With all due respect to the rest of MLB, the A.L. East is the league’s hottest division. In the last 7 days, the division as a whole won 8 of the 9 inter-division series (the Orioles swept the Jays in the only intra-division series of the week), posting a ridiculous 19-7 record (.731) over that span.
Here’s a quick look at what transpired for each of the teams in the last week:
Baltimore Orioles - After getting knocked out of first place last weekend, the Orioles responded by going 5-1 this past week to pull back in to a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays, and for the first time since 2005, they are six games over .500. The only mark on their otherwise incredible week was a Friday night loss to the Athletics, but even that yielded this fantastic highlight of home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg tackling a half-naked fan who had run around the base path. Saturday saw the Orioles harken back to their glory days, as they unveiled Frank Robinson’s statue in the Garden of Greats at Camden Yards, the first in a series of six that will be unveiled once a month throughout the season.
Boston Red Sox - One week ago today, the Sox stood at 4-10, dead last in the A.L. East (and only the K.C. Royals kept them from having the worst record in MLB.) Today? They’re still bringing up the rear in the A.L. East, but after a 6-1 run against the Twins and White Sox, there is hope once again in Boston. Prior to Jake Peavy shutting down the Red Sox bats on Saturday, they had scored 44 runs in their previous 5 wins (8.8 per game), while batting .342 (65-190) as a team. The starting rotation notched four quality starts, capped off by Jon Lester outdueling Jake Peavy on Saturday. The week ahead should provide them with a chance to show where they are heading this season as they return home for three game sets against the Athletics and Orioles. Before the end of today, the Sox plans for Aaron Cook should also be revealed, as he can become a free agent tomorrow (May 1st) if he is not in the big leagues. Given the way he has performed at Pawtucket (3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in 4 starts), it wouldn’t take long for him to find work if the Sox made the mistake of not recalling him. He is slated to start for the Pawsox tonight against Columbus.
New York Yankees - The Evil Empire got the official word on Tuesday that Michael Pineda will need surgery to repair the torn anterior labral in his right shoulder, and won’t make his regular season debut for the Yankees until sometime in 2013. This news would be a lot more devastating if not for the fact that the Yankees rotation is set to get a boost from the return of Andy Pettitte. The Yankees were the only A.L. East team to play break even baseball outside of the division, dropping 2 of 3 to start the week before salvaging the week by taking 2 out of 3 from the Tigers. If someone would remind Derek Jeter that it’s 2012, and his career should be winding down, not getting rejuvenated, I for one would greatly appreciate it. As long as he stays healthy, the Yankees will remain a force in the division.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Tampa spent the week making mince meat out of the alleged powerhouses of the A.L. West. They started the week off by sweeping the Anaheim Angels (I wonder if Pujols regrets jumping ship yet?), and then took 2 out of 3 from the league-leading Rangers over the weekend. David Price was absolutely brilliant in his two starts. First, he threw a complete game shutout against the Angels on Tuesday, and then he followed that up by picking up his first career win against the Rangers last night, giving up only 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings to the most fearsome lineup in baseball. With the way the Rays have played so far, Joe Maddon has the inside track for his third Manager of the Year award. The Rays continue their march through the A.L. West with a 4-game series against the Mariners and three games against Oakland this week.
Toronto Blue Jays - The Blue Jays started the week off by completing a 4 game sweep of the K.C. Royals, before running in to the buzz saw that is the Baltimore Orioles. They responded by taking 2 out of 3 from the Mariners, and currently are in 4th place, one-half game behind the Yankees, and 2 and a half games out of first. On Saturday, Brandon Morrow had his most dominating performance since Opening Day, racking up 9 Ks while not giving up a single run. With warmer days coming, manager John Farrell said that is the type of performance that he expects Morrow to give each time out. If he finally lives up to hype and potential, 2012 might not only be a banner year for him, but for the Jays, too. He’ll get his next chance to shine against the Angels over the weekend. The Blue Jays start their week off by sending Kyle Drabek to the mound to take on the Texas Rangers.
What’s your thoughts on the A.L. East? Think another division is better?