Credit Image: theSportspage
Baseball is back, and that means the playoff grind begins again. The Cubs are fresh off a World Series win for the first time in over 100yrs and they aren’t going to let off the gas pedal anytime soon. The Indians haven’t slacked off either and are also favored to make a powerful return to the diamond. But! As we all know, no game is decided until the final pitch; and in today’s game, anything goes.
The American League’s Eastern division is one to watch this year as 4 out of the 5 teams look just as tough as ever. Here’s a reminder for those of you who have been asleep in the offseason eating turkey and wings watching the Pats take yet another SuperBowl ring.
AL East teams: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox:
Right from the gun, the Sox appear to be the top contenders in the AL East once again. With the key addition of Chris Sale to a rotation that already has David Price and Rick Porcello, Boston is primed to follow their starting rotation straight to another AL East title. However, the loss of David Ortiz will hurt the batting order considerably but with young stars like Mookie Betts & Xander Bogaerts being led by veterans such as Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox line up should still be one of the best in the league.
Regular Season Prediction: I believe the Red Sox will finish with a record of 96-66 and take first place in the AL East yet again
Toronto Blue Jays:
Don’t sleep on the Jays though, their hitting lineup this year is not one to be forgotten. With players like Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and their starting pitching lead by Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez, they have a chance to give the Red Sox a good run for their money. The order may feel the loss of Edwin Encarnacion but the Jays have enough of a supporting cast to make up for it in spades. The starting rotation is healthy enough to keep Toronto in the hunt, but with that being said I still believe the Blue Jays will fall short come October.
Regular Season Prediction: I believe the Blue Jays will end up with a record of 92-70 coming in second for the AL East race.
In the hole, the Baltimore Orioles are a team that has the juice to keep up with the Red Sox and Jays offensively but their starting rotation cannot hope to match their division rivals in the long run. They still hold good cards with players like Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Adam Jones in the batter’s box but Tillman can’t fight off the wolves by himself. The return of Mark Trumbo’s powerful hitting and a solid relieving corp should find the boys from Baltimore some wins along the way. Not to mention Buck Showalter’s expert managerial skills have helped to keep the Orioles from totally falling apart thus far. I believe if they can remedy the rotation issues and the bats stay consistent, then Baltimore may be a dark horse in this division.
Regular Season Prediction: The Orioles will likely close with a record of 89-73 and come in third for the AL East.
New York Yankees:
The New York Yankees are currently a team looking toward the future. With players like Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Gleyber Torres burning a hole in Joe Girardi’s pocket these rookies are sure to make some headway for the former Bronx Bombers. The bullpen being as hot as it is will certainly keep the Yankees in the chase until the rookies can hit their stride. League All-Stars like Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman coming out of the pen, New York has little to worry about from opposing lineups in the later innings. This team is young and lean but veterans Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius will definitely make noise as well. The main problem facing the Yankees is the starting rotation however. After Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees aren’t sure what to expect from the rest of the starting starting 5.
Regular Season Prediction: In my opinion the Yankees with end with a record of 88-74 this season and place fourth in the AL East again.
Tampa Bay Rays:
Last but certainly not least are the Tampa Bay Rays. The former devil rays may just live up to that moniker this year as they face a long rebuilding & refitting process. They still have a couple of core players to build around in Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, and new acquired Wilson Ramos however. The addition of Nathan Eovaldi, and Colby Rasmus also help their cause but the Rays are still in need of more effective players if they want to keep up in the east.
Regular Season Prediction: The Rays are a young squad so who know what the future holds for them but this year I think they will end up last place in the AL East with a 70-92 record.
Writer: Sergio Marquez