I took a look at the American League East standings this morning, and found something that kind of shocked me.
Baltimore is now fourth in the division behind the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kind of scary, isn't it? I'm more scared that Toronto is doing so well, not that Baltimore is struggling. Toronto could have passed Baltimore if they were to struggle, but they struggled and Toronto has played well. That doesn't bode well for New York or Boston.
With Baltimore struggling, we're going to have to look at the individual players that are struggling. The first player that I think of is All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts.
Roberts was playing above standards that everyone set for him at the start of the year. He hit .379 in April, .358 in May, and .356 in June. But now in July, Roberts has fallen off the map and is hitting .231 this month and hitting only .200 the last seven days. The biggest question in May was concerning Roberts: can he play this well the whole season? Apparently the answer is `no,' but he still has time to turn it around, considering he is still on pace to hit 24 home runs and knock in 83 runs.
Bruce Chen is another pitcher for Baltimore that really wasn't as good as his stats displayed. His ERA was hovering around 3.50 from April to June, but now in July it's a different story. In 24.1 innings pitched, Chen has a 7.40 ERA and opponents are batting .340 against him.
Sidney Ponson, who really is never good, hasn't helped Baltimore's struggles in July. Ponson is usually bad, but in July he's just been horrible. In 21.2 innings in July, he has a 7.89 ERA and opponents are hitting .348 off of him. To make it worse, he left the game last night after getting hit on the pitching hand with a line drive. Wait. That's bad for him, but is it bad for Baltimore?
This is a great thing for Boston. Baltimore has a dangerous lineup, and for some reason their somewhat-poor pitching staff always has great success against our Boston lineup. With them struggling, I'd much rather take my focus off of them and watch our backs for Toronto. Toronto seems to be playing above their ability too, so maybe both of these teams can fall off the map completely. That's asking for a lot, but it's possible.
Oh, yeah. Add New York to that "fall off the map completely" list, too.