With the 2022 MLB All-Star break roughly a month away, it is time to start glancing at the standings with the season halfway approaching.
It seems like this year there are a few top-heavy teams with solid leads in their division and the rest of the teams are all bunched together. For example, you have the New York Yankees with a 49-17 record and an 11-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. It is safe to say the Yankees are going to be contenders going towards the end of the season.
Besides the Yankees, you have the New York Mets and the Houston Astros who both have solid leads in their divisions. The first-place teams in the American League Central, National League Central, and National League West are only a few games apart. With the divisions pretty much heavily favored by their first-place teams, the Wild Card spots are up for grabs. Looking at the early Wild Card spots, several teams are bunched together, separated by one or two games.
It is crunch time, so which three winning MLB teams will fade out of contention?
Boston Red Sox
Entering Monday’s play, the Boston Red Sox sit fourth in the American League East behind the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays, with a 36-31 record. The Red Sox are 13.5 games out of first place with a steep hill to climb. The Yankees are dominating the AL East and, with the Yanks’ huge lead in the division, the best bet for the Red Sox to make the playoffs would be a Wild Card spot. As of now, the Sox are a half game behind the Rays for the third Wild Card spot. Can it be possible for four out of five AL East teams to make the playoffs? With the new Wild Card format, there is a shot that the Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees make the playoffs. Right now, the Red Sox are in contention to make the playoffs … but it won’t last.
The Red Sox starting pitching has been an issue all year long. As of now, starting pitcher Michael Wacha has the team’s best ERA with a 2.28 and a 5-1 record. All the other starting pitchers for the Red Sox have an average of an ERA in the high 3s. The Sox are banking on Chris Sale returning around the All-Star break, but what does Sale have left in the tank? Sale has been battling injuries the last few years and it is tough to guess what he has left.
With their current pitching rotation, the Red Sox doesn’t have a clear ace. With a lack of dominant pitching and a below-average lineup, the Red Sox can’t keep up with this Wild Card race.
Taking a look at Boston’s batting lineup, you can see their key stars putting up solid numbers. Currently, Rafael Devers has a batting average of .333, J.D. Martinez has a batting average of .349, and Xander Bogaerts has a batting average of .339 … and everyone else is way below the average. Boston’s big free agent signing, Trevor Story, has not lived up to the expectations. His batting average is only .219 and is not contributing much to their lineup.
To beat the Red Sox, just pitch around their All-Star players. Boston’s other players aren’t contributing anything, and it clearly shows. I’m sure other teams will notice this trend and the Red Sox will slowly start dropping in the standings.