The American League East now has five teams within 4.5 games. The Yankees and Rays are tied for first place -- and the honor of being tied for the worst first-place team in baseball -- while the Blue Jays sit 4.5 back and boast the best record for a last-place team in baseball.
If anyone wants to argue whether this division is so great that the teams just beat each other up or it's just real bad, have at it. I'm not too worried about such opinions. Instead, I'm intrigued at two particular facets here: 1. No one seems to want to win this thing; 2. The potential for a five-team race heading into September.
Point one obviously contains at least a modicum of sarcasm. Of course the teams all "want" to win. It's just that, well, consider ...
The Yankees have lost six of their past seven.
The Red Sox had a stretch where they lost 15 of 22.
The Orioles had a stretch where they lost 14 of 22.
The Blue Jays have currently lost eight of their past 10.
Meanwhile, we have the Rays. They've lost Alex Cobb for the rest of the season, Drew Smyly (maybe) for the rest of the season, Matt Moore is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, Jake McGee just recently returned from offseason surgery and Ben Zobrist was traded this past offseason. And more. Yet here they are, tied for first.
I'm not sure the Rays have staying power because that offense is still lacking some punch while the rotation is in tatters. Then again, I can't name a single team in the AL East I actually trust to win the thing. There are flawed rosters, major injury concerns, patchwork rotations, patchwork bullpens and, yes, there's also lots of talent sprinkled throughout.
It seems like the AL East is going to be up for grabs, so that should be fun. I don't think we can get to September with all five teams in contention, but we should see at least three and maybe even four.
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