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May 22, 2014 at 12:04 am ET
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5-Pack of Wieners: The AL East

Watching the American League East standings this season is akin to watching the scoreboard Hot Dog Races at Camden Yards. Mustard establishes a narrow lead only to be overtaken by Relish, who relinquishes to Ketchup, setting up a photo finish. None of them is very good and the winner’s a toss-up.

The Orioles led the division for a while, with the Yankees and Toronto in lukewarm pursuit. After Wednesday’s games, NYY and TOR are tied, with BAL half a game back. All three are hanging a few games over .500, but hardly lighting up the league.

If those three are the division’s most common frankfurter condiments, then Boston and Tampa Bay are chopped onions and chili sauce, dripping down the division’s arm and falling onto its shirt.

Tampa Bay … go figure. No offense whatsoever. Pretty shaky pitching. Not very good on the road. Terrible at home. Here’s everything you need to know about the Tampas: on Wednesday, Brandon Guyer (.204, .220, .286) hit cleanup against Oakland. He went 0 for 3 until Joe Maddon pinch hit for him. Again, we’re talking about the number-4 hitter. Then, a defensive meltdown combined with a couple walks and made for an ugly second inning. Erik Bedard ate the loss.

The Red Sox can’t hit, can’t score and can’t pitch. Otherwise, they look great. The Sox needed every break, every close call, every weird hop to fall their way last year. And that’s exactly what happened. This year, Boston and Tampa are the wrinkly wieners, turning over and over on the back rollers, withering under the heat lamps.

Despite sad, shriveled  Tampa and Boston, nobody’s out of it yet. The American League East has no Houstons, no Cubs and no Arizonas – the turkey, chicken and tofu dogs of 2014. Even under the best of circumstances, nobody wants a tofu hot dog. The AL East, for all its problems, is grade-A beef and natural casing. Fall a half dozen games out and you’re still in shouting distance. A fresh bun and a brief stay under the nacho cheese nozzle can work wonders.

The Yankees are old and hurt. And tied for first place.

Toronto surrenders a ton of runs. And is tied with the Yanks.

The “slow start” by Baltimore’s sluggers is morphing into an “off-year.” But there they are, half a game back.

West of here, Detroit and Oakland threaten to murderize their divisions. The Athletics have a staggering plus-99 run differential, 50 runs higher than the next-highest in baseball. Which, of course, is Detroit.

The A’s and Tigers should start printing playoff tickets. The AL East should order fries and a Coke with their dogs and settle back for a long, strange race.

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One Response to “5-Pack of Wieners: The AL East”
  1. Donny says:

    esskay by a nose!

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