There is every indication that this will be a fun race down the stretch. Three different teams have held a lead in the division so far this season. The Yankees held it early on, only to have it taken away by the potent Orioles lineup. Now the Blue Jays have a one game lead over the Yankees, this being the latest point in a year that the Jays have been in first place since the 2000 season.
Toronto Blue Jays 27-22 (1st place)(Last 10 games: 8-2): The Jays are on a tear. They’ve won three in a row and nine of their last eleven, in large part due to their lethal offensive attack. They’ve hit 14 homeruns over the last seven games. Edwin Encarnacion has been leading the offense of late, going 11-39 (.282) with seven home runs and 12 runs batted in over a ten game span. What normally isn’t a strong rotation has been great as of late, posting a 2.76 era over the last seven games. The rotation is lead by Mark Buehrle, who continues to dominate this season. Buehrle has won a leagues best eight games, the Jays just completed a sweep over the defending champion Red Sox. They start a three game set with the MLB’s best team, the Oakland A’s.
Baltimore Orioles 24-22 (2nd place)(Last 10 games: 4-6): The Orioles have run into a rough patch in their schedule. Facing the Tigers, Royals, and Pirates, three good teams that have been playing fairly well lately. Baltimore has won just three of their last ten. Pitching hasn’t been that bad over their last seven games, with a 3.80 ERA. Offensively they’ve been pretty good; Chris Davis is back, hitting 8-23 (.348) with four home runs and seven runs batted in over the last seven games. Nelson Cruz has the exact same numbers during that span except in the long ball department, he’s hit two fewer over the fence. The Orioles have a three game set against the streaking Indians on the horizon.
New York Yankees 24-23 (3rd place)(Last 10 games: 4-6): The Yanks have once again been injury plagued. CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, and Shawn Kelley are the most recent Yankees to join Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda on the DL. Sabathia is likely out until July, Kelley just suffered a set back the other day. While Beltran is still waiting to see if he needs surgery. Despite all the injuries they’ve managed to stay two games out of first place. Over the last seven games, their pitching has put up an impressive 2.49 ERA. Tanaka did prove to mortal in losing his first game this week to the Cubs, but guys like David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley have been solid fill ins to the rotation. Combined, the three have a 2.04 ERA these past week. The bullpen has been amazing despite having no big names and losing Kelley. Adam Warren and Dellin Betances have been phenomenal. Offensively the Bombers have been struggling mightily, the exception being Brett Gardner, he’s been hitting the ball very well. Over the last 10 games he is 14-38 (.368). The Yankees just split with the Cubbies and are in a four game set with the White Sox this weekend.
Tampa Bay Rays 21-28 (4th place)(Last 10 games: 5-5): The Rays just cant hit, it’s that simple. They’ve been struggling offensively all season and it’s hasn’t been getting any better. They’re batting just .203 over their last seven games. Reigning Rookie of the Year Wil Meyers and All Star Evan Longoria are a combined 5-45 (.111) over that span. The Rays pitching has been giving the team enough chances to win with a 3.05 era during those seven games. Tampa Bay welcomes the struggling Red Sox for the weekend.
Boston Red Sox 20-27 (Last place)(Last 10 games: 1-9): The defending champs have hit rock bottom. They just got swept (0-6) out of a home stand, losing all three to the Tigers and Jays. In total they’ve lost eight in a row this month. David Ortiz was asked about the struggles of the team and his words were simple, “we stink.” The Sox are hitting just .228 during their last seven games and the pitching has been just as bad with a 4.95 ERA. Opponents have outscored Boston 37-16 while batting .309 over the last seven games. The Red Sox will look to snap their eight game skid this weekend against the Rays.