Another Big Weekend For The AL East

ANOTHER BIG WEEKEND IN THE AL EAST: RAYS/YANKS, O'S/JAYS, AND BOSTON VISITS DETROIT

We've been checking in periodically with the American League East this year in the NOTEBOOK because it is clearly the best division in baseball top-to-bottom. We've been trying to tie those updates in with peak schedule situations when the teams are playing each other. That's certainly in play right now, as four of the teams are in head-to-head matchups while division leader Boston is on the road against AL Central leader Detroit. Huge Weekend!

If you think the AL East gets too much media coverage because of "East Coast media bias,"check out these records outside the division.

AL EAST TEAMS VS EVERYONE ELSE
Baltimore 25-16 (.610)
Tampa Bay 21-14 (.600)
Toronto 23-16 (.590)
Boston 24-17 (.585)
NY Yankees 23-21 (.522)

Those are through Thursday action because of publication deadlines. All five teams are over .500 vs. the rest of baseball. And, four of the five teams are up near .600 ball against the rest of the field! Only the Yankees are sweating the .500 mark...and they haven't been playing with a full roster all season. The Yankees at full strength would likely be just as good as everyone else in this sampling.

Pay special attention to Toronto. They started the season slowly...but that was partly because they ran into a buzzsaw of a divisional schedule. They are playing at playoff caliber vs. everyone else...and are starting to show some signs that they can compete for at least a Wildcard now that their starting pitching has settled down some.

Saturday's pitching matchups

TAMPA BAY AT NY YANKEES (1:05 p.m.)
Colome: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Sabathia: 7-5, 3.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

Colome has only made one start this year, allowing no earned runs in 5.2 innings vs. Miami a few weeks ago. Facing Miami isn't exactly a tough test. He'll be a prohibitive underdog here while battling butterflies in the Big Apple.

Sabathia has been inconsistent, making it very tough for handicappers to trust him at big prices. Obviously a 7-5 record isn't going to make money as a big favorite! Very interesting challenge for handicappers here...because Tampa Bay's potent 2013 offense may be able to neutralize the perceived mound advantages for the Yankees in this veteran star vs. rookie matchup.

BALTIMORE AT TORONTO (1:05 p.m.)
Gonzalez: 5-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Wang: 1-0, 3.14 ERA, 1.53 WHIP

Gonzalez has been very effective since returning to the rotation from an injury about a month ago. He's trimmed about three-fourths of a run off his ERA in that time. And, one of those good outings came on this field against the Jays. If Baltimore ever gets consistent pitching, they're really going to become a force in this division and the league.

One of the biggest surprises of the season thus far was Chien-Ming Wang having a good game in Arlington against the Rangers. Texas was so embarrassed they soon held a closed-door meeting to yell at each other! That lousy WHIP is probably a sign of things to come for the veteran trying one last time to latch on. Clear edge to Baltimore unless Gonzalez takes a step backward.

BOSTON AT DETROIT (7:05 p.m., FOX-TV)
Webster: 0-1, 11.74 ERA, 1.96 WHIP
Scherzer: 10-0, 3.08 ERA, 0.91 WHIP

Webster had a quality start vs. Kansas City in April, then a horrible start vs. Minnesota in May. Very tough spot for the youngster on the road against the potent Detroit offense.

Scherzer is having the year everyone thought Verlander would have for the Tigers. He's not going to keep winning every decision because the laws of math won't allow it. But, he's managed his control very well this year, and is extremely tough to hit when he has his best stuff. He'll be expensive in this pitching matchup. Will he be overpriced considering those pesky laws of math?

JIM HURLEY looked very closely at these games and the rest of the card when determining his final Saturday slate. You can purchase that right here at the website Saturday morning. Be sure you take care of business EARLY because of all the afternoon starts on Saturday. Then do the same thing Sunday to close out a blockbuster weekend. If you have any questions about baseball or early bird football, call the office at 1-800-323-4453.

We'll see you Sunday for more baseball here in the NOTEBOOK. Basketball may be over...but plenty of BIG winners are ahead in a SUMMER of STUNNERS from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

21
Nov

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