13 games into the season and the AL East is already a close and tight group. All teams are within two games of first place despite three of the five teams being under .500. Some things never really change, I guess.
Boston Red Sox: 8-5, 1st Place
The Sox had a very good home opening series against the Washington Nationals, winning two out of three games. Behind a very strong start from Rick Porcello on Monday, the Sox won 9-4 in their first home game of 2015. They followed this up with a 8-7 win in which Boston scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to permanently give them the lead. Justin Masterson made his first start in Fenway Park and was very disappointing; going 4.2 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits.
After the Nats came the Baltimore Orioles, fresh off a series win against the New York Yankees. The series opener saw O’s starter Ubaldo Jimenez thrown out of the game in the fourth inning, leaving the rest of the game up to Baltimore’s bullpen. A Ryan Hanigan home run off Kevin Gausman tied the game up at two and Xander Bogaerts walk off single against Tommy Hunter sealed the deal. The next two games saw the Orioles winning 4-1 and 8-3, respectively. The series wrapped up with the famed Patriot’s Day game, starting at 11 A.M. The Sox would win this game 7-1 after seven innings due to the game being rained out.
In the week ahead: The Sox will head to Tampa to start a three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Wade Miley, Joe Kelly, and Clay Buchholz are all scheduled to start in this series. They will then head to Baltimore to face the O’s, in the only weekend series the two will play at Camden Yards this season.
New York Yankees: 6-7, tied for 3rd Place
After a very weak start for the Yankees, they picked it up a little this past week. They won the series opener against Baltimore behind a Stephen Drew grand slam in the top of the seventh which led to a 6-5 win. They would drop the next two 4-3 and 7-5, respectively. In the third game of the series, Alex Rodriguez hit a home run that almost hit the second deck of Camden Yards. He still has it at age 39 and is not showing signs of slowing down.
The Yanks would then head to Tampa to open up a three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. An A-Rod RBI single in the eighth inning of game one would lead to a 5-4 victory. The next day saw the Bronx Bombers actually live up to that nickname. In a 0-0 game for the most part, it got broken open in the top of the 6th with a Brian McCann two RBI double. This would be followed the next inning by a Gregorio Petit sacrifice fly, Brett Gardner RBI single, Mark Teixeira sacrifice fly and a Chris Young grand slam. Yes, you read that right; Chris Young grand slam. The Yankees would go on to sweep the Rays with a 5-3 win in the finale.
In the week ahead: The Yankees will head to Detroit for a 4 game series against the Tigers. At the time I am writing this, this series has already started with a 2-1 Detroit victory. They will then head home after their 1:08 game on Thursday to welcome the crosstown rivals; the New York Mets.
Tampa Bay Rays: 6-7, tied for 3rd Place
The Rays welcomed the Toronto Blue Jays home in a very rude way; by taking three out of four in Toronto’s opening home series. Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer both had strong performances in this series with the offense scoring runs without the long ball. The Rays only hit three home runs this series and they came from Steven Souza, Jr., Mikie Mahtook, and Tim Beckham. That is a very interesting group.
The Rays then headed back home to face the New York Yankees high on a series win on the road against a division rival. The Yankees quickly killed that high like a drug test the day after 4/20. In a series that saw so much negative, some positive came from it. After giving up a grand slam to Chris Young, Grant Balfour was designated for assignment by the Rays. Balfour is due to make $7 million from the Rays after signing a two year, $12 million deal after the Baltimore Orioles backed out of their deal with the Australian right hander due to a questionable physical.
In the week ahead: The Rays will welcome the Boston Red Sox for a three game series in their first match up of the season. Chris Archer, Nathan Karns, and Jake Odorizzi are all scheduled to start. After that, they will welcome the Toronto Blue Jays for their first visit to St. Petersburg.
Toronto Blue Jays: 6-7, tied for 3rd Place
Not only did the Blue Jays lose three out of four to the Tampa Bay Rays, they lost their shortstop. In the fourth and final game of the series, Jose Reyes suffered an oblique injury and left the game after the first inning. He was later diagnosed with a cracked left rib and will be re-evaluated before the series against the Orioles begins. There is still optimism that he will avoid the disabled list.
After the series against the Rays, the Jays welcomed the Atlanta Braves to Rogers Centre. With the game tied up at 5 in the top of the 8th inning, the Braves would score three runs to give themselves an 8-5 lead. The Jays would get two back against former Orioles closer Jim Johnson, but that is all they would get as the Braves hold on to win 8-7. The second game of the season would promise to be more better for the Toronto faithful. Tied at five in the bottom of the ninth inning, Josh Donaldson would deliver with his first walk off home run in a Jays uniform, which is also the Jays’ first walk off of 2015. They would drop the series finale 5-2 behind a rough start from rookie pitcher and van living Daniel Norris, who went 2.2 innings, allowing five runs, four earned with only one strikeout.
In the week ahead: The Jays will welcome the O’s to Toronto for the first time this season. The pitching match ups will be the same exact ones from the series in Baltimore. They will then head on the road to Tampa to face the Rays for a three game weekend series.
Current Standings, as of April 21st
- Boston Red Sox: 8-5
- Baltimore Orioles: 7-6
- New York Yankees: 6-7
- Tampa Bay Rays: 6-7
- Toronto Blue Jays: 6-7
Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison