We’ve come full circle and we’re starting this month with the East divisions once again. But I like to mix things up, so we’ll start with the American League.
- New York Yankees (57-47)
The Yankees finished July at 12-6. Right fielder Aaron Judge continues to put balls into orbit at an alarming rate with 34 total homers, with four since he won the Home Run Derby. The addition of pitcher Sonny Gray should put the Yankees in the driver’s seat to win this division.
- Boston Red Sox (58-49)
The leaders in the clubhouse at the end of June, the Red Sox have slowed a bit. As part of those struggles, Boston was shutout three times in the month, which ties a season high for one month.
- Tampa Bay Rays (54-53)
The Rays are still in the thick of the Wild Card hunt, but are fading fast. Tampa Bay is 3-7 in its last 10 games, and has a stretch with 12 more games against division leaders and Wild Card contenders.
- Baltimore Orioles (51-54)
Despite excellent pitching, the Orioles struggle offensively. The problem isn’t in an ability to get on base or hit homers, it’s speed. Baltimore doesn’t get extra bases or steal any to get into scoring position. With just 27 stolen base attempts on the season, the Orioles are dead last.
- Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays kill their own opportunities to score. This team doesn’t strike out much, instead they’ve bounced into an MLB-leading 114 double plays. (That reminds me: I was teaching the man cub about double plays one day and I asked, “What’s a pitcher’s best friend?” Answer: “The catcher, dad!” Of course.)
- Washington Nationals (63-41)
Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy all continue to hit north of .320. Not to mention 68 combined homers. The Nationals likely have the most dangerous trio in the NL. Don’t forget third baseman Anthony Rendon, who’s also batting .300-plus with 21 dingers.
- Miami Marlins (49-55)
The Marlins are leading the pack of chasers in the NL East. It’s just too bad they’re 14 games off the pace of the Nationals and 10 games out of the Wild Card. Folks in Miami should start looking forward to roster expansions to see what the future holds.
- New York Mets (48-55)
A fine hitting team with excellent extra-base speed, the Mets seem to think it best to play it safe on the base paths. New York has attempted just 33 stolen bases all season, which is not a great way to get things going when you’re trailing.
- Atlanta Braves (48-56)
The Braves are great at getting on base, but, like the Blue Jays, shoot themselves in the foot by grounding into double plays. But it doesn’t help when the pitching staff is allowing five-plus runs per game.
- Philadelphia Phillies (39-64)
I always say, you can’t win if you can’t score. No matter how strong your pitching and defense is, you still have to put up runs to win in baseball. This is the problem in Philadelphia. The pitching is decent, but the offense is horrendous.
Photo by Brigham Berthold