The end of July has arrived but the dog days of summer is just heating up around the American League. This featured a few teams making a few big moves before the trade deadline as well as a few teams making a move in their respective divisions around the league.
One of those teams has been the Baltimore Orioles after a rough stretch to start the month of July, the team finished on a better not aside from yesterday’s loss to the Oakland A’s 0-5. That included winning eight of their past eleven games to move within 5.5 games of the first place New York Yankees. The team also added a key bat to their lineup and the missing link for Buck Showalter in his issues to find an everyday outfielder outside of Adam Jones.
That player is former Milwaukee Brewer outfielder Gerardo Parra who the team was able to land before the July 31st trade deadline. Parra had spent the past six seasons split between the Arizona Diamond Backs followed by the Brewers. Parra was hitting .328 with nine home runs before the trade.
While the Orioles were making up ground within the American League East, the Los Angeles Angels haven’t been able to hold onto the top spot in the West. This stretch includes losing eight of their past ten games while the Houston Astros have won six of ten to move back to the top of the American League West.
Now this gives us a chance to take a look around the entire American League including each of the three divisions as we wrap up July and open up August.
American League East: The American League East continues to be one to watch all around Major League Baseball. This excitement grew this past week as the Orioles added a key new member to their lineup while the Toronto Blue Jays made some of the biggest moves.
That included trading for All-Star short stop Troy Tulowitzki as well as All-Star left hander David Price. Each of these moves add a key component to their lineup as they make a run at overtaking the New York Yankees atop the division. The two made key impacts in their first game with their respective club.
Tulowitzki after being acquired by Toronto picked up three hits in his debut including two doubles, one home run and three runs driven in. Price on the other hand made on start going eight innings while striking out 11 in the Blue Jays 5-1 win against the Minnesota Twins.
Along with Orioles playing some hot ball of late both the Yankees and Blue Jays have been solid as well. Each of these clubs have picked up six wins over their last ten while both the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have each went 5-5 over their last ten.
For the Yankees, the week opened up strong outscoring the Texas Rangers 27-7 over their first two games of the series including a 21 run out pour in game two of the four game series. Unfortunately the team wasn’t able to build on that momentum losing their next two games before taking two of three against the White Sox.
The Orioles hot streak continued nearly the entire week after welcoming back Nick Markakis to Baltimore, the team handed the Braves three consecutive losses. The team would end up going on to win two of their next four against the Detroit Tigers before an opening 9-2 win on Monday Night against the Oakland A’s.
Then you have the Blue Jays, who made some of the biggest moves in all of Major League Baseball. The moves played out well as the Blue Jays opened up the week splitting two with the Phillies before taking three of four against the first place Kansas City Royals.
These three teams should make for an exciting pennant chase as we look ahead to the hunt for October.
American League Central: Over in the American League Central it is looking more and more likely of only a two team race between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins. This became more and more visible this past week as the Detroit Tigers elected to trade away two former All-Stars in David Price and Yoenis Cespedes.
Despite electing to sell at the break, the Tigers are still in the Wild Card position just being three games behind both the Angels and Twins. Along with the Tigers, both the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians are alive in the playoffs. The White Sox currently trail by 3.5 games while the Indians are just six out of those two wild card spots.
The Royals currently hold a commanding 8.5 game lead over the Twins after both teams have struggled over the past week. For the Royals they opened up the week picking up back to back wins over the Indians before losing four of their next five including three against the Blue Jays. Luckily for the Royals, the Twins managed to win just two of their past seven games and seven of their past ten games.
The Twins opened the week losing back to back games to the Pittsburgh Pirates before taking two of four to the Mariners over the weekend. The struggles continued on Monday as they managed to score just one run in an 5-1 loss as David Price picked up his first win for the Blue Jays.
Could the American League Central be the division with three playoff teams?
American League West: Much like the American League East and Central, the West continues to be a battle for the top spot. This has shown up more and more over the past two weeks as the Houston Astros managed to fight their way back to top of the division after a late first half collapse.
The team’s recent success winning six of ten while the Angels managed to win just two over their last ten games. The success for the Astros this week started with a three game sweep over the Angels before taking two off three against the Arizona Diamondbacks before losing to the Rangers on Monday.
While the Astros hot streak put them in first place the Angels struggled managed to drop them in the standings. The Angels dropped all three to the Astros before being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend before picking up a 5-4 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Outside of these two teams the Texas Rangers could be a team to watch in the division after picking up Cole Hamels before the trade deadline. The Rangers are seven games out of first place in the West but only two games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot.
These next few weeks should be a fun time to watch baseball around the American League.