May 29, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey (41) reacts to getting out of a jam during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Red Sox 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Turning up the Heat in the East

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? If the AL East is the toughest division in the major leagues and no one talks about it, is it still impressive?

Yes and yes!

Hockey just wrapped up and the LeBron-verses-Jordan debate rages on. Football is ramping up and the Celtics are coachless. I understand that there are some important sports stories going on at the moment. But there’s plenty of room in the 24-hour news cycle for us all.

A mere 6.5 games separates first from worst in the AL East. Every single team is at or above .500. The Sox have first place, but both the Orioles and the Yankees are breathing down our necks. This, to me, is kind of a big deal.

Being in first place in a division like this is a “best of the best” situation. Staying on top of the AL East will be a challenge. The bullpen looks a bit shaky at the moment. Clay Buchholz threw in the bullpen today, but only made it 15-18 pitches and is heading for the MRI machine. John Lackey’s been looking good (say what?!?) but Jon Lester has been slumping (or declining, depending on how you look at it). The hitting’s been great, but we all know how fast bats can go cold.

The sky isn’t falling. But the mountain that is the AL East will be a difficult climb during the dog days of summer as all five teams gnaw one another’s paws off down the stretch.

Tags: AL East Boston Red Sox

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