The revitalization of the Red Sox franchise has made the AL East and the American League much more competitive. With the Yankees having to scrounge up wins with regressing big-name players and the Rays not able to catch a break with the injury bug, the Red Sox have capitalized by keeping their belief in the development of Jackie Bradley Jr., David Ortiz playing out of his mind, and their lineup being arguably the most dangerous in baseball.
It’s not like experts and analysts are overlooking their success for one second. They have been praised by many as the best team in the MLB and having a strong run for the pennant come playoffs.
I am not going to take anything away from their success; they are definitely a tremendous team with so much strength in their lineup it makes their World Series lineup 3 years ago look weak.
They can score runs in bunches and leave teams scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened to their lead.
Trust me. I’ve seen it.
However, June has come along and the steamrolling offense has taken a strong halt needing some resurgence from the back of the lineup. The Red Sox are 7-10 in June and in the past 5 games have averaged less than 3 runs a game with 3 of those games against opposing starting pitcher with an ERA 4 or worse.
Jackie Bradley and Travis Shaw have cooled off. Since Mookie Betts’s five homer-insanity in Camden Yards, he’s hit only 1 HR with 9 RBIs.
To top all that off, as of June 22, they are 1 game back in the AL East to the “overachieving” Orioles.
After an ample amount of experts counted out the Orioles due to poor starting pitching and projected lack of run support, they are leading the AL East and are 4 games back from the best team in the American League.
Manny Machado has proven to be one of the best players in the MLB with his magnificent hitting and fielding plus Mark Trumbo quietly being one of the best power hitters in the league.
It is not like everything has gone right for the Orioles either. JJ Hardy has missed most of the season with foot issues, Ubaldo has been as bad as it gets, and Adam Jones and Chris Davis cannot manage to hit over .250.
They are extremely similar to the Red Sox in scoring runs in bunches and having issues with starting pitching.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, Steven Wright has came out of nowhere and saved this Red Sox rotation even though David Price is beginning to take form again.
However, unlike the Red Sox, the Orioles are 12-8 in June including not having Machado for 4 of those games (suspension) and two blown leads against the Padres and the Rangers.
Even though, the Red Sox get more credit than the Orioles, the Orioles are winning the matchup 6-4 averaging over 6 runs a game.
The Orioles deserve credit, more people rather than involve the Orioles in the pennant race are waiting for them to fall over and crumble.
They are one of the best hitting teams in baseball right now, and their bullpen ERA ranks 4th in the MLB even with All-Star Darren O’Day on the disabled list.
I’m not trying to take anything away from the Red Sox, they are an extremely talented team with a young core that has the ability to be competitive many years down the road.
However, in reality, David Ortiz plans to retire after this season, and after Wright and Price, their pitching is a huge concern.
There is a slim chance they acquire Jose Fernandez in the deadline, and even if they do, they are going to have to give up Betts or Bogaerts.
The Orioles starting pitching needs just as much work as well since they do not even have a full rotation. Mike Wright is only good for talking smack about Edwin Encarnacion, and Jimenez cannot seem to buy a good outing anymore even though he probably will end up pitching sometime this week.
Fortunately, both of these teams are tremendous offensively, and their offense is going to carry them into the playoffs.
I am not saying this because I am an Orioles fan, I am saying it because 70 games into the season, they are one of the best teams in the American League, have played better face-to-face against the Red Sox, and like their past 3 years, they play their best baseball late in the season when it matters.
It will not be any surprise to me if one of the these teams takes the wild card spot with 95-100 wins to their name. Come October, expect both of these teams in the playoffs with the Blue Jays possibly solidifying the last wild card spot.