2013 AL East Division: The MLB’s Best Postseason Race

raysatorioles-wrThe American League East has five teams that believe they can make it to the playoffs. Of course, two or three of them will be wrong, but all five are capable of making a run. Let’s look at each team and what makes them a possible playoff team.

Toronto Blue Jays: The preseason favorites in the division got off to an awful start thanks to injuries from key players such as Jose Reyes. But the Jays ran off 11 wins in a row at one point to climb back to .500. The Jays sit 45-49 right now, but we now know they are capable of going on a hot streak. They have a lineup loaded with offense, featuring Reyes, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Juan Encarnacion. If they can get some good pitching from R. A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle, they could get back in it.

New York Yankees– Can you ever really count the Yanks out? Teams seem to cough up wins to them just by being in Yankee Stadium and seeing those pinstripes. The Yanks have been the most injury-ravaged team in the league, yet they have still managed to win ball games. They are 51-44 without Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Mark Texeira, not to mention Alex Rodriguez. They won’t be getting Tex back, nor A-Rod, as it looks like he’s staring at a long suspension (or worse). But what if Jeter can stay healthy for more than a game or two and they get Granderson back?

Baltimore Orioles– What a year for Chris Davis. He started off red hot and has stayed that way. 37 home runs at the All-Star Break is amazing. Then add in Manny Machado, Matt Weiters, J. J. Hardy and Adam Jones and you have a heck of a team. Buck Showalter is one of the best at getting the most out of his talent too. Watch out for this team. They need closer Jim Johnson to get back to his old form down the stretch. If not for his blown saves, the Birds are likely in first place.

Tampa Bay Rays– If I told you in March that David Price would have three wins at the All Star Break and the Rays would be in double digits in blown leads after the seventh inning, how many games behind at the All-Star break would you have guessed? Would you have said 2.5? Because that is the correct answer. So what happens if Price pitches the rest of the way like he has his last three starts? And also what happens when Alex Cobb gets back? You’re liking the Rays chances now aren’t you? The scary thing about this team is that Evan Longoria hasn’t really gotten hot yet. If that happens, this team is going to be scary.

Boston Red Sox  John Farrell has already wrapped up manager of the Year, wouldn’t you say?. What a turnaround? The Sox won 69 games all of 2012. They have 58 at the break?? That’s right. They are only 11 short of last year’s win total already! The Sox are getting great pitching from Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. But the offense is really carrying them. Big Papi is still raking after all these years; Dustin Pedroia is a gamer; Jacoby Ellsbury is always on base. The Sox run differential this season is +91, which is second in the Majors and leads the American League.

So who will make the playoffs out of this division? That’s a great question. If they started today the Red Sox and Rays would both be in. However, there is still a long way to go and the Orioles are only 1.5 games out of the Wild Card game. That is a game they won last season on the road at Texas. The Texas Rangers are once again in the thick of the A.L. West and Wild Card race.

It’s just too close to call right now, but I’m going to go with the Rays and Red Sox. I might be a bit biased on the Rays, but then again I watch this team every year. They are always in the thick of the race, but this looks to be their best team since the 2008 American League pennant winning team. The bad news though is the rest of the division is the toughest I’ve ever seen.