Are the Tampa Bay Rays slumping, or is the team finally coming down to Earth? After tearing up the American League for months, the Rays appear to have hit a wall, losing 6 straight games to the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. One can’t help but wonder if this team is finally running out of gas. The pitching allowed 33 runs in those 6 games. It will be interesting to see if the All-Star break will give their staff time to rest and get back to their previous dominance.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox managed to retake control of the American League East after sweeping the Minnesota Twins and taking two out of three from the Baltimore Orioles. And as David Ortiz gets closer to rejoining the club, the Sox could be in position to have a big second half.
Elsewhere in the East, the New York Yankees failed to pick up any significant ground in the division despite winning a two game set against the Rays. The Yanks lost a make-up game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and then dropped two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays. Surprisingly, the pitching has been strong, but the Yanks have been crippled by an offense that has routinely failed to bring in runners in scoring position. And more bad news hit the team when it was revealed that Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui could be on the Disabled List longer than they were originally predicted.
The Chicago White Sox maintain their lead in the Central division over the Minnesota Twins. The team won two out of three against the Kansas City Royals and then lost two out of three to the Texas Rangers. Despite playing .500 ball for the week, the White Sox maintained their hold on the division by a game and a half.
The surprising Minnesota Twins continue to nip at the heels of the White Sox. The week started poorly for the Twins when they were swept by the Boston Red Sox, but then rebounded and took three out of four from the Detroit Tigers. And with a healthy lead over the Detroit Tigers, it’s possible this team could continue to compete for first place in the Central division.
The Tigers, meanwhile, continue to play more .500 ball. They’re seven games out and will need to have a very strong second half to get back in this race. The team showed promise during interleague play, but it remains to be seen if they can put together a similar run against American League teams, let alone the teams in their division.
The Angels continue to dominate and lately it’s looking like more and more of a one horse race. Their nearest competition, the Oakland Athletics just dealt the domiant, yet oft injured Rich Harden to the Chicago Cubs for a Matt Murton, Eric Patterson and Sean Gallagher. But it would be hard to imagine that package putting the A’s into contention to take the division. It could very well be Billy Bean waving the white flag (despite a respectable 51-44 record) and preparing to make a run in 2009. But the A’s are a team that continues to surprise people year after year. It could be that the A’s needed to make this deal to bring some sorely needed offense to the team and Matt Murton is a young outfielder who has shown promise prior to this season.
Posted originally: 2008-07-17 06:21:33