⚾️ AL East Check-In
The upstart Orioles in first? The reigning champs in last? With those two teams set to kick off a three-game series tonight in Baltimore, let's check in on the toughest division in baseball. Plus, Aaron Judge might be back tonight 💪 (3 min read)
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
First vs. Worst?
Man I hope everyone is staying cool out there, this heat wave is no joke 🥵. The dog days of the MLB summer are in full swing with August just days away, and a quick peak at the standings this far into the season will reveal a surprising sight. THE New York Yankees are in sole possession of last place in the AL East; anybody see that one coming?
It’s no secret that fans up in the Bronx are harder to please than most — that’ll happen when you have a trophy case that’s 27-deep. And they certainly aren’t happy with this Yanks’ team failing to live up to last year’s results (99 wins and an AL East crown) and this year’s expectations (preseason win total Over/Under set at 93.5)
The Yankees are in sole possession of last place this late in a season for the first time since October 3, 1990, when they finished the season in last
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks)
Jul 18, 2023
But before the mob breaks out their pitchforks and storms Yankee Stadium, they should take solace in the fact the Bronx Bombers aren’t actually having that bad of a year, all things considered 🤷🏻♂️
Despite being without one of the best players in the world since June 3rd due to a toe injury, they’ve still managed a 54-48 record, and they’re just 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. And if only they were in the AL Central, they’d be in first place 😅
But instead they’re in the last, despite sitting 6 games over .500, which should be a pretty solid indicator of just how deep and dangerous the AL East has been the season. Each team has genuine postseason hopes…but take a look at just how crowded it is ⬇️
The Rays were on near-historic pace in the first half of the season, but a 2-8 skid in their last 10 games now has a new team atop the standings. And it’s one that could get awfully comfortable up there — the emergence of the Orioles has been one of the cooler storylines of this season 📈
4 years ago today Adley made his debut in High-A Aberdeen. The Baltimore Orioles Lost 108 games in 2019 and Rio Ruiz was the teams everyday 3B.
Now they are 62-40 with the 2nd best Record in baseball 😏😏
— 𝙆𝙣𝘽 (@kazknowsball)
Jul 27, 2023
After a strong finish to 2022 (48-37 from July on), and with a plethora of enticing young players reaching the majors, Baltimore checked in as a borderline playoff hopeful prior to the start of the season. But they were still given a win total Over/Under of just 76.5 😬
Welp, the youngsters are clearly more ahead of schedule than expected. Catcher Adley Rutschman is already an All-Star in his first full season in the bigs, while 22-year-old Gunnar Henderson is only improving his AL ROY stock (+320) lately
And with a new blue-chip prospect seemingly called up every other week (looking at you, Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser), and even more on the way, the O’s certainly look like they’re here to stay
Don’t get me wrong, the veterans are showing out as well. Outfielders Austin Hays and Anthony Santander are having some of the best seasons of their careers, Cedric Mullins has been as reliable as ever when healthy, and closer Felix Bautista has been downright disgusting 😳
Félix Bautista is tied for the league lead in saves. He has a 0.92 ERA.
Does he deserve Cy Young consideration?
— Baltimore Banner Sports (@AllBannerSports)
Jul 27, 2023
A closer hasn’t won the Cy Young award since 2003 (trivia below), and while Bautista is still a long-shot (+9000), he’s having that type of year. The Yankees, on the other hand, have been hard-pressed to find standout performers 😬
Gerrit Cole is the obvious exception, and if his best season in pinstripes continues, he could finally earn that elusive piece of hardware (+180)
On offense, Gleyber Torres is in the midst of a solid season while on pace for the most HRs since his huge 2019 performance. But if his .264 average is tops on the team, you know there’s been issues elsewhere in the lineup
But good news is coming on that front, Yankees fans. That aforementioned superstar with a balky toe, who needs no introduction, could be back on the field tonight 🙌
Yankees are planning to activate Aaron Judge Friday "barring any setbacks", per @Joelsherman1
He hasn't played since June 3 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport)
Jul 26, 2023
With such a big matchup looming tonight, the slugger could not have picked a better time to make his long-awaited return. Check out how the lines are shaping up for a Friday night showdown at Camden Yards 👇
Spread: Yankees -1.5
Moneyline: Yankees -124, Orioles +106
Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (NYY) vs. Grayson Rodriguez (BAL)
Surprised to see the Yankees as favorites on the road? Call it the Cole effect. But don’t count out a big performance from the Orioles’ young hurler Grayson Rodriguez either. He was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball prior to the season, and while he’s had his fair share of growing pains so far, he’s got the electric arsenal to figure it all out on any given night 😤
Trivia Question: Which closer won the NL Cy Young in 2003?
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
For My Parlay Gurus
Cole on the mound AND Judge making his return? While it’d be very on-brand for the Yankees to disappoint in this one, that’s just not a recipe I can ignore in good conscience. I’m going with the Yanks to come out on top in a pitcher’s duel tonight — check it out 👇
Yankees ML vs. Orioles: -124
Under 8.5 Total Runs: -102
$100 on this bet would win you $258 — if we hit, make sure you email [email protected] for a chance to win up to $100*. Many will enter, only some will win 😉
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Trivia Answer: Eric Gagne won the NL Cy Young Award in 2003 after securing 55 saves to go along with a 1.20 ERA and 137 strikeouts in just 82 innings
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