It is likely all over but the crying in the American League East. Halfway through August, the New York Yankees hold a 9.0 game edge over the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the division, but it has gotten a lot closer over the last few weeks as New York has come out of the All-Star break struggling, going 8-17 through the first 25 games. That has given life to some other clubs, but oddsmakers are still convinced that the Yankees are the team to beat.
Odds To Win The AL East
There is still a lot of reason to have confidence in the Yankees as the odds are set for them at -10,000. New York has led this division almost since Day 1. They boast the most powerful team in baseball, hitting 192 home runs through the first 117 games, and the pitching staff is still third in baseball with a 3.28 ERA. However, that ERA has ballooned to 4.06 to the first 25 games following the All-Star break.
While that may not stand in the way of this team winning the division, it could very well stand in the way of them winning the AL pennant and advancing to the World Series. However, the Yankees still have the likely MVP in Aaron Judge and a Cy Young Award candidate in Gerritt Cole. The other teams in this division are far too inconsistent to likely make a push that would knock the Yankees from the top of the perch.
Tampa Bay Rays (+2200) is in second, and were on a four-game winning streak that moved them within 9.0 games of New York at the time this article was written. Their pitching staff has been outstanding since the All-Star break, ninth overall with a 3.49 ERA. However, they are 11-12 in the first 23 games following the break, which tells you that this team simply does not hit enough. The Rays are 26th in team batting average since the break (.223) and have 17 homers in 23 games. They have also scored just 83 runs, an average of 3.56 runs per game. This is why it is not surprising that this club is just under .500 as they are leaving no room for error, and they simply are not going to make a big run with that type of run production.
The Toronto Blue Jays (+2500) were one game behind Tampa Bay and may be the most complete team in this division beyond New York. However, a 2-8 stretch demonstrates that this club struggles to remain consistent, and that will bar them from making a serious run on the AL East crown. The Blue Jays have a 3.97 ERA since the All-Star break, but that is not good enough even for an offense that is averaging five runs per game and hitting .266 in that span.
The Baltimore Orioles (+15,000) were one of the hottest teams in baseball entering the break, and have continued to win games, going 15-9 in the first 24 after the All-Star game. They have a 3.78 ERA in that span and a 3.90 ERA overall. This club is likely to win one of the AL wildcard spots, especially considering that they are averaging better than five runs per game since the break. However, they need 11 more victories than New York over the final 45 games to surpass the Yankees.
The Boston Red Sox (+40,000) are 14.0 games out of first place, and are struggling to even see if they are going to make the postseason. The club has a 5.51 ERA since the break and are 10-14. The team is averaging nearly 4 runs per contest since the All-Star game, but the performance of this pitching staff has doomed any chances they have of making a run toward the top of the division. They will likely finish in last.