Each year in the second-half of the MLB season, some teams take off while others seem to simply falter. We’re now about 100 games into the season with 62 left to go. Here’s what’s happening in the AL.
In New York, New York, Yankee fans are riding high as the Bronx Bombers have quickly overtaken the Red Sox. The Yanks, having won nine of ten, presently hold a 2.5 game lead over the guys from Beantown. The Sox are 4- 6 over the same stretch. In that time, New York has hammered away at Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland. The Red Sox have struggled against Texas, dropping three, and versus Toronto, losing two-of-three. They did beat the Orioles two-of-three and took the Athletics in last night’s game. The Red Sox pitching has been okay but the team bats have been fairly silent. The Yankee pitching and hitting have been on target and closer Mariano Rivera has notched six saves in the last ten games. Over that time, he has not blown a save or lost a game. On the season he has just one BS and two loses. Does third place Tampa Bay have a shot? They’re 7.5 games behind and need to start winning on the road. It looks like a tough uphill battle for the Rays. And I doubt they’ll be able to contend for the Wild Card spot.
Detroit leads the White Sox by two and the Twins by three. All three are 4- 6 over their last ten games. The Tigers have been doing it with pitching. Detroit middle reliever Bobby Seay has performed well, appearing in 44 games, pitching 32.1 innings, and notching an ERA of 3.06. The best hitters on the team are Miguel Cabrera (.326 BA, 19 HR, 53 RBI), Curtis Granderson (.260 BA, 20 HR, 47 RBI) and Brandon Inge (.254 BA, 21 HR, 58 RBI). All three can play long ball at any time. The second place Chicago White Sox and third place Minnesota Twins are both having a tough time stopping opponents from scoring runs. The Sox have allowed 453 runs and scored just 455. The Twins have given up even more—471. They’ve crossed the plate a total of 488 times. I like Detroit at this point. They have some gas in their tank and a pitching staff that’s coming through. One concern, their road record stands at 21-30, which is one of the worst in the league. They play about half of their remaining games on the road. Think they can crank it up when they’re away from home?
Will the Wild Card come out of the AL West this season? There’s a chance that one of three teams will end up with the second-best mark in the American League. The Angels and Rangers continue to win as they duke it out for the top spot in the division. Texas is 2.5 games behind the first place Los Angeles Angels. They are also a mere 2.5 games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card spot. Texas is in that position partly because they swept Boston this past week. I like Texas in the West. I think that they can finish first. Along with possessing solid pitching, they can score runs. The Mariners, who also put a good rotation on the mound, lack run scoring, while the Angels can put a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard but their pitching has been suspect. The best of the starting pitching for Los Angeles is Jared Weaver (10- 3, 3.57 ERA). But there’s a steep fall off after that. The closing spot has been problematic. Brian Fuentes has blown four saves in 40 attempts and has earned an ERA of 3.79. Those are not good numbers. Think the Angels are missing K-Rod these days? For the Rangers, save artist Frank Francisco has a 2.28 ERA, making 15 of 17 saves. One problem, he’s out with pneumonia. But he will be back. On offense, Michael Young, Marlon Byrd, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler are all producing. I think this is the Rangers’ year. For the Angels, it could be the Wild Card while the Seattle Mariners miss the post season once again
Just stick a fork in these teams, they are done—Toronto, Baltimore, Kansas City and Oakland. I’ve kept the fourth place Cleveland Indians, who are 11 games out, off this list. That’s because the 11 games look surmountable but when you consider the stats, especially when it comes to pitching, they have a huge hill to climb.
Next, I’ll take a look at the Senior Circuit.