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The A.L. East is known for being one the powerhouse division’s of Major League Baseball. Consisting of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays, the A.L. East is almost guaranteed to have a World Series favorite amongst it year in and year out.
The A.L. East has been around for 41 years dating back to it’s creation in 1969. Since then, 25 division winners have went on to play in the World Series, while winning the World Series 14 times. Since the inception of the Wild Card playoff birth, the A.L. East has produced 12 of the 16 wild card teams.
Enough history, let’s get on to the current status of teams and my prediction for the division winner. (Teams will be placed in the order I believe they will finish, starting with number five.)
5. Toronto Blue Jays
Not many people realize that the Blue Jays actually finished eight games above .500 last year. Probably because of the dominance of the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the division. Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells were hitting so many home runs for this club that it was hard for the pitching relief to screw up all the games. Bautista hit 54 while Wells hit 31. However, the 31 Wells hit is now going to be hit in Los Angeles. Plus you can’t count on Bautista having as successful year as last year. As far as pitching goes, losing Jeremy Accardo and Kevin Gregg in the pitching rotation will really hurt this team, especially with them both going to Baltimore. The only plus side I see in their pitching staff is the rising star of Ricky Romero. I don’t see this club taking a huge step forward this season.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
This may be a shocker to some, but the Rays are going to be hurting this year. The Rays lost Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Matt Garza and Rafael Soriano. Reuniting Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez won’t be as successful as they hope it will. Evan Longeria will help in the middle of the lineup and that will help in the batting rotation, but not enough. David Price and Jeremy Hellickson will help the pitching rotation keep them in games, but that won’t hold all season. This team has too many losses and not enough gains, leading up to an ultimately dissappointing year.
3. Baltimore Orioles
Call me crazy, but the Orioles will be a lot better than people think. They have gained a lot this year, and adding to the losses of Tampa and Toronto, this team will vault right into the third slot in the East. I mean, this team has added to it’s roster in huge ways. They grabbed Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee to help with power hitting while also getting JJ Hardy and Mark Reynolds for more RBI’s. They also boosted their pitching staff tremendously with the additions of Accardo, Gregg and closer Justin Duchscherer. It won’t be enough to get them in wild card contention. . . yet. This team is headed in the right direction, though.
2. New York Yankees
Because of the losses of Toronto and Tampa and the fact that I don’t think Baltimore is ready to take a huge step forward will help the Yanks finish second in the East. They had a horrible offseason for Yankee standards that started when Cliff Lee snubbed them and went to Philadelphia and then ended with Andy Pettitte calling it a career. The Yank’s pitching staff is just not going to be dependable this year. C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes will be the only dependable pitchers. A.J. Burnett is too up and down and the additions of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon won’t help much. The Yankees will really need their powerhouse lineup to carry them this year, but everyone knows you can’t win a World Series without a great pitching staff.
1. Boston Red Sox
While the Yanks were off trying to grab Lee, the Red Sox snuck in and grabbed another top free agent in Carl Crawford. He will be a huge addition in the bat’s category, not to mention Adrian Gonzalez. Getting those two in a lineup that already includes hitters like Dustin Pedroia, Jacob Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis is just insane. Hitting should not be a problem for this team. But then again, neither should pitching. Assuming Dice-K and Josh Beckett can have solid year’s, this team is primed for a run with a rotation with those two, Jon Lester, Jon Lackey and Clay Bucholz. Word just in though that Becket took a shot to the head and is having concussions symptoms, but it doesn’t seem too serious. It may not matter, though, because even if Beckett isn’t 100% to start the year, this team should still get by with hardly any trouble and become stronger when he would be 100%. But that’s just assuming the injury takes a turn for the worst. The Red Sox are a heavy favorite to win the American League Pennant, and rightfully so.
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