Poll: Who Will Win The American League East?

Tonight at Camden Yards, the Orioles and Yankees begin a four-game series that will serve as the most important September baseball in Baltimore in 15 years.  The Yankees seemingly had the AL East in hand at the All-Star break, but the Bombers have won just 20 of 45 games since July 19 and now sit just one game ahead of the surprising O's, who refuse to fade away. 

Despite a -21 run differential, the Orioles have relied on a superb bullpen and an astonishing 24-7 record in one-run games to stay within sight of their first postseason berth (and winning season) since 1997.  Predicted by most pundits to finish last in the AL East and then predicted to fall back to earth after a strong start, Baltimore has instead gotten even better, posting a 21-11 record in August and September.  While Adam Jones has enjoyed a breakout year, the O's lineup has been largely boosted by hitters going on timely hot streaks — Nick Markakis has a .902 OPS since being moved to the leadoff spot, Mark Reynolds has a .917 OPS and 10 homers since July 19 and unheralded bench players like Lew Ford and Nate McLouth have stepped up with key hits. 

The Orioles have 10 games remaining against the Yankees and Rays but otherwise has a fairly favorable schedule over the rest of the season, with only a three-game series in Oakland standing out as another battle with a playoff contender.  The O's do have six games remaining against the Red Sox, however, and it would be ironic if Boston avenged their 2011 collapse in Baltimore by spoiling the Orioles' postseason hopes.

Injuries have played a major role in the Yankees' slide, as C.C. Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte have all spent time on the DL, and in the cases of Rivera and Gardner, missed much of the season.  Beyond health, however, New York has also been plagued by a lack of situational hitting, as the Yankees have had trouble scoring with runners in position.  The Yankees' main offensive weapon is the solo home run — not a bad problem to have, but it leads to a somewhat one-dimensional offense that has issues generating runs when the ball isn't flying out of the park.

The Yankees have just seven remaining games against the Rays and Orioles and also face the A's in a three-game series in September.  Beyond those matchups, the Yankees' other 16 games are against the Twins, Red Sox and Blue Jays, so there's plenty of opportunity for the Bombers to re-establish their lead atop the division.

With so much media focus within the division going to the Orioles' Cinderella run, the Yankees' possible collapse and the Red Sox and Blue Jays' disappointing seasons, the Rays' surge back into the playoff race has flown under the radar.  Tampa Bay was just 49-47 on July 22 in large part due to a lack of offensive production, as the likes of Luke Scott and Carlos Pena were underperforming while Evan Longoria was on the disabled list.  Since that date, however, the Rays are 26-15 and sit just 2.5 games back of first place.  With Longoria back and one of the league's best starting rotations in fine form, the Rays are positioned to make another playoff appearance. 

The Rays have nine games remaining against the O's and Yankees, plus a four-game set with the White Sox and a three-game series with the Rangers beginning on Friday.

The Orioles currently hold the top wild card slot, with the Rays 1.5 games behind Oakland for the second wild card.  It's very possible that the two division runners-up could make the postseason anyway, though obviously all three teams would prefer to win the AL East and avoid the sudden-death wild card game.  Which club will end up atop baseball's toughest division come the end of the regular season?

 


Full Story | 45 Comments | Categories: MLBTR Polls

45 Responses to Poll: Who Will Win The American League East? Leave a Reply

  1. MB923 3 years ago

    All 3 tie for first, The Tigers and White Sox tie in the central with the same record as the other 3 teams, and the A’s tie all 5 other teams as another WC spot

    Bud Selig goes ape*

    • rainyperez 3 years ago

      I wouldn’t mind this scenario just to see what MLB would do and react.

    • Lionel Bossman Craft 3 years ago

      I want that, lets have some December baseball lol.

      • $17867741 3 years ago

        Forcing the 2nd wildcard wasn’t a good idea for this season, simply due to scheduling issues. However, any future complications due to ties would be Selig’s dream scenario. TV Ratings for those games would be crazy high.

        Also, I don’t know why people have an obsession to exaggerate the situation. Even a complicated tie breaker would result in a maximum of 2 extra games. In fact, if MLB started it’s season one week earlier, there wouldn’t be November baseball, let alone December baseball …

        Any further ties will likely be dealt by using seasonal statistics.

        Examples:
        – Which team had a better record against each other?
        – Which team has a better run differential?
        etc….

        • MB923 3 years ago

          I don’t mind the 2nd wild card, but they should have waited until next year to put it in.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        LOL. yeah, lets see them play baseball in snow shoes.

    • Karkat 3 years ago

      I want this to happen so hard just to show that shoehorning the second wild card spot this season was an awful idea

  2. MB923 3 years ago

    Luckily for the Yankees, assuming it’s a very tight race til the very end of the season, they get the Red Sox at home to end the year whereas the Orioles and Rays play each other.

    Other good story for the Yankees is I think arguably they have the easiest shchedule against non division opponents

    Yankees play A’s and Twins
    O’s play A’s and Mariners
    Rays play Rangers (starts Friday) and White Sox

    I”ll say the Yankees win the East by 2 games over Baltimore, Rays fall 4 back

    I would not be surprised if any of these 3 teams came out on top first.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      Yankees and A’s play a 3 game set as well.

      • MB923 3 years ago

        I’m mistaken, Yankees play A’s, not Mariners. I’ve edited it. Thanks.

  3. Karkat 3 years ago

    As much as I hate to admit it, I just can’t see the Orioles keeping pace with the Yankees this whole month.

    • MB923 3 years ago

      People were saying the O’s were going to tank since June. I would not be surprised to see them compete and win the division.

      • Karkat 3 years ago

        I’d love nothing more (well, okay, I’d love plenty of things more, but I’d like this a lot) than to see the Orioles come out on top, but I just don’t understand how they’ve even maintained it to this point, let alone think it’s sustainable for the remainder of the season.

        • LazerTown 3 years ago

          I’m in the same boat. When I look at who they have on their team, I don’t see how they are any better then The Red Sox or the Jays, let alone the Yankees or Rays.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            ATM, the key is the NYY ran into an orioles that have multiple people hot while the NYY have key people cold.

            Reynolds hits in bunches and gets red hot, he can carry a team for a very short time and bury them for weeks. Right now? Reynolds is red hot.. Everything he hits is a lightning rod, think he has like 7 HR over the last week now after 1 tonight. Then, he may get cold tomorrow and not hit another the rest of the season, it’s his career path.

          • Rangersalchamps 3 years ago

            ” I don’t see how they are better then the Red Sox or jays,” uhhhh lazertown have you watched baseball this year buddy? Lol

          • LazerTown 3 years ago

            I have. My comment is based on what their roster looks like. The O’s have stunned alot of people in baseball and their analysis is probably pretty close to mine.

          • Karkat 3 years ago

            Or the run differential, my god.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        Duquette is the reason, tho showalter is leading the charge.

        Duquette is the absolute master at picking pieces off of the discard pile and right now? Look over how those pieces have fit in.. Who would have thought Randy Wolf.. of all the discards would be helping anybody? Much less in the AL East and Joe Saunders?

        Duquette is a magician with picking out the leftovers around the league, he might get carried away with it at times, but he can pick and choose good ones many times when other GM’s miss them and they are all paying off right now,

        This team isn’t going to fold.

        • You went your whole post without mentioning Brian Matusz?

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            LOL yeah.. next thing u know?? The Duke will call up “The Dobber” Brian Daubach he once found in the Indy leagues and he will fit right in and help ’em win a few games..

            Said before the season started he would find these types, but how well they fit in and produced this year has been phenomenal. next year? It’s going to take a bit more production from the system, or some more finds of those types and as have warned Orioles fans since he was hired.. beware some.. Duquette can get carried away some with his finds..

            For now? forget it and enjoy the ride. I haven’t had this much fun watching a non Red Sox, or Marlins team in years.

          • Speaking of the Red Sox—if the Orioles are for real long-term, that could spell big trouble for Boston—Tampa Bay isn’t going away either.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            Hey… To me?? My favorite days were when Boston, Baltimore and the NYY were fighting it out to the last week back in the early-late 70’s.

            My favorite all time manager? Earl Weaver :-)

          • Somewhere up there, Weaver and Billy Martin are arguing.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            They were not friends and another? Weaver and umpire Ron Lucciano.. They really didn’t like each other. If you read books on older players, people in the game? Read Lucciano’s book sometime if you want a good take from “behind the mask” as Lucciano used to toss Weaver quite regularly, the league stopped putting Lucciano’s crew in Oriole games eventually they disliked each other so and IMO? it was genuine.

            Had the privelege to meet and talk fairly extensively with Lucciano in the mid 80’s when he was doing that Senior league for old ball players in florida and he was barnstorming. he was in the stands actually at Winter Haven (red sox) and chatted with him for around 30 minutes. Quite a colorful character and asked him about Weaver. I got the impression his disdain for Weaver was quite intense.

            He said Weaver had the foulest mouth of any human being had ever met was one of the things recall the most.

            Not intending to dice on “the gerbil” as Lucciano called him, as I liked him immensely as a manager and Lucciano was my favorite umpire in the 70’s, up until he retired.

            Anyway.. Another off topic babble of mine from a BB great met once upon a time…

          • Guys, Weaver isn’t dead!!!

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            I know that :-) he has just been out of the game for years.

            Lucciano is not with us any longer however.

          • Except Weaver is still alive.

    • basemonkey 3 years ago

      People said the same thing last year in Septemeber with so many games vs the Red Sox. You know about the Sox collapse last year. The Os had a lot to do with that. I don’t know how he does it, but Showalter just knows how to get his teams to finish the season strong, even if there’s no logical reason why.

  4. John LeClair 3 years ago

    Red Sox

    • MB923 3 years ago

      The poll asked who will win, not who will come in last.

  5. iheartyourfart 3 years ago

    yo, but red sox tho

  6. YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

    It’s just amazing that the O’s are where they are w/ a team in the bottom 5 in ERA (for starters), UZR fielding, offensive WAR, OBP, K%, SB, Hits, Bat AVG and Runs Scored. Amazing. They are at or above .500 vs all playoff teams except the Angels and Rangers.

  7. YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

    I hope the answer to this questions is the Yankees and that they gathering around each other and make a strong push into the post-season and end it with #28 in hand. However, I would be a “homer” if I didn’t acknowledge how this team has flaws. Hopefully, we can get hot and stay hot for the next 2 months.

  8. I think that it will be the Yankees by a game or two over the Orioles – aka the team of how the heck are they still in this when all of the stats say they should be heading the other way?

    Either way, Buck Showalter should be no worse than runner-up for AL Manager of the Year; he has changed the culture in that clubhouse.

  9. basemonkey 3 years ago

    As evidenced tonight, the Orioles are playing out of their minds right now. As evidenced by last year’s trouncing of the Red Sox out of the playoffs, Showalter just knows how to get his teams to finish very strong.

  10. Rabbitov 3 years ago

    I want to believe it’ll be the Orioles, but I have a feeling it’ll be the Red Sox through the sheer force of will of Valentine’s ego.

  11. Let’s have a poll on the player who commits the 500,000th error.

  12. MB923 3 years ago

    In 1996, the average Yankee attendance was about 27,000 which is what the O’s average this year. This is not like it’s a 1 team thing. Happens for many sport franchises.

  13. OrangeCards 3 years ago

    This is rich.

  14. basemonkey 3 years ago

    It’s a sleeping giant. Baltimore has always been a baseball town. And it just woke up.

  15. johnsilver 3 years ago

    The Orioles have had a fairly large base here on this site and drew decently at Camden yards as well as at memorial stadium before that. attendance has never been a bad issue like it has been at places where teams that even win sometimes like Tampa bay and oakland and cannot draw, except when big ticket teams like the NYY and boston come to town.

  16. Andrew Ochs 3 years ago

    That;s funny coming from Yankees fans considering most Yankee fans don’t know where New York is on a map.

  17. rudypoo32 3 years ago

    yeah, because of the grand prix happening over the weekend the traffic was ridiculous on the beltway and no one could make the games. nice try though

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