If the Baltimore Orioles are to take control of the AL East, the time is now. The rest of the teams are all facing inconsistency and now injuries.
The Boston Red Sox lineup looks nothing like it once did on opening day, and it is hard to believe they are the defending World Series champions sitting in last place. They almost look like they have given up on a lot of the players that have helped bring home the championship and decided to go with a much younger look. They even DFA’d A.J. Pierzynski to make room for players who will make a difference not only for the last seventy games but for years to come.
Their archrivals, the New York Yankees, are showing their age with players going on the disabled list at a pace the team cannot keep up with. The pitching was questionable for a while and now the lineup is joining them, with their latest players Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Beltran going on the DL in the last 48 hours.
There has not been much excitement this year in the team that many are curious about, and many are wondering if the Tampa Bay Rays have anything up their sleeves. Many expect them to be sellers looking for a big trading package for the team’s ace David Price. However, if they still find themselves without a buyer as the trade deadline creeps up, expect them to hold onto the pitcher until the end of the season and see if they can make a run at what looks to be a sloppy division race.
The only team that should give the Orioles a run for the division title are the Toronto Blue Jays, but lately they have slowed down and were hit by the injury bug. Slugger Edwin Encarnacion and infielder Adam Lind are both expected to miss six to eight weeks and losing that type of offense will hurt the Blue Jays for an extended amount of time. Unless they trade for a player that could help mend the problem they ran into, they could be looking up at the Orioles until October and maybe even saying goodbye to another postseason due to the great amount of talent that will be competing for the two AL Wild-Card slots.
The Orioles’ best chance to lock up the AL East race is now. If they were to win it in September, now could be an important time they look back on. The rest of the division is in shambles where as they are picking up the pieces they did not have for the first few months. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is looking like his old self again and the rest of the offense is dialing in at the plate, but for any of that to matter the pitching needs to get on the same page. Heck, while the rest of the AL East is down, they can sneak in and get a pitcher while the others are looking to see if any of their players will be helpful in the second half of the season.
Despite not showing much activity the Orioles actually came out as winners after the trade deadline, with pitchers Jon Lester and David Price leaving the division. Orioles tickets should increase if the team stays atop the AL East.