Sep
06

Poll: The Biggest Threat

By

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Despite last night’s win, the Yankees are still in the middle of a borderline disaster ten-game stretch that has seen them go just 2-4 in the first six games. Their big and comfortable AL East lead has disappeared and right now they’re just one game up with 26 to play. We’re used to the Yankees battling the Rays for the division crown, but the Orioles are new to the mix this season after 15 years of being non-competitive. Because of that recent history, it’s easy to write them off. Heck, I did it pretty much all season up until about two or three weeks ago.

In a lot of ways, these current Orioles are similar to the 2008 Rays, who just snuck up on everyone and became good all of a sudden. I think the young talent on that 2008 Tampa team — Evan Longoria, Jamie Shields, David Price, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford , etc. — is way more impressive than what they have going on in Baltimore, but Buck Showalter has his team in the race in early-September and they deserve a ton of credit for that, even if Nate McLouth is batting third.

It’s obvious this four-game weekend series with the Orioles has enormous division title implications, but we can’t forget that the Rays are right there as well. They’re three back in the division, one good weekend from taking over first place. All three of the AL East contenders have different strengths and weaknesses, and yet they’re all essentially in the same position with roughly four weeks to go. The Yankees are fortunate that because they’re currently in the lead, they control their own destiny and theoretically don’t need help from anyone else.

Anyway, with a few hours to go before first pitch tonight, I figured it was a good time to see who you folks consider to be the biggest threat to the Bombers in the division race. Both the O’s and Rays are dangerous but I personally believe one of those two clubs is more dangerous than the other. You might feel differently, so let’s find out…

Who is the biggest threat to the AL East crown?
Total Votes: 1193 Started: September 6, 2012 Back to Vote Screen
Categories : Polls

51 Comments»

  1. Syrio Forel says:

    It’s the Os. The Rays struggle to score runs. If our offense had been able to do anything we could have won Game 1. So they got shut out by Felix, everyone does, but then they get shut out by the Royals and Darvish and Carlos Villanueva. The Os can score, they have a better all around lineup than Tampa.

  2. Betty Lizard says:

    Rays. Rays. Rays. And Rays.

  3. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    No other team in the East has the pitching that Tampa possesses. Even with Niemann out they still have a formidable staff including Wade Davis who pitched last night and could be a #2 on any staff. Moreover they have shutdown lefty and righty relief. Their only weakness may be the hitting and it is adequate for their pitching.

    • Jose M. Vazquez says:

      Did I mention that their closer has been pretty good this year.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Wade Davis could be #4 on the majority of staffs, but wouldn’t be the #2 on any playoff team in the hunt this year.

      He is decent but clearly not a #2, heck he isn’t the Rays sixth choice to start.

      • Laz says:

        Yea, wade isn’t a #2 on most staffs. He was a top prospect, around #15 in all mlb when he came up. He never really worked out.

        • Jose M. Vazquez says:

          Would you settle for Price, Moore, Cobb, Hellickson and big game James Shield and Niemann + Wade as your sixth and seventh starters. Wish we had a staff like that.

          • Jose M. Vazquez says:

            Shields.

          • FIPster Doofus says:

            Yeah, but that doesn’t make Davis a No. 2 on any staff. He’s not even close to being that good.

            • Tom says:

              +1

              Wade Davis had the 3rd worst fWAR and FIP/xFIP in major league baseball in his past 2 years as a starter (2010/11, qualified starters). He also had an ERA over 4, pitching in a pitcher’s park in front of one of the better defenses.

              For some reason any young pitcher who puts a Rays uniform on is perceived as a topline starter.

              Wade is a back of the rotation starter who will be a very good bullpen arm. He would probably be a 5 for a lot of teams, maybe a 4 on some weaker staffs. Randy Wolf had better ERA’s and advanced stats in that timeframe… is he a #2 in most rotations?

  4. Travelbug83 says:

    Why is Andruw Jones not an option?

  5. Cy Pettitte says:

    Rays this year and the next few years going forward.

    I think the O’s will be kind of like the 2010 Padres. 6 game west coast trip and finishing the season with three at the Trop knocks them out of the playoffs. (this may, of course, be wishful thinking)

  6. KLitke says:

    The Rays are the better team, but with so little time left and the Orioles being slightly closer, I went with them.

    • Nick says:

      This. We’ve been writing them off all season and I think we’ve now reached the point where their momentum and the adrenalin in most of the players that haven’t been here before will carry them to the line.

      • River Ave Bipolar Disorder says:

        This betrays a lack of understanding of momentum in both physics and baseball.

        Baseball momentum begins and ends with the starters each night.

  7. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I picked the Rays, but this is mostly meaningless. They’re both right behind the Yankees, and there are a buttload of games against both teams left. The Rays are the bigger threat because we’ve seen them do exactly what they’re doing for several years now. The “lesser threat” could still just as easily pull it off. We want them to turn back into a pumpkin, and I still think they will. Midnight may just be 2013.

  8. paul a says:

    As long as the Yankees take care of their own buisness it dosn’t really matter whose the biggest threat.Lets hope yesterdays team meeting is the turnaround point, and by the way if its true that it was A-Rod who called for the meeting, then why do the Yankees even have a Captain, isn’t it the teams captains responsibility to take care of these things.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Yes, its item #5 in the job description…
      #4…Decide which restaurant the Rook’ needs to make reservation for.
      #5…Call team meeting when the “suck” is present.
      #6…Find out which girls are working in the club tonight.

  9. Travelbug83 says:

    On a more serious note, I am worried about both teams but probably a little more about the O’s. They’ve exceeded all expectations and don’t have much left to prove. With all teams having glaringly obvious weaknesses (Rays – hitting, O’s – Pitching, Yankees – …both?) it might just be that little bit of momentum that will give the Orioles the edge.

  10. rondd5 says:

    ….it’s the rays….they have the better closer….

  11. CUYanks says:

    I think that even if you consider the Rays are the better team, are they 2 games better (over a 26 game stretch) than the Orioles? You have to factor in who is closer in the division.

    • Laz says:

      The Rays starters could easily go out and shut down the opposing offenses. The O’s are all dependent upon timely hitting, and winning close games.

  12. CS Yankee says:

    O’s, due to remaining schedule.

    Yankees have the easiest remaining, O’s about the same (as the Yanks)and the Rays have like 3-4 more games with teams above .500.

  13. blake says:

    I keep waiting for the Os pixie dust to wear off…..hopefully itll be this week.

    • Mike says:

      The O’s need to just aim for 0.500 for the rest of the season, the Yankees are defeated and there is no clear indication of how they can turn things around now that JoeG has repeated that they won’t alter their approach. They’ll keep trying to hit homeruns to score runs.

    • Brett says:

      hopefully Toronto killed tinkerbell last night…

  14. Mike says:

    I find it hard to believe that any NYY fan would have the O’s written off three weeks ago, considering that the NYY have sucked since the all star break. Heck, they’ve just had one really good month and it was against the NL during june, the NYY are barely playing above 0.500 vs the American League.

    And while the O’s have not been playing excelent baseball, they surely are playing far better than the 0.500 the NYY have been playing mosst of the year (months of 13-13, 14-14 and 15-13 to go along a 13-9 and a 20-7 month).

    Then again, as long as JoeG dismisses the idea of the Yankees using small ball to score runs, this team is once again doomed and would be better if they don’t make the playoffs than to suffer yet another embarrasing exit in the playoffs.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I would rather make the playoffs and lose than not make the playoffs.

      100 million times out of 100 million.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Absolutely. To think otherwise makes no sense to me.

      • Syrio Forel says:

        Right. Because as long as you’re in anything can happen. Any team that gets in can get a couple hot pitchers and win it all. Our 2000 WS club won 87 ballgames and went on to win the WS.

        And Joe did bunt last night with Nix. Jeter stole 3rd. I don’t know how much more small ball they can play with aging power hitters who aren’t very fast. They won, isn’t that enough?

  15. Pasta Stumbling Sojo says:

    Not that these numbers should be treated as gospel, but they show that it’s relatively close.

    According to Coolstandings:
    Chances of O’s winning the division – 17.2%
    Chances of Rays winning the division – 23.0%
    Chances of Yanks winning the division – 59.8%
    Chances of Red Sox winning the division – <0.1%

    (I included that last one just for fun.)

    • Bobby two knives says:

      THAT is fun! O’s will fold under the pressure, Showalter notwithstanding. They’re having a great run, but all the games will most likely be close from here on out, and the pressure will be too much, IMHO.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Well, do they have a decent methodology? Never been there.

      I love me some Nate Silver, but he’s not exactly doing baseball anymore.

      • Pasta Stumbling Sojo says:

        It’s pretty reasonable. Doesn’t take into account injuries and trades and changing rosters, but otherwise is decent.

        I think the Baseball Prospectus one takes current rosters into account, and they give the Yankees a better chance, and give the Rays and O’s equal chances of making it.

  16. OldYanksFan says:

    If you look at Run Differential:
    NY: 85
    TB: 79
    Os: -21

    That’s a HUGE differnce between the Os and the other 2. Can they keep it up?
    Maybe. But statistically, especially wih Longo back in the lineup, you have to give the Rays the edge.

  17. Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW) says:

    Themselves.

    /Thread over

  18. OMG! Bagels! says:

    Everyone here said from day one that the Orioles were a mirage. We have kind of enjoyed first place despite all the injuries and many times in spite of ourselves with RISP issues etc. The Orioles have done the slow and steady kind of thing and we were basically ignoring them expecting them to return to what the Orioles are supposed to be and for the Yankees to continue being the Yankees.

    I don’t know if we were really that good or just caught a bunch of breaks. Right now I have no idea what to think. I had hoped we’d be cruising the first week of September and not fighting for first place. I’m sure lots of people (esp Sawx fans) are enjoying the slide. I just hope they get their crap together very very quickly.

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