The American League East has always been one of the top divisions in baseball, and this year is no different. This season the AL East is the only division where every team has a positive run differential, and to add perspective on how difficult the division is, each team would be in first place in the AL Central.
An embarrassment of riches would be an understatement, and there are several MLBbros providing firepower to these quality ball clubs.
Can Taj Bradley Hold Down Rays Rotation?
The Rays offense has been the best in baseball by a long shot this season, so much so that it completely distracted many from the devastating blows their pitching staff has taken. With so many starters down (three on the 60-day IL), the Rays will rely heavily on the young melanated mound marauder heading into the second half of the season.
Bradley sat down 11 batters in a no-decision against the A’s and followed that up with a six-inning, three hit, eight strikeout victory against division rival Baltimore. Tampa has a stranglehold on the division now but will need Bradley to continue to show what made him their top pitching prospect.
Can Hicks Stay Hot, Mullins Returns?
The return of Cedric Mullins meant that newly acquired Aaron Hicks would eventually be moving out of center, but with his bat scorching since coming over from the Bronx there was no way he would be removed from the lineup completely.
Hicks hit a homer in Mullins return to the lineup on Sunday, and after the game spoke about the potential of an outfield that contains Austin Hays, Mullins and himself. “That becomes a fast outfield. Hard to run on,” Hicks said. “Guys will be getting to balls pretty easily.”
Hicks hasn’t played much right field in his career but is ready to contribute to Baltimore’s playoff push any way possible.
Yankees Wait For Return of Bronx Bro Bombers: Is Judge Done For Season?
Less than a full season since signing his nine-year, $360 million contract in the Bronx, Aaron Judge and the Yankees honeymoon phase has ended. It’s not that Judge’s production was ever in doubt. But the latest updates about a torn ligament in his toe will once again place the biggest star in the Bronx out of the lineup. At this point, the Yankees are hopeful that he can get back in time for the playoffs possibly, but all reports from local New York radio stations say it’s a chance he could be done for the entire season.
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Judge has acknowledged that this won’t be a quick fix, and we all know why. The last thing anyone, let alone a professional athlete with a 6’ 7, 282 pound frame should do is rush back from a foot injury. He has done some light rehab work, but the timetable for his return remains to be seen.
Aaron heads to the IL at a time when Giancarlo Stanton is struggling to find his groove since returning from an IL stint of his own. Stanton collected his first RBI since June 13 on Sunday, something the Yankees will love to see more of with their captain potentially sidelined for an extended period.
Springer Scorching Up North
The Blue Jays may not be the World Series contenders many thought they were at the start of last season, but right fielder George Springer has continued to do damage and push his young ball club toward the postseason. Over his last seven games George is slashing .357/.406/.464 with 10 hits, 6 RBI and his 55th career leadoff home run.
Despite Springer setting the tone, the Blue Jays are just 5-5 in their last 10 games. The ball is known to fly north of the border during the summer, so don’t be surprised to see Toronto take advantage of the hobbled Yankees, as we could potentially see three AL East teams in the Wild Card.