Minnesota Twins 82-61 (92-70)
Detroit Tigers 78-66 (90-72)
Chicago White Sox 75-69 (76-86)
The Twins appear to be on the road to taking the division again this year. After a long drought, it is quite an accomplishment to win two in a row. Thunderdonky is proving that he is a solid owner and a force to be reckoned with in the future. They lead all of Kinsella in Runs Scored, and hit the most doubles. The starting pitching staff has been one of the best in Kinsella with 82 quality starts and induced 123 double plays on their way to only allowing 604 runs per game. Their downfall is the bullpen, and have allowed 56 unearned runs.
The Tigers have all the talent in the world, and as I proclaimed in the previews the past few seasons, "I just don't trust this team". Drake is a good owner and seems to have rectified the problem. Derek Lewis is a guarantee for the gold glove at short (20 + plays, only 15 errors. The same could be said of Helms and Watkins in CF and 3b, and Lombard in LF. This team has 80 plus plays and only 20 negative plays (half of which are attributed to Pascual Brito who was moved out of the outfield and placed at the DH spot. Proud of the Tigers for making necessary changes.
The White Sox are the surprise of the division. Only predicted to win 76 games, they already have 75 and are positioned for a wild card race. The pale hose have only allowed 602 runs, but have a below average offense with 627 runs scored. Still, this was supposed to be a rebuilding and developing young players while supplementing with Vets. The formula works, and it has paid off for the pessimistic Jnewfry.
New York Yankees 79-64 (101-61)
Baltimore Orioles 76-68 (89-73)
Cleveland Indians 75-68 (87-75)
The Yankees were my pick to win not just the AL East, but all of the AL. Although they haven't dominated they have been an interesting case study. 27-20 in one run games, 12-3 in extra innings. They have scored 724 runs, and only allowed 662. This is a good team, but maybe not as good as I thought. Still, is this a team you want to face in the playoffs? I sure don't.
The Orioles were seen as a playoff team and are close to meet the early season projections. As expected the starting pitching hasn't been very good, but the bullpen has been lights out. Coming down the stretch I'm not sure if the O's have enough to sneak in but don't be surprised if they do.
Cleveland owner drichter said it best "this team is running out of gas". I predicted they would just miss the playoffs, and as the season winds down and the leaves change colors the Indians are fading but still have a shot.
Texas Rangers 80-63 (97-65)
Tampa Bay Rays 74-70 (69-93)
As expected, the Rangers appear to be on their way to winning 7th consecutive division crown. Although, they are not as dominating as they have been in the past despite the $115 payroll. The offensive production is down, while the pitching remains consistent. This is not a team to be taken lightly. And you can expect them to challenge for the AL Crown.
To say that I was a bit pessimistic about my Rays is an understatement. I've been giddy that the team has played so well and are in position to challenge the Rangers, and for a wild card spot. The young pitchers have improved dramitically since the beginning of the year. Dixon, Kirby, Kennedy, and rule V steal Crede have joined with veteran Mercado to form a solid starting five. This group will continue getting better, and will be a force in the league. But not this year. This team doesn't hit well, and without the surprise performances by Jimenez and Cordero they would have finished closer to the prediction. Defensively this is an average team but they are pretty good at getting double plays. The Rays have never made the playoffs while I've been owner, and it sure would be fun to join the party this year.
Just has surprising has been the decline of
Oakland A's 94-49 (106-66)
The A's have performed very well and are in cruise control. They may not make the projections, but I may have underestimated how they will play in the playoffs.This team looks better positioned as a playoff team than I initially thought.
Two surprises in this division have been dakar's Beavers which are the darkhorse for the wildcard, and the Angels who completely fell apart. I'll never understand this game.
1. Tigers 78-66
2. Orioles 76-68
Indians .5 games out
They may be fading, but they still have a shot one of the playoff spots. They have the talent to make it interesting.
White Sox 1 game out
JNew is impressed with his scrappy bunch, and I'm going to say loud and clear I think they sneak in!
Rays 2 games out
Surprise! Can the young guns sneak in? They are young, hungry, and healthy. A run is not out of the question.
Beavers 7.5 games out
Big time dark horse, but worth mentioning that they are in this spot during their rebuilding. Nicely done.