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MLB 2019, AL East: Second Half Preview 

Danny Linsner
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
5   //    12 Jul 2019, 06:02 IST

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays

With the second half of the baseball season right around the corner, every team will have an important question that will guide their path towards September and, for some, October. 

Some of the questions are meant for the short term, and others are meant for the long term. But all of them are important, in one way or another. 

Let’s ask the one important question for each of the five teams in the AL East 

Yankees: Can we make the World Series with the pitchers were have?

Probably not, so expect the Bombers to be very active at the trade deadline. They already been rumored to be interested in Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, and Marcus Stroman, and expect the Yankees to get at least one of them. With an improved pitching staff and an almost completely healthy lineup, the Yankees should secure their place as one of the World Series favorites. 

Rays: Can we find the magic from last year and make the playoffs?

Last year, the Rays surprised everyone in baseball by making a push for a wild card spot, but they didn’t quite have enough to finish the job. This season, the team is in a similar position, but this time they actually own one of the wild card spots. 

Charlie Morton has proven to be a quality offseason pickup for the Rays
Charlie Morton has proven to be a quality offseason pickup for the Rays

The acquisition of Charlie Morton has paid off for the Rays, who has pitched well enough to make Blake Snell’s struggles not as big of a deal. The team has been led by a group of mostly unknown hitters, but they’ve come up with enough timely hits to not be an offensive disaster. The Rays have enough offense and defense to earn the wild card spot they couldn’t grab last year. 

Red Sox: Can our bullpen clean their act before September?

In the past month, Boston has largely righted the ship after their rough start to the season, though they still have to do some work if they want to defend their title. While the offense has gotten hot in recent times, the pitching, both in the rotation and in the bullpen, has yet to catch up. Expect the Red Sox to be involved at the deadline to pick a couple of rotation and bullpen arms. 

Blue Jays: How good can Vlad Jr. be?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has become a big name in Toronto since he joined the majors, and he had his national breakout Monday in the Home Run Derby. Even though he didn’t win the derby, he put on quite the performance, and his name is now firmly on the baseball map.

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Since this team has almost no chance to make the playoffs, their second-half focus should be on helping Vlad Jr. improve as a player, and to try to help their other young talent grow around him. 

Orioles: Can we be better than what we were last year?

While this may have seemed ridiculous when the season started, however, as we approach the second half of the season, this outcome has become far more realistic. The team currently sits at 27-62, worst in the league, and the team shows no sign of improving.

While there have been some bright spots on the roster, like Trey Mancini, Renato Nunez, and Andrew Cashner, the Orioles appear headed on a crash course to either beat or equal their putrid record from last season. 

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