LADY AT THE BAT: Lady's Choice 2014: The AL East, Part 2

Monday, March 31, 2014

Lady's Choice 2014: The AL East, Part 2

We conclude our 2014 Lady's Choice Series with blog contributor Christina Brown's predictions.  With hers being more optimistic than my own, it will be interesting to see which one of us turns out to be right at season's end.--Bernadette Pasley

We are one day away! One day from the start of the New York Yankees 2014 campaign and the last chance to do season predictions for the Bronx Bombers and their ever dangerous A.L. East Division rivals. So, here we go. Spoiler alert: The Yankees are winning the 2014 World Series.

Of course, you should still watch the games. That’s the fun of it but when that parade is making its way down Broadway through the Canyon of Heroes, remember you heard it here first.

I know. The Yankees have their issues. Their infield is comprised of two players coming off serious injuries (Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira), a player with a laundry list of injuries and far removed from his prime (Brian Roberts) and a third baseman with very little experience at the position (Kelly Johnson).

As for the rotation, CC Sabathia’s fastball still isn’t hitting 90 mph, Hiroki Kuroda had a rough second half and a less than optimal spring training and Masahiro Tanaka is still an unknown.

So, yes, there’s some anxiety and pain along the way and the Yankees won’t win their division and will instead make the playoffs as the first Wild Card. The rotation will be better than it looks on paper with Michael Pineda playing a big role and the lineup will produce, especially considering the good karma due the Yankees after last year.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you get into the playoffs, it matters how you perform once you're there. Ask the St. Louis Cardinals about that one. Here are the details:

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2014 A.L. East Division Winner: Tampa Bay Rays

It pains me to put anyone other than the Yankees in the top division spot but between the never-ending wealth of starting pitching and the combination of the reigning Rookie of the Year and the dangerous when healthy Evan Longoria, the Rays are a team built to win.

Never fear though. The Yankees come in second in the division, edging out Boston by just a game or two. With starting pitching that should be steady and reliable even if not remarkable, and an offense that should be rejuvenated as long as it’s healthy, the Yankees are built for the long haul of a 162 game marathon. Plus, it’s Derek Jeter’s last year and my money is always on the Captain. Here’s how I have the division stacking up:

2014 A.L. East Division Projected Standings
  1. Tampa Bay Rays
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Toronto Blue Jays
  5. Baltimore Orioles
Grumble all you want (I certainly am) but the 2013 Boston team was not a fluke. They had some good luck, yes, but also great players, and don’t look to have a big drop off after losing Jacoby Ellsbury or Stephen Drew. The race for 2nd place will go down to the wire.

The Blue Jays endured a terrible year in 2013 after being projected by many to be destined for the World Series. They return most of that team again this year and, make no mistake, the team from Toronto is very dangerous. That offense can hit with the best of them when healthy and with anything resembling decent starting pitching they will hold their own most nights.

The Baltimore Orioles are another victim of the A.L. East division. A good team but not quite strong enough to leap into the top three. Even after some great stealth moves as spring training kicked off, they’ll still battle the Blue Jays for 4th place.

2014 Major League Baseball Playoffs

As already stated, the Yankees are taking home the prize this year but it’s pretty interesting how they do it. Here’s how the rest of the A.L. shakes out:

A.L. East Division Winner: Tampa Bay Rays

A.L. Central Division Winner: Detroit Tigers

Impossible to vote against a lineup with Miguel Cabrera and a rotation fronted by Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer

A.L. West Division Winner: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

I know, I know but with a healthy Albert Pujols and the remarkable Mike Trout plus the erratic but powerful Josh Hamilton, this will (finally) be the year that the Angels live up to expectations.

A.L. Wild Card #1: New York Yankees

A.L. Wild Card #2: Boston Red Sox


Summary

The Yankees win the Wild Card elimination game, beat the Detroit Tigers in the A.L.C.S. (extracting sweet revenge in 6 games) and defeat the Washington Nationals (nope, not the Dodgers) in the World Series, clinching in six games.

Get your best John Sterling impressions ready Yankees fans. You’ll need it. Let’s Go Yankees!

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