We’re three fourths of the way through the season and the Yankees currently have the best record in the American League. They could sweep the Rangers and the Yankees look like a team that can overcome any odds. They’re back to playing great baseball even though there was a time it looked like the 10 game cushion built would be reduced to one or two games. Luckily, the team has started back on their winning ways even without the recent loss of C.C. Sabathia.
1. New York Yankees (69-47), AL East: 1st, Final Standings: 1st, League best record
The Yanks have been the best in baseball throughout the year, especially this past week. Freddy Garcia and Hiroki Kuroda have been terrific. When the team gets this type of production from the Freddy, it may seem too good to be true. But backing up the rotation is the 7th best team average, 4th best team on base percentage and the first best slugging team in the major leagues. It’s pretty tough to beat the best offense in baseball when the starting rotation is going deep in games and commanding the zone as they have.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (63-53), AL East: T-2nd, Final Standings: 2nd, 1st AL Wild Card
They are nearly as hot as the Yankees. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games. Matt Moore is back in the form he was supposed to be all year. Jeremy Hellickson has thrown lights out, and don’t look now, but Alex Cobb has four quality starts in his past four outings. I almost left out this year’s possible AL Cy Young in David Price. The Rays rotation was going to carry them this year, and it’s doing just that. The only problem, and it will remain a problem, is their offense. The only AL teams that have scored less runs over the course of the year are Oakland and Seattle. Yikes. With Longoria back they have some power to the lineup but as long as they continue to pitch well, they’ll be playing baseball come October.
3. Baltimore Orioles (63-53), AL East: T-2nd, Final Standings: 4th
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Get ready for their second half decline.” Make this more of a quarter of the year decline. The pace the Orioles are on is unsustainable. This is not to say they haven’t made great strides and are improving as a ball club. It’s saying that scoring 488 runs while giving up 531 is not a recipe for success. EVERY team with a run differential greater than -43 has at least 65 losses. All but one of these teams have 70 or higher losses. They aren’t scoring a lot of runs either, it’s both; they give up a lot of runs and they don’t score a lot. They will hang for maybe another week before falling apart.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (55-61), AL East: 5th, Final Standings: 3rd
I just want the Blue Jays to be good so this may skew how I feel about them. I don’t believe they are a bottom of a division team. They have a ton of young pieces but when your ace goes down for three months, and yes I believe Brandon Morrow is an ace, your team is going to struggle. Once Morrow comes back and Jose Bautista, expect a little surge, enough to keep them competitive.
5. Boston Red Sox (57-60), AL East: 4th, Final Standings: 5th
What do I need to say about their debacle? They’ve scored two runs less than the Yankees however they’ve given up 531 on the year. At first, injuries wrecked the season. Then Beckett and Lester forgot how to pitch effectively and locate the baseball. Ownership got involved and we all know that when ownership gets involved, things usually don’t turn out well. Anybody remember George Steinbrenner? Players want the manager fired, then key players back the manager. This has become more of a circus than a team playing baseball and until something changes, this team is going to keep losing. I can’t complain about that!
Again, the Yankees couldn’t be in a better place. C.C. and Andy Pettitte will be back soon enough and the playoffs will be a sure lock if the Yankees continue playing solid baseball. With how the season started, having the best record in the league is a little surprising but you’ll hear no complaints from me.