Now that the All-Star Game has come and gone, it’s time to get down to business for the defending AL-East Champions if they want to make a playoff push. Sitting at 44-44, the Baltimore Orioles are certainly in the thick of it just 4 games behind the division leading New York Yankees and 3.5 out in the Wild Card.
The AL East is as competitive from top to bottom as it’s been in years with each team boasting at least 42 wins coming out of the break.
With plenty of intra-divisional matchups left on the schedule, let’s take a look how each team has gotten to this point.
New York Yankees (48-40), +3.5 games
Although it would be fair to say that New York Yankees have “surprised” many with their stellar play through the first half, that wouldn’t do the Yanks justice. Led by a bunch of veterans, the Yankees suddenly seem like a formidable bunch who may just have one more run left in them. That starts with Mark Teixeira who leads the team in HR (22) and RBI (62). Alex Rodriguez, the polarizing figure who missed the entire 2014, has certainly regained his form to the tune of 18 HR and 51 RBIs. Other notables are Brian McCann and Brett Gardner. Remaining series vs Balt: July 21-23 and September 7-9 at NYY, October 2 – 4 at home.
Tampa Bay Rays (46-45), -3.5 games
If the Yankees weren’t a surprise in the first half, the Tampa Bay Rays certainly were. Thanks to spectacular pitching and timely hitting, the Rays, in true Ray fashion, have found ways to win ball games. Chris Archer has taken the league by storm striking out 147 in just 121.2 innings pitched to just 30 walks while maintaining a 2.74 ERA. Upcoming games vs. Balt: July 24 – 26 at TB, August 31 – September 2 at home, September 17 – 20 at TB.
Toronto Blue Jays (45-46), -4.5 games
The Toronto Blue Jays have benefitted greatly from the offseason addition of 3B Josh Donaldson. Not only has he hit 21 homeruns and accounted for 60 RBIs but he also was the highest voted player by the fans in the All-Star Game. While the Blue Jays have played well at home, they have struggled mightily on the road. The offense is what carries this team led by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion along with Donaldson. If they plan on hanging around, it must continue to do and perform on the road. Upcoming matchups with Balt: September 4 – 6 at TOR, September 28 – October 1 at home.
Boston Red Sox (42-47), -6.5
Pulling up the rear of the AL East is the Boston Red Sox. Although they were considered to be down and out just a month ago, they have found themselves back in relevancy thanks to a recent surge. The offense has been in a funk all year and the pitching inconsistent, to say that least. The pieces are there, but can they pull it together? Remaining games vs. Balt: September 14 – 16 at home, September 25 – 27 at BOS.
With a division that is as jam packed as the AL East right now, there will be plenty of meaningful baseball in Baltimore’s Camden Yards the rest of the way. You won’t want to miss out on that spectacular Adam Jones catch or a simply unbelievable Machado relay. Stay with us at Holiday Inn Express Baltimore at the Stadiums and feel the passion of the city in the heart of the Inner Harbor!