MLB News Update: American League East Update as of 8/26/13
1. Boston Red Sox (77-55), 2. Tampa Bay Rays (74-54), 3. Baltimore Orioles (70-59), 4. New York Yankees (69-61)
As of August 26, 2013
Tampa Bay and Boston continue their clash at the top of the American League East.
It was the type of series that could have allowed a surging New York Yankees club back into the race, but instead the Rays did their best to cool them off. On Friday night it was Chris Archer tossing seven innings of two-run ball and the Rays bats getting to Hiroki Kuroda, one of the best pitchers in the league this year. Kuroda was pummeled for seven runs in six innings and the Rays were able to take the opener. On Saturday, a couple of big left-handers got together and David Price registered the win to continue his solid season, while C.C. Sabathia was credited with the loss in what has been just a miserable year for him. New York managed to steal Sunday’s game in 11 innings, a 3-2 victory, but Evan Longoria homered for the third straight game and Tampa Bay was able to show why they are where they are. The Rays pitching staff is excellent and matched up against a Yankees club that has improved offensively, but still struggles. They were able to shut them down for most of the weekend. If it weren’t for Alex Cobb struggling against Robinson Cano on Sunday, the Yankees might have scored fewer than the two runs they managed in each of the first two games. Tampa Bay is just one game behind the Red Sox for the division lead. New York is now 3 1/2 out of the second Wild Card.
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Boston was able to bounce back this week after a rough stretch earlier in the month and all it took was a trip to California to get things right. After taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants, it looked like they might be in for a rough weekend when they got shutout on Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ricky Nolasco was dominant, shuttting out Boston through eight innings and allowing just two hits. But it was the Red Sox who got a great outing on Saturday when they needed it. John Lester put up his fourth straight outstanding start to lead Boston to a 4-2 victory and even the series. On Sunday night, the Red Sox teed off on Chris Capuano, Chris Withrow, and Brandon League. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli all homered and Jake Peavy tossed a complete game three hitter in the 8-1 win. The personality of this ball club is totally different from what we saw last season. Though I still think the Rays are the best team in the division, it’s clear that Boston is going to be in the postseason and will have an excellent chance to make some noise.
In Baltimore, the Orioles just keep floating, much like they have for most of the season. They’re currently 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the division and two games out of the final wild card spot. Tuesday night starts a huge three game set at Fenway Park and they’ve got a great chance to pick up some more ground with some head-to-head victories. They’ve got to take advantage of Ryan Dempster in Game 1, and if they can do that they should be able to take this series. Chris Tillman and John Lackey should be a great pitching matching in the finale on Thursday night. Baltimore wishes it was able to spread their offense out a little more this past weekend, after taking two of three games against the Oakland Athletics. The Orioles scored 10 runs on Friday and nine on Sunday in their two wins, but managed just one run in their 2-1 loss on Saturday. They’ll travel to the Bronx to take on the Yankees over the weekend.
As for the Blue Jays, they managed to snap their seven game losing streak by salvaging the final game of their series with the lowly Houston Astros. Toronto is doing exactly what bad baseball teams do. When they pitch, they don’t hit and when they hit, they don’t pitch. There really isn’t much to be said about this club that hasn’t been said before. They’re in line to get a top 10 draft pick this year and with the amount of money they spent and the quality prospects they traded away, that’s hard to imagine. It should be another interesting offseason in Toronto.