The Boston Red Sox started the second half of the season by being swept by the juggernaut Angels. Rookie Clay Buchholz took his fifth loss of the season, bringing him to a disappointing record of 2-5. The Red Sox will need Buchholz to have a big second half to stay in the race for the division. Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez’s knee has been barking and he was benched Wednesday to give him time to rest. Despite not having Manny in the lineup Wednesday, the Red Sox managed to bounce back from their series with the Angels by sweeping the hapless Seattle Mariners. As of now, the team sits half of a game behind Tampa Bay in the standings.
The Tampa Bay Rays came back from the All-Star break with two strong series against the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s, winning two out of three in each series and maintaining their slim lead in the division. And help is also on the way. Jason Bartlett is expected to be activated Thursday and Ben Zobrist will be optioned to Triple-A Durham.
The New York Yankees started the second half by gaining ground in the division. The team won six straight games, sweeping the Oakland A’s and the Minnesota Twins, and are a mere three and a half games back in the division. But the Yanks also received bad news. Catcher Jorge Posada was once again placed on the disabled list and he could need season ending surgery on his shoulder. But strong pitching has helped the Yanks win lately, with Mike Mussina picking up his thirteenth win of the season. The Yanks could be a major buyer as the trade deadline approaches and the team struggles with their offense.
The Chicago White Sox have extended their lead in the Central to two and a half games. The team lost two out of three to the Kansas City Royals but rebounded to win a two game set against the Texas Rangers. But Third Baseman, Joe Crede was sidelined for two straight games with a sore back. Considering Crede had surgery on his back in the off-season, this could be a sign of a bigger problem.
The Minnesota Twins have struggled since the All-Star break, losing four straight games to the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees. But help could be just around the corer as Francisco Liriano has been dominating Triple-A. He could be a big boost for the team in the second half if his minor league performances are any indication of what he could do in the majors.
The Detroit Tigers have quietly been gaining ground in the division. The Tigers split a four game series against the Baltimore Orioles and swept the Kansas City Royals. The offense has appeared to find its rhythm as the team has averaged 8 runs in their last seven games, including a 19-4 blowout of the Kansas City Royals on Monday. This team could be a major force in the Central in the second half of the season.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim continue to dominate their division, extending their lead to ten games over the Oakland A’s. And it doesn’t appear that anyone will be able to challenge them. The Angles swept the Boston Red Sox and then took two out of three against the Cleveland Indians. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the West getting back into this race.
Posted originally: 2008-07-24 21:38:46