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Around The League: Yankees Struggle Through West Coast Trip, Blue Jays Manage To Gain Ground

The Blue Jays had a pretty mediocre week, splitting a two-game set with the Rays and getting dropped in a weekend series by the White Sox, but they still somehow managed to pick up two games in the division race. Thanks, Yankees!

American League East

New York Yankees 38-29 (0 GB) +108 run differential

I guess the Yankees were feeling charitable this week. Or, ya know, their ridiculous offence that featured a wealth of overachieving players is finally slowing down. Regardless! The Yankees dropped six games in a row on a West Coast Of Death road trip through Anaheim and Oakland. The Yanks got mediocre pitching as usual, but this time their bats didn’t compensate for it.

Last week, New York kicked the shit out of Boston and Baltimore, pushing their lead in the division to four games. Now? That ugly week on the road has them in a tie for first with the Red Sox.

Perhaps the most worrying part of this stretch for the Yankees was a leak in the usually-very-sturdy bullpen. Four of their five losses featured the ‘pen blowing a lead in the seventh inning or later, and the only time it didn’t was on Sunday, because another poor Masahiro Tanaka start resulted in meant there was no lead to blow.

Boston Red Sox 39-30 (0 GB) +29 run differential

If you have a cold week, somebody is going to take advantage of it. Welcome to the AL Beast. Within just one week, the Red Sox erased a four-game deficit in the division and now sit tied with the Yankees at the top of the AL East. And, to be honest, I don’t think they’re going to look back. We haven’t seen the best from Boston yet this season, as the team has struggled through injuries to their rotation and inconsistent offence from its lineup.

But the Sox showed well this week. No, I’m not taking about the four games against the shitty Phillies, I’m taking about the impressive series win in Houston. Drew Pomeranz held Houston’s offence down on Friday, Rick Porcello got destroyed on Saturday, and on Sunday, the Sox managed to squeak out a win that showed off a strong offence and effective bullpen.

The guys who need to hit, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts, are all heating up, the rotation is finally somewhere near full health, and the bullpen roles are sorting themselves out. Craig Kimbrel is literally unhittable in the ninth, Matt Barnes has inexplicably become very good in the eighth, and Joe Kelly has evolved into a good fireballer, too.

Tampa Bay Rays 37-35 (3.5 GB) +17 run differential

Like the Jays, the Rays managed to pick up ground in the division because the Yankees were feeling charitable. Tampa played five games and won two of them, splitting with Toronto and dropping two of three to the Tigers in Detroit.

The Rays seem like they should be better. Like, they aren’t bad at all, as they currently occupy a playoff spot, but two games above .500 and not really threatening in the division seems subpar for a team with such a potent offence. Pitching has really held this team back. Chris Archer and Alex Cobb have been good and Jacob Faria has filled in nicely, but Jake Odorizzi has been a mixed back and Enny Ramirez has been drilled a few times too. The bullpen has also been a journey for Tampa Bay, as the team frequently gives away leads or lets games slip away in the later innings.

One thing worth noting is holy shit Logan Morrison. Last week, he mashed a 1.458 OPS and is up to 21 home runs on the season. Who does this guy think he is? Justin Smoak?

Baltimore Orioles 34-34 (4.5 GB) -45 run differential 

It wasn’t quite as hilarious as the shit kicking they took last week, but the Trash Birds continued their slow climb down the standings with a 3-4 week. They dropped three of four to the White Sox, but compensated for it with a weekend series win against the Cardinals at home.

Chris Davis was put on the 10-day DL this weekend with a strained oblique. That would explain why Davis has had such a rough time at the plate. Over the last month, the O’s slugger is hitting a measly .604 OPS, well below what we’ve come to expect from him.

But yeah, anyways. The Orioles are now just one game above the Jays for last in the division. They have a four-game series against Cleveland coming up and will face the Jays next week. By then? I wouldn’t be surprised if them and Toronto had swapped places in the standings.

Toronto Blue Jays 33-35 (5.5 GB) -17 run differential 

It wasn’t a very good week for the Jays, but hey, they managed to gain ground. The Bats looked ugly all week, even in the two wins. There’s no doubt the team relies heavily on the long ball, but it seems like its been months since we saw the Jays lineup string together a few frozen ropes to the wall for extra bases.

Anyways, 2-3 ain’t bad, and the Jays are still alive and well. This week the schedule is light, but it gets difficult very soon.

The Wild Card

New York Yankees 38-29 (+3.5 GU)

Boston Red Sox 38-29 (+3.5 GU)

Tampa Bay Rays 37-35 (o GB)

Minnesota Twins 34-33 (0.5 GB)

Baltimore Orioles 34-34 (1.0 GB)

Texas Rangers 34-34 (1.0 GB)

Los Angeles Angels 34-34 (1.0 GB)

Kansas City Royals 33-35 (2.0 GB)

Toronto Blue Jays 33-35 (2.0 GB)

Seattle Mariners 34-37 (2.5 GB)

Detroit Tigers 32-36 (3.0 GB)

Chicago White Sox 31-37 (4.0 GB)

Oakland Athletics 31-38 (4.5 GB)

Not much has changed in the crowded AL Wild Card race over the past week. Last week, 10 teams were separated by four games. This week? It’s 11 because the White Sox played pretty well. It’s going to be a wild summer in the American League.

Elsewhere…

Man, I miss playing the Reds. This pop up fail reminds me of something that happened in the Blue Jays disaster 2013 season. But it also reminded me that fucking Bronson Arroyo is still pitching in the major leagues. What?!

I’m not sure what Daniel Murphy did wrong here, but the umpire told him to fuck off. It’s honestly really funny because Murphy looks totally reasonable. But hey, the ump show, baby. That’s what we’re all here for.

And finally, there’s the Colorado Rockies, who are #ActuallyGood. On Sunday, Nolan Arenado completed the cycle with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Rocks their fifth win in a row. They currently have 46 wins, tied with Houston for the most in all of baseball. Also, their Instagram social media person doesn’t fuck around.