AL East Report – June 15

Ryley Delaney
2 years ago
Sox cause depression. Writing these blogs gives me depression. I have to go back to the deepest parts of my brain and remember every single blown Blue Jays game of the week. The Jays had a Sox filled week, winning three and losing four. Literally three of those losses were down to the bullpen; however, both of Dolis’ “poor” outings were a product of little league defense. We’ll get into it.
This week the Jays play a three game series against the Yankees in Buffalo, meaning we have to listen to Buck and Tabler and then they FINALLY get to play against the bad birds of the east where they will cannibalize the Orioles for 3 games at Camden Yards. 
The Jays are 8.5 games back of the leading Tampa Bay Rays and 3.5 games back behind the filthy Astros. Enough excuses, win some games. Speaking of Tampa, who are they playing? Who are the Boston Red Sox playing? Who are the two teams at the bottom of the East playing this week?
Let’s find out.

Tampa Bay Rays:

 In last week’s article, the Jays were 6 games behind the Rays for the division lead. Mentioned earlier, they now sit 8.5 games behind the Devil Rays. I said the excuse of “It’s still early” doesn’t apply anymore and quite frankly, 8.5 games behind isn’t something that the Jays will make up with under 100 games to go.
While the Jays have had the hardest schedule for most of the season, Tampa’s schedule has also been quite difficult. Using TeamRankings, Tampa has had the fifth hardest schedule. ESPN considers Tampa to have the most difficult schedule.
I’ve said since the sweep against the Jays that Toronto won’t catch Tampa, and in return, twitter users sent gifs of people Paniking. It’s not Paniking if it’s a reality.
This week, Tampa finished with five wins and only one loss. They swept the Orioles, split the series against the Nationals and won the first game of their series against Lance Lynn’s White Sox. Compared to the Jays 3-4 record, you can see why they have continued to fall behind in the division lead.
Looking ahead, the Rays have two more games against the White Sox with Keuchel pitching tonight and Giolito will pitch tomorrow afternoon. Afterwards, they have a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners until Sunday.

Boston Red Sox:

I hate writing this blog when the Jays decide to blow winnable games against key rivals. While the Blue Birds were in Chicago, the Red Sox played at Fenway between the dirty Astros (the team the Jays will chase in the wild card). In the second series in as many weeks, they finished with one win and two losses against Houston. 
They then played against the Blue Jays and well I really don’t want to write about this because it hurts, but I suppose I have too. The Jays have a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Stripling ran into some issues, leaving with another run given up and runners on the corners. In comes Chatwood. They continue to blow it and they make a crucial error by Bo Bichette, leading to a runner on 2B with no outs, a single walks the Jays off. You can read about it here.
In this game, the Blue Jays had 16 hits. You have to win this game.
Toronto proceeded to win the next two games 7-2 and 18-4, which leads to the rubber match for a winning week. They lose. The bats scored 30 runs in three games leading up to this game and they went silent. Fan favourite Alek Manoah threw a gem, 6 IP, 1 (E)R, 5 K, 1 BB.
Now if you noticed, I put the earned run in parentheses because quite frankly, this game was filled with poor defense. In the bottom of the third, the Red Sox have a runner on first with one out. The ball is hit to Biggio who bobbles it, leading to him throwing out only the lead runner. Verdugo is up next, and he hits a “double” to left field. Gurriel attempts to catch the ball and misses it by centimeters, allowing the runner to score.
According to baseball savant, that hit had a .05 chance of being a double, yet, Gurriel’s bad judgement allowed a runner to score. He should have been on the warning track, which likely would have held Verdugo to a single and with Gurriel’s great arm, the runner would have stayed at third or been thrown out.

New Yo… just kidding, fielding continues to perform poorly:

I had to break up the Red Sox section somehow.
It’s the top of the ninth with two outs. Vlad is up to bat. We know what happens. 
Vlad obviously mashes a hanging breaking ball at an EV at 114.7. There was not a chance that this ball was staying in the park,  according to Baseball Savant.
In my Vlad article a few days ago, which you can read here, I mentioned Vlad should just be pitched around except for in a few scenarios. Boston didn’t get the memo.
This all became redundant, however, as the bullpen decided to fall apart.
Well, not exactly the bullpen. A lot of fans were blaming Dolis and Montoyo for this loss. To that, I say look at what happened. The bats, who again, scored 30 runs in 3 games, went silent. Whenever they had RISP, they couldn’t cash them. Grichuk grounded into a double play in the top of the 7th with no outs after Vlad and Teoscar reached.
Not just the bats, but you must look at defense. Dolis has received a lot of flak and even more so in this series, but both of his “bad” games were down to defense seen in little league games. In this case, there was a grounder to Biggio’s natural second base position and he flubbed a very easy play. Instead of having one out with the bases cleared, the lead-off runner is aboard.
Yes, two hits came afterwards, but the runner would not have scored from first on the second hit. What’s more is the fact that after Verdugo reached, Dolis pitched to contact in an attempt to get a double play. Had Biggio got the out, this game could have gone differently.
It’s a fair argument to blame the process behind Montoyo’s decision-making here, but the result for both of Dolis’ blown games lies solely on the bad defense. 
This is scapegoating. I’d wager that the reactionary fans blaming Dolis are the same people that will complement Biggio’s defense, not blame the bats for leaving it until the last out and excusing bullpen losses on the injuries instead of calling out Atkins and Shapiro for not doing anything about the bullpen issue. Blaming Montoyo for the process is fair game, even though I understand his decision.
The Red Sox play 2 games in Atlanta and then 3 games in Kansas. Another note is that they own the 15th hardest schedule after playing Houston twice and the Yankees and Blue Jays once.

New York Yankees:

After dedicating 750 words to the Red Sox section, I’ll try and make this brief.
The New York Yankees can’t do anything. Gerrit Cole is *good*, Judge is good, the rest of the team I liken to a very poorly run bureaucracy. They have a mediocre farm system, overrated players and a mickey mouse ballpark.
This week, they beat the Tlossers twice, then proceeded to give up 4 runs in the 9th to lose the game 7-5. Then they got walked off the next game against the not-very-good Phillies. They got tired of losing in walk-off fashion, so they proceeded to get absolutely smashed 7-0 the next day, finishing this past week at 2-3.
Upcoming, they play a crucial game against the Jays in Buffalo, which they will proceed to lose two of three before returning to the Bronx and getting swept by the Athletics. Hopefully, the Bronx Complainers (I want to use another word, use your imagination) don’t cry about the lights again.
The Yankees have officially dropped out of the race.

Baltimore Orioles:

I thought for a brief second that perhaps this section would be longer than the New York section, but alas, this will be short and I couldn’t help but diss the Yankees further.
The bad birds continue to play poorly, losing all but one of their five games this week. They will play the Jays come Friday. Let’s hope the Jays turn into Hawks and prey on the weak Orioles that feed from your bird feeder. View my pinned tweet.
As always, follow my controversial tweets @Brennan_L_D on twitter. Did I plug it 3 times in this article? Absolutely. I want 169 followers.

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