MLB News Update: American League East Update as of 8/13/13
1. Boston Red Sox (71-49), 2. Tampa Bay Rays (66-50), 3. Baltimore Orioles (65-53), 4. New York Yankees (60-57)
As of August 13, 2013
The Boston Red Sox have extended their lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.
It’s not that the Red Sox have been playing great baseball of late but they’ve benefitted from the Rays finally hitting a rut. It took everything they had to take two of three from the lowly Houston Astros, and over the weekend they ran into a Kansas City Royals team that is one of the hottest in baseball. The result was losing three of four but they still managed to pick up games as the Rays were swept by the Dodgers. Jake Peavy was lit up on Friday night to the tune of six earned runs on 10 hits in just five innings of work. Peavy failed to record a strike out and walked a batter. Not exactly the performance he was looking for in his second start in a Red Sox uniform. Before the season started you would guess that a nine game stretch against the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants would be a difficult task, but Boston has a great chance to pick up some more games against some mediocre ball clubs.
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Tampa Bay has lost five straight games after losing both games of a two game set to the Arizona Diamondbacks and following that up by getting embarrassed by the Dodgers over the weekend in Los Angeles. They blew a three run ninth inning lead on Friday night and lost on Fernando Rodney’s throwing error, and then were absolutely shut down by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on Saturday and Sunday. They’re now three games back of Boston in the divisional race but are still two games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the second Wild Card spot. Alex Cobb is slated to return to the rotation on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners. Cobb was pitching extremely well before landing on the disabled list with a concussion suffered back on June 15th against the Royals. His return to the rotation gives Tampa Bay even more depth, which is hard to believe given how deep they already are. They can get healthy in a hurry with six home games against the Mariners and Blue Jays this week.
The Baltimore Orioles keep floating under the radar but they’re just two games behind the Rays in the Wild Card race and five back of Boston in the American League East. They’d like to take these final two games in Arizona before returning home for a huge nine game home stand. Baltimore will host the Colorado Rockies, Rays, and Oakland Athletics during that stretch and they could vault themselves into a playoff position if they can get hot. Scott Feldman was solid through 5 1/3 innings on Monday night but had to leave the game because of a high pitch count. He watched the bullpen allow five runs and the Orioles eventually fall by a final of 7-6. Chris Davis hit his 43rd home run of the season in the loss. They’ll look to Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman to help them take the series over the next two days.
New York is just 4-6 in their last 10 ball games but winners of two straight they’ve moved back to three games over .500 for the year. Sitting at 60-57 the Yankees are 9.5 out in the division race and 6.5 behind Tampa Bay for the final Wild Card spot. They got another dominant performance from Hiroki Kuroda last night and he continues to lead this rotation. Kuroda has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year and with the way C.C. Sabathia has pitched the Yankees would be dead in the water if it weren’t for him. Ivan Nova has also helped give the Yankees some solid pitching but they need Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and Andy Pettitte to step up their games before it’s too late. Mariano Rivera has blown three consecutive saves and was unavailable in Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. It almost cost the Yankees who barely hung on to win by a score of 2-1. New York is going to need to win these games against the Rays and Red Sox if they have any chance of getting back in this thing but unless Sabathia gets going that won’t be possible. He’ll take the hill on Tuesday against the Angels as he looks to improve upon his 9-10 record and 4.73 ERA.
It will be interesting to see what the Blue Jays do this offseason. After going all in for 2013 and watching this thing crash and burn right in front of their eyes it has to be a very frustrating situation for ownership that has spent a lot of money on this club. They’re 10 games under .500 and the biggest reason for that is that they haven’t gotten the performances they were expecting from the pitchers they acquired. R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle have all been below average. Dickey leads the club with nine wins on the year but he’s two games under .500 and pitching to a 4.46 ERA one year after winning 20 games and winning the Cy Young. Johnson looks absolutely done as the once dominant right hander is 2-8 in just 16 starts this year with an ERA over six. Buehrle has pitched much better lately but he’s still got an ERA close to 4.50. You can’t win games pitching like that regardless of the type of offense you put out there. They’ve got plenty of fire power but hitting will always hit cold streaks. You need to pitch consistently if you want to be a contender and this year the Blue Jays just don’t have it.