posted eight wins and two losses with smoke and mirrors. How he has two losses with a 4.94 ERA is beyond me. I guess the Blue Jays really like to hit when he’s pitching. If the Jays were in any other division in baseball, they would contend for a spot in the playoffs. This lineup is potent and it’s a shame they have four teams ahead of them with winning records.
The season is halfway over and the Yankees couldn’t be in a better place. Pettitte will be back soon enough and the playoffs will be a lock if they continue playing soundly in all facets of the game. I’d bet that the Yankees are going to be the top of the AL East come October and two more AL East teams will be along for the playoff ride.