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AL Roundup

Who's Going to Start Losing?

There are currently four teams that are in the race for the Wild Card in the American League, and I'm including the current leader of the AL West, the Oakland Athletics, in this list, because the West is really the only division with three competing teams atop the heap. Oakland leads it as of the writing of this article, but let's lump them in with the Wild Card kids for now. (And yes, I am aware that the Red Sox are now only 5.5 games behind the Yanks, but let's not talk about that gap yet.

The last ten games have been a windfall of wins for each of these competing Wild Card Teams.

Anaheim 9-1
Oakland 8-2
Boston 8-2
Texas 7-3

The question is, who is going to start losing?

The Athletics look as though their starting pitching has begun to gel, and if history has anything to do with it, they're in the best position to finish the season strong. In the very near future for the Athletics is a division match-up at Texas and then three at Tampa Bay.

After sweeping the lowly Kansas City, the Angels have six games of tough ball ahead of them: three at home against Minnesota, and then three in the unfriendly confines of Fenway Park. Look for that series to be a HUGE one for both teams.

The Red Sox are white hot right now with their bats on fire and strong starting pitching. Along with the starting pitchers, reliever Mike Timlin has really shined in late inning, high-pressure situations as of late, as has closer Keith "the Incredible" Foulke.

The BoSox have four at home against the Tigers and then those three large games against Anaheim before traveling to Texas.

When is Texas going to make that long-predicted slide into obscurity? It hasn't happened yet, and their play as of late has shown only minor signs of letting up. However, Chan Ho Park returns to the rotation this week for his first start since May 19.

After they're through with the Twins, the Rangers host the struggling Baltimore Orioles before heading to Minneapolis to face the Twins at their house.

And in other news…

Tribal woes
Last week I talked about how close Cleveland was to catching the Twins? Well, Cleveland ran into some problems, mainly with getting the big "W". They were swept by the Twins, lost two against the Yankees, and went on a nine game losing streak. Ouch.

Is it scurvy??
Jason Giambi has been the picture of ill health this season, with his ailments ranging from stomach parasites, benign tumors and, most recently, a respiratory infection. This week Yanks skipper Joe Torre called Giambi's return this season "remote".

As for the Yankees lead in the East, it's shrinking after a recent slump by the pinstriped ones. As of the writing of this article, the lead over Boston is now 5.5 The good news for the Yankees? They get to play the hot knife against the buttery Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians in their next seven games, and then they get to unwind on Baltimore, too.

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