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5.5 games back

by Matt Smith

No great insights into the cultural differences between Britain and America today (to make a change).

Just a brief note about the American League standings. Closing in on 130 games being played and there is an amazing symmetry in the AL at this moment. All three division leaders (the Yankees, Tigers and A’s) have a 5.5 game lead before tonight’s games. Does that mean they all have an equal chance of making the play-offs? Probably not. There are lots of variables that come into play, whether that be injuries or their respective schedules for the rest of the season.

The Yankees look to have taken a firm grip on the East and will be hoping for some reinforcements in the next couple of weeks in the form of Matsui and Sheffield (if “selfish Sheff” can be bothered that is). Meanwhile the Tigers are on a downward curve and have the White Sox and the Twins breathing down their necks. I don’t see them giving up their top spot, but there could be a few panics along the way.

As for my A’s, well somehow we are still leading the way. To say it has been a patchy season would be an understatement; the relative weakness of the AL West this season has proved a godsend though. Our pitching and defense has been extremely effective, our batting has by and large been woeful. Our luck with injuries has defied belief at times.

Thankfully just as August starts with an A, the A’s always start in August. There are still more questions than answers. Will Rich Harden return to the mound this season? Will Bobby Crosby ever stay healthy? Is Houston Street going to be fine when he comes off the DL? Is Loaiza for real? Not to mention the slightly longer term questions of whether Frank Thomas is going to cash in (elsewhere) on his good 2006 and which team’s games am I going to have to avoid so that I don’t suffer the pain of seeing Barry Zito in a different uniform (I’m guessing the Yankees – it’s always the Yankees!).

Anyway, the point is, each division is being lead by 5.5 games and I thought it was worth noting. You be the judge!

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