They're never too far
away from men who made the grade
out in a world of their own
They'll never come down
until the battle's lost or made
1. Baltimore 36-26 .581 (6- 7 2WK) 2. Boston 33-29 .532 3.0 GB (6- 7 2WK) 3. Toronto 31-32 .492 5.5 GB (4- 9 2WK) 4. New York 30-32 .484 6.0 GB (3- 9 2WK) 5. Tampa Bay 21-42 .333 15.5 GB (2-10 2WK)A horrible week for the division, as all 5 teams played below .500 ball. Does anybody want to win this division? Wasn't this supposed to be the toughest division in baseball? Right now the division has a .484 winning percentage. Ouch! Somebody has to win this thing, though. But who will it be? According to Tradesports.com, the percentage likelihood of each team winning the division is roughly:
Boston: 36% (16% of winning AL Pennant) New York: 33% (20% of winning AL Pennant) Baltimore: 27% ( 9% of winning AL Pennant) Toronto: 4% ( 1% of winning AL Pennant) Tampa Bay: 0% ( 0% of winning AL Pennant)Those Toronto odds look very low, while the Tampa Bay ones are far too optimistic. There are no odds listed for who is going to win the Wild Card, but there's a decent chance the WC winner will come from the AL East.
With 4 teams all with a reasonable shot at making the playoffs, it will be interesting to see what kind of moves each will make as we reach the trading deadline. By looking at the positions where each team has struggled over the season, we can get a sense of where they might try to improve.
The rotation has been surprisingly effective this year, with Bedard and Chen pitching a surprising number of quality innings. The weakest starter so far this year has been Daniel Cabrera, but 62 walks in 67 1/3 innings is certainly impressive. The 33 walks, however, are not.
The pen has been a source of strength for the O's, with B.J. Ryan notching 16 saves and a 1.99 ERA. The Orioles may want to avoid picking up anyone named Steve, though, as both Reed and Kline have struggled this year.
On the pitching side, they've got a few more problems. Clement has been terrific and Arroyo and Wakfield have been solid. David Wells has not been spectacular, giving up 9 homeruns in 10 starts. His 30/4 K/BB ratio is Radkeesque, but 4.5 K/9 isn't anything to write hom about.
The bullpen is an area that could use some upgrades. Timlin and Myers have been spectacular, but Mantei and Foulke both have ERAs near 6. Neither one of them has a K/BB ratio above 2:1 and Foulke has given up 6 homeruns in 28 innings.
Kevin Brown's peripherals look decent (though he could use a few more strikeouts), but his results have been doubleplusungood, as he has a 4-6 record with a 5.43 ERA. Jaret Wright has a 9.15 ERA in 4 starts. Johnson, Pavano, and Mussina have all been good, but not outstanding.
New York's third-best reliever this season has been Tanyon Sturtze. Rivera and Gordon have been excellent, though Gordon's ERA is better than his peripherals. Paul Quantrill looks done, with only 9 strikeouts (to 5 walks and 5 homeruns) in 25 1/3 innings. Stanton and Karsay both have ERAs at or over 6.
Pitching? I think we've used up enough bits on this site discussing Ted Lilly, so I won't do so any further.
Is it too early for itoldyousos on Schoeneweis? Then again, I was wrong about a pile of stuff this off-season as well.
Question of the day: Who will AL East teams trade for and what will they send in return? Be specific as possible, such as Larry Andersen to Boston for Jeff Bagwell.