Re: AL East, 2 or 3 team race?
posted at 2/26/2012 8:19 PM EST
In Response to AL East, 2 or 3 team race?
[QUOTE]Every year since 2009, I look at the Rays' lineup and say, "No way. They can't hit, and Niemann and Wade Davis aren't as good as people think." And while they can't hit, and Niemann and Wade Davis aren't as good as advertised, the Rays nevertheless contend each year. Now they have Moore and a more experienced Hellickson, so I have to include them in the race, even though they still can't hit and their bullpen is likely going to be a mess. Maybe it's Joe Maddon, maybe it's Friedman, but regardless the reason, I'm through dismissing them. As for the Sox, I think their roster is the weakest it's been in years, but if Beckett, Lester and Buchholz perform, they'll be competitive, too. I think if they get off to a bad start, they'll have trouble because of last year, Valentine's personality, and the fact that they're not an offensive juggernaut like they've been. They also need to stay healthy, and probably more than the Yankes or Rays do (given the state of the respective farm systems). Of course I'm biased toward the Yankees. Even with my candle in the window for Montero, there's no doubt Pineda could markedly improve the rotation. Adding Kuroda and a capable Hughes could make it dominant. We will beat up bad and middling pitching as always, and a healthy Andruw Jones might add a lot offensively. Thus, I see the Yankees as the favorites. After all, they won the division last year, their pitching is projected to be better, Boston has not improved (and perhaps slid a bit or even more), and the Rays have added a front-line starter but little else to eliminate their weaknesses. The key for all three teams may be Toronto and Baltimore, and to a lesser extent the Angels and Tigers. The top three in the East have traditionally feasted on the Jays and O's, and on the Central and West. To the extent those teams are more competitive, and the other divisions more challenging (especially if there's only one wild card), they make pitching depth and balanced offense on the top three more important. Again, I think that favors the Yankees, too.
Posted by Yankenstein2[/QUOTE]
The Sox have a good team and should be motivated after last season. With some health and better pitching we can make the PS.