The Blue Jays had a decent week, going 3-3 on their West Coast trip. Unfortunately, the Yankees are back to killing their opponents again.
American league East
New York Yankees 37-23 (0 GB) +115 run differential
I wrote last week that the Yankees appeared to be slowing down. They were 12-13 since the middle of May (which is a completely arbitrary starting point, I know) rolling into this week, making it seem like their hot start was a mirage. Uhhhhh so much for that. The Yankees kicked the ever-loving shit out of Boston and Baltimore at Yankee Stadium, improving their run differential by a whopping 45 runs over six games.
They lost on Tuesday to Boston, then just went off. The Yankees scored 55 runs over their next five games, knocking around Rick Porcello, David Price, Dylan Bundy, and absolutely murdering Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman. Aaron Judge led the way, going 12-for-24 with three homers and three doubles, and Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorious, Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro, Chris Carter, and Gary Sanchez all posted an OPS over 1.000 over those six games.
We keep waiting and waiting for the Yankees to stop hitting, but we’re two-and-a-half months into the season and it hasn’t happened yet thanks to this fuckin’ guy…
Boston Red Sox 34-28 (4 GB) +28 run differential
As I mentioned above, the Red Sox were one of the two teams who got sucked into New York’s path of destruction. It wasn’t quite as bad as what happened to Baltimore, but the Red Sox got wrecked and lost some ground in the division. After the Yankees series, the Sox welcomed the Tigers to Fenway and took two of three, salvaging their week.
Of note, David Price got hammered by the Yankees, and has now been pretty bad in two of three starts since coming off of the disabled list. I don’t think there’s any reason to panic about Price just yet, because it’s obviously going to take some time for him to get into a groove. The bigger issue for Boston is offence. Their rotation is strong, but the bats were supposed to carry the team to a dominant season. That hasn’t been the case so far, as Mitch Moreland owns the team’s best OPS at .863.
Playoff-like atmosphere at tonight's Red Sox / Yankkes game, which explains why David Price got rocked.— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) June 9, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays 34-32 (6 GB) +13 run differential
I’m not sure if we should consider it finally going on a bit of a run or just taking advantage of two bad teams, but the Rays went 5-2 last week and are tied with Cleveland for the second wild card. They hosted the White Sox and won two of three and then took three of four from Oakland over the weekend.
Unfortunately, the Rays were dealt some bad news this week as Kevin Kiermaier suffered a hip injury and will miss a minimum of two months. The Rays have already had a hell of a time with injuries this season, and losing Kiermaier, who ranks second on the team in WAR largely because of his absurdly good defence, is about as bad of a blow as the team can afford.
Baltimore Orioles 31-30 (6.5 GB) -40 run differential
Everything started out nicely for the Orioles last week. They swept their two-game mini series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, dropped a makeup game against the Washington Nations, and ultimately held a respectable 31-28 record heading into a weekend series in New York. Then everything went to hell.
The O’s got pounded. Like, absolutely killed. It wasn’t even close. Honestly, it looked like Baltimore just picked 25 random fans from the audience to play the Yankees. Holy crap.
They got shelled 8-2 in the first game with their ace Dylan Bundy pitching, and it got worse from there. Much, much worse. Chris Tillman threw batting practice for the Yankees in what appeared to be more of a preparation for the home run derby than an actual major league baseball game with implications on the standings. Tillman was drilled for nine runs over just one-and-one-third innings. He now owns an 8.01 ERA for the season. Kevin Gausman followed it up the next day with a three-and-one-third inning performance in which he allowed eight runs on seven hits and six walks. He now owns a 6.49 ERA for the season.
Baltimore is still in fourth place in the division, but it appears that won’t last much longer. The basement is calling their name, and based on that -40 run differential, it’s where they belong.
Toronto Blue Jays 31-32 (7.5 GB) -5 run differential
The Blue Jays embarked on a trip to the West Coast last week, a place where they generally tent to struggle. After dropping two of three to the A’s, Toronto managed to win two of three in Seattle, ultimately breaking even for the trip. Not bad, but not great either. Since the Yankees went off last week, the Jays fell behind two more games in the standings.
Josh giving the home crown exactly what they wanted. pic.twitter.com/dDuX9GRmTn— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) June 11, 2017
The Wild Card
Boston Red Sox 34-28 (+2 GU)
Cleveland 31-29 (0GB)
Tampa Bay Rays 34-32 (0GB)
Baltimore Orioles 31-30 (0.5 GB)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 33-33 (1 GB)
Toronto Blue Jays 31-32 (1.5 GB)
Seattle Mariners 31-33 (2 GB)
Detroit Tigers 30-32 (2 GB)
Texas Rangers 30-32 (2 GB)
Kansas City Royals 28-34 (4 GB)
Oakland Athletics 27-36 (5.5 GB)
Chicago White Sox 26-35 (5.5 GB)
As I mentioned above, the Jays are still in last in the AL Beast. Thanks to the O’s being trash, that probably won’t last for much longer, but it’s going to be a very, very hard task to jump Boston and New York at the top. The goal now, realistically, should be to overtake Tampa Bay for third in the division, which would prime the Jays for the second wild card.
Over the past month, Toronto has climbed over just about everyone in the AL wild card race and now sit only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. The schedule over the new couple weeks is pretty light — the White Sox, Rangers, Royals, and O’s — so the Jays badly need to put together a solid streak in order to set themselves up for a run down the stretch.
Scooter Gennett became the first Red to hit four homers in a game last week. Amazingly, he only had 38 coming into the game, meaning after that, 9.5 per cent of his career homers came in that one game. According to Reddit, it would be the same as Barry Bonds having a 72 home run game.
According to a major league GM, Bryce Harper is going to earn more than $400 million on his free agent contract. Are you excited for him to slot into that Yankees lineup behind Aaron Judge?! Fuck!!!