Through the first two months of each Major League Baseball season, fans are used to seeing a team from the American League East toward the top of the standings and as one of the favorites to win the World Series. In 2015, however, the division responsible for three of the last eight World Series winners has struggled mightily from top to bottom. Will anyone in this division give baseball betting experts a reason to back them for baseball’s biggest prize?
As of Tuesday, with Major League Baseball teams having played just over 50 games on the year, only one American League East team has won more than half of its games. That team is the New York Yankees, who got off to a hot start and have since crashed back down to Earth thanks to a lineup ranked 20th in baseball in batting average. While their pitching staff has been a somewhat pleasant surprise, an aging core of hitters has halted their progress in its tracks.
The amazing part of the Yankees’ mediocre start to the season is that they’ve scored more runs than every team but the Toronto Blue Jays, who we’ll get to a bit later.
Behind the Yankees are the Tampa Bay Rays, who entered Tuesday’s games with a record of 26 wins and 26 losses, the very symbol of offensive mediocrity in baseball. The Rays are no worse than 25th, but no better than 19th, in the major batting categories of batting average, runs scored, and on base percentage, which has ruined things for a pitching staff ranked fifth in the league in earned run average. The Rays are one of just two teams below .500 at home in the division, a product of their terrible home attendance.
Sitting in the third and fourth positions in the American League East are the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. These two teams simply cannot win on the road in 2015, with the two squads sitting at a combined 15 wins and 32 losses away from their respective home ballparks. This is especially disappointing from the Blue Jays, who have scored the most runs in the league to this point in the season, but have given up the third most to cancel their offense out.
But the biggest disappointment in the American League East, and maybe all of Major League Baseball, has been the Boston Red Sox. Sitting in last place in the division, the Red Sox have been the laughingstock of the American League as a whole for much of the first two months of the season. Their -48 run differential is the worst in the American League, despite many tipsters tabbing them as the class of the American League at the beginning of the year due to the signing of Pablo Sandoval.
As a whole, the American League East has been nothing more than a collection of varying shades of disappointment through two months, from the light shade of disappointment brought by the first place Yankees, all the way down to the dark, despair-filled shade of the Red Sox. If this division wants to experience any postseason success, there will need to be an extreme shift in form before October rolls around.