MLB Standings Watch: Boston Red Sox starting to sink


We are now about a month into the season and the AL East remains a murky picture of tightly contested teams. Four teams reside within a game and a half of each other, while the division leading New York Yankees have built a three game cushion. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox remain in the middle, further from the top and sinking toward the bottom.

After being swept by the Yankees at Fenway Park over the weekend, Boston has now dropped 7 of their last 10 games and have the division’s worst run differential at -12.

Starting pitching remains the biggest concern. Red Sox starters rank 29th in the majors with a collective 5.66 ERA. Their starters are 24th in innings pitched, but every team behind them has played at least 1 less game than the Red Sox have played. In their 25 starts this season, Red Sox starters have failed to make it out of the 5th inning six times and they have surrendered at least 5 runs in an outing eight times.

If the Red Sox are going to climb back into the race before they fall too far behind, they are going to need much better effort from their pitching staff.

AL East Standings
(A look at the division standings, as of Monday morning)

(American League team gaining momentum)

Houston Astros: Who would have ever imagined that the Astros would have the league’s best record a month into the season? Houston is rolling on a 10-game winning streak that has them running away with a division that they had been the doormat of since switching over to the AL in 2013. After piling up 203 losses over the past two years, Houston now has half the amount of losses of any team out West.

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The offense has been explosive, ranking 5th in the majors in runs scored, despite getting very little production from the sluggers in the middle of their lineup. George Springer, Evan Gattis and Chris Carter have combined to hit a pitiful .187 (49-for-261), while striking out at an alarming rate (35.6 percent combined strikeout rate).

Batting champ Jose Altuve has picked up right where he left off, hitting .361 this season, which ranks third in the league. He leads the team with 39 hits and also has driven in a team-high 19 runs, despite hitting out of the lead-0ff spot. Those RBI opportunities have come thanks to center fielder Jake Marisnick, who is carrying an even hotter bat right now with a .382 average in 68 at-bats. He doesn’t have enough plate appearances yet to qualify for the batting title, but if he keeps hitting like this then he won’t be batting 9th in this lineup for long.

(American League team that is struggling)

Chicago White Sox: Many believed that the Pale Hose were among the biggest offseason winners with key acquisitions that included Melky Cabrera, Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson, but through the first month of the season Chicago hasn’t been doing a whole lot of winning.

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A five-game losing streak has dropped Chicago to the bottom of the Central division and their -38 run differential is the worst in the league. Samardzija’s tenure in Chicago is off to a rocky start, but his 4.78 ERA is hardly the biggest concern for the White Sox considering it’s the best in their starting rotation.

Let this be a lesson to those still pining for the Red Sox to spend whatever it takes for a front line starter. The White Sox paired Samardzija with Chris Sale to form a pair of aces at the top of their rotation. How’s that working out? We know how poorly Bostons’ rotation has pitched, but Chicago is right there with them at 28th in the majors with a collective 5.52 ERA from their starters.

Oh, plus that Jon Lester guy isn’t fairing any better on the other side of town.

Playoff Outlook
(Division leaders and teams holding a Wild Card spot in the American League)

AL East – New York Yankees (16-9)
AL Central – Detroit Tigers (17-9)
AL West – Houston Astros (18-7)
Wild Card – Kansas City Royals (16-9)
Wild Card – Baltimore Orioles (12-11)