While the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays were always expected to contend for postseason berths this season, however, it’s the other two teams in the division who are rounding things out and upping the ante in 2012.
The leaders of the pack are the Baltimore Orioles, who have a 28-17 record entering Friday’s games. After finishing last in the divsion last season, the Orioles have been one of the biggest surprises in the MLB so far. With Tampa Bay only one game back at the moment, they will need to keep up their stellar play to stay on top.
Tampa Bay is nine games above .500 through the first 35 games and have been riddled with injuries, including some key ones to star Evan Longoria and up-and-comer Desmond Jennings. With one of the best pitching staffs and managers in baseball, though, they will always be tough to count out.
Whenever a player from the Toronto Blue Jays comes up to bat, fans always have to fear the long ball. Reigning home run champion Jose Bautista is starting to find his swing and with youngster Brett Lawrie exciting the fan base, Toronto is a diffucult team to face.
The so called “Evil Empire” sits in 4th place, which is not a familiar postion for the Bronx bombers. Age may be catching up to the Yankees, as they are currently the oldest team in baseball. Closer Mariano Rivera is on the disabled list with a torn ACL and may not return this season. But, they’re the Yankees for a reason and probably won’t be content to wallow at the bottom of the division all year long.
And of course, the Red Sox are starting to find their groove after going 10-3 in their last 13 games. Bitten by the injury bug, the Sox have lost last season’s MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury to the 60-day DL along with $142 million man Carl Crawford. With the hot streak recently, the Sox are only 5.5 games out of first place and have the Rays coming into Fenway park for an AL East showdown.
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