30 Aug MLB Playoff Races: American League East
As we inch closer and closer to September, playoff races are heating up around Major League Baseball. Over the next 2 weeks I will be breaking down each division, discussing only the teams that I believe are in postseason contention.
Toronto Blue Jays: 1st Place
The Jays are the reigning AL East champs and appear to be looking to repeat. They have been my pick to win the East for months and I’m sticking with it. Their offense has been one baseballs best over the last 3 seasons and their pitching has finally caught up. Their bullpen is stacked and held together by young flame thrower Roberto Osuna, who has been lights out since the beginning of 2015. Coming into 2016, there were definite questions and concerns in the starting rotation, however they’ve been answered and squashed. Happ, Estrada and Sanchez are easily the best top 3 in any AL East rotation and Liriano/Stroman is as good as it gets as 4/5 starters. R.A. Dickey is fortunate to still have his rotation spot due to the innings limit that has been put on Aaron Sanchez. The Jays highly criticized 6 man rotation will certainly play a big role in whether they can hold onto the top spot in the division.
Boston Red Sox: 2nd Place
The Red Sox lineup has been the most feared in all of MLB this season. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are some of the best, young talented players in the game today and will be part of this Boston team for years to come. I think the most remarkable thing about this season for Boston is what David Ortiz is doing. At 40, he’s arguably having the best year of his career, is in the MVP conversation and is set to retire after the season. One of the few things that has gone wrong for Boston is that David Price has been pretty disappointing this season after signing that huge contract this offseason. It’s safe to say that the saving grace for this pitching staff is Rick Porcello. He is 18-3 and is in the CY Young conversation. My thoughts on the Sox is that they’ll finish 2nd in the East and host the Wild Card game in October. The question will be who starts that game, Porcello or Price?
Baltimore Orioles: 3rd Place
The expectations entering 2016 were not so high for Baltimore. There was no doubt about the power in their lineup but their starting pitching has been horrendous for years now and there was very little reason to expect it to be better in 2016. Tillman, Gausman and Bundy have all had their shining moments at times this season, yet I am still not a believer in this team making the post season. Their closer Zach Britton has only had one appearance since April in which he has allowed an earned run and believe it or not, he’s in the CY Young discussion. The lineup is very scary, especially with 40 HR from Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado playing at an MVP level and Jonathan Schoop quietly becoming one of the best 2B in all of baseball. There are 5 teams chasing them, who in my opinion are all better, meaning that if Baltimore doesn’t find a way to start winning more games away from Camden Yards, their lead in the 2nd wild card spot will continue to dwindle.