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AL East Predictions a.k.a. Mission Impossible

April 1, 2013

For most of my life, predicting who would win the American League East was easy.  Each season, we hoped it would be the Red Sox, but more often than not we saw our rivals claim the top spot.  It was a simpler time, but in 2013 all five teams are legitimate contenders.  There is absolutely no telling who will be the best.

The Toronto Blue Jays are the clear off-season winners, but as Red Sox fans we know all too well that you can’t buy a championship.  Teams need chemistry not just big names to win.  I’m sure we will see flashes of how good this team can be, but given that they have a new manager and many new faces, I’m hesitant to call them the favorites.

The safer money is on the Baltimore Orioles, because they have what no other team in the division has—consistency.  They went with the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, fielding virtually the same team this season that took them to the playoffs in 2012.  Now that they know what winning feels like, the O’s should be eager to avenge their ALDS loss, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got off to a fast start.

The Tampa Bay Rays also had a quiet off-season.  They lost James Shields but were able to hang on to ace David Price.  Pitching wise they should be fine with young arms like Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson, but they are a bit lacking in the offensive firepower department.   Evan Longoria is not going to be able to do it alone.  Still, the Rays have surprised us before.  They’ve made the AL East race interesting over the past five years, being the only team to snatch the division away from the Yankees and Red Sox in this millennium.

That’s not to say that the division in any way belongs to the Yankees or Red Sox—no that’s exactly what I’m saying.  We’ve dominated the AL East for years, and, yes, I’m using “we” to refer to both the Red Sox and Yankees.   This is an us against them situation.  It could be the first time since the Wild Card was implemented in 1995 that both the Yankees and Red Sox will miss the postseason.

But before anyone gets too excited, let me just say this about our rivals.   They may have had a horrid off-season and spring training, but they are still the Yankees and they know how to win.  It is possible that they won’t break .500—we can all dream—but they could just as easily win it all.  The last thing any team in the league should do is underestimate them.

It is also quite possible that only one team from the American League East will make the playoffs, given the level of competition each will face within the division.  I know we are used to having the Wild Card all to ourselves, but it’s anything but a guarantee this season.  The second place team may have shot at the second Wild Card spot—maybe.

So where does this leave our Boston Red Sox?  Outside looking in?  Not even part of the discussion?

Well, it can’t get any worse than the 69-93 finish last year.  Of course it could, but I don’t think it will.  The 2012 team was better than what its record suggested.

The best move the Red Sox made this off-season was brining in a man whom the players can respect. Right off the bat, they have a better chance of making the playoffs, now that John Farrell is at the helm.

He has already had an effect on Jon Lester, as many thought he would.  Our ace seems to have returned to form.

The Red Sox may also have an ace up their sleeve in John Lackey.  If he can get back to being the pitcher he was for the Angels—or even close to that level—than the Red Sox rotation could be in very good shape.

Until the season starts, which it will in just a few hours, I’m choosing to remain positive about the Sox.  Why not?  It’s impossible to say with certainty who will win.   I could see any of the AL East teams finishing first or last.  It’s truly anyone’s game.

Happy Opening Day and Go Sox!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean Breslin permalink
    April 1, 2013 7:50 am

    It’s so hard to pick against the Yankees/Red Sox, but the Blue Jays should be a dark horse this season. Good luck this year!

  2. Scott permalink
    September 17, 2013 2:25 am

    retroactively thanking you for being so optimistic.

    I thought maybe a few games over 500. I never dreamed a 9 game lead on September 16th and crusing to a division title 🙂

    • September 17, 2013 6:47 am

      Thanks! It is unbelievable. Like a dream. Hopefully they can keep it up. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to stop them, but I am going to try to remain cautiously optimistic. Go Sox!

      • Scott permalink
        September 17, 2013 10:30 am

        we play much better against the good teams (texas, Detroit, oakaland) at home so I really think getting homefield thruout is the key. though we pretty much own the Yankees anywhere this year, so wouldn’t mind seeing them backdoor in either.

  3. Scott permalink
    September 17, 2013 10:39 am

    would also like to say, that while I despise the Yankees (naturally) am still bitter over the rays (2008 and 2011) and am ambivalent towards the orioles, I actually find what happened to the blue jays this year hysterical. basically traded their future for a small windown of opportunity (burhle and reyes wont be getting younger) and a flash in the pan (R.A Dickey) and they were essentially out of the race the weekend in april we took 2 out of 3 from them. 😉

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