The American League East has NO Beast
For years and years baseball fans would pick up the latest and greatest spring training MLB previews and everyone would read how only the best of the best could survive in the vaunted AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST. Yes only the best of the best dared to play in the AL East. It was the not for the faint of heart. In fact the AL East was so good we created a wild card system in baseball because the AL East was so strong they decided that baseball couldn’t survive without TWO teams from the AL East playing in the post season. The last time a team from any other division had the best record in the American League was back on 2008 when the Angels won 100 games edging out the Rays 97 win season who went on to the World Series. The AL East has dominated baseball for most of this century. For years the Rays had been the punching bag and doormat of the AL East. This season Tampa Bay has had a flashback to the days of old stumbling through the first two months of the schedule.
The Rays come back from the West Coast limping back to town from a losing road trip. Right now they have the second worst record in the AL as we come to the first quarter pole of the season with Memorial Day coming up this weekend. So are the Rays done, should they shutter the Trop, start making winter vacation plans. In most years I would say yes. But this is not most seasons. Something is defiantly upside down in baseball this season. NEWS FLASH the AL EAST is not what it has been in years past.
The Yankees are in first place today leading the division by a half game over Baltimore. Now for the fun part where would the Yanks be in other divisions. Well if they played in the AL Central they would be looking up at the Tigers and would be just a few games ahead of Kansas City. If New York played in the AL West they would be in third place behind Oakland and Anaheim.
Strange but true fact, the Yankees would not lead any other in division except the one they play in the AL East.
Every team in the AL East has big question marks this season.
Yankees – Older team with players already breaking down. Three Pitchers already on the DL with one lost for the season.
Baltimore – The most complete team on paper. They can hit, but do they have enough pitching.
Toronto – Lots of lumber and can outslug anyone on the planet but have to win games 10 to 8 most nights.
Boston – Lost their 3rd baseman, many younger players are not hitting yet, and they seem to be just hanging around
Tampa Bay – Pitching rich Rays find themselves in the poorhouse with a starting pitching staff 3 down and the bullpen already showing signs of fatigue.
So what does this mean to for Rays fans, if they was ever a season for the Rays to get off to a slow start 2014 is it. As bad as the Rays have been this year, as awful as the record is at 19-26 the Rays are only 5 games out of first place. No one seems to want to run away with this division. It is wide open right now, it is there for the taking, with no team in the East really out of yet.
They old saying is you can’t win the division in April and May, but you sure can lose it. Well not this year baseball fans. Until someone in the AL East gets their act together and goes on a hot streak this race is wide open for everyone, including the Tampa Bay Rays. So for those ready to jump off the bandwagon slow your roll at least until the All Star Break.