As the March Madness betting starts to wind down, the online betting world is starting to shift its attention to MLB. Last season, the AL East saw one of the most colossal collapses of all time when the Boston Red Sox went into a September tail spin that took the team out of the AL East lead and then eventually out of the playoffs. Terry Francona lost his job and Bobby Valentine was given the chance to skipper a team again.
There were some changes made in the AL East after last season and some teams were able to retain the strength of their lineup that will give them a chance at being contenders once again. The price per head sports experts are picking the New York Yankees to win the AL East again in 2012. Let’s take a look at the AL East and see where things could stand by the time September rolls around.
New York Yankees
The Yankees made some changes in the off-season, but it remains to be seen if those changes were upgrades. Pitcher A.J. Burnett was allowed to go to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he was injured in spring training. In Burnett’s place, the Yankees have reactivated Andy Pettitte. If Pettitte can make a complete comeback from retirement, then he could help an already strong Yankees rotation. But in the infield, the Yankees are getting old. This could be the last run for guys like Jeter and A-Rod. It will be interesting to see how the mix of youth and experience plays out in the Yankees batting order.
Projected Finish: First
Boston Red Sox
There are a lot of reasons to put the Toronto Blue Jays in this spot, but the Red Sox just have too much offense to stay completely out of the playoff hunt. A sportsbook review of the Red Sox’ season last year shows that Terry Francona lost the team and the team lost itself. What failed the Red Sox down the stretch was its pitching. What kept the Red Sox afloat during its run in the middle of the season was its offense. If Valentine can hold the starting rotation together, and the Red Sox can find an adequate replacement for departed closer Jonathan Papelbon, then the Red Sox should be a playoff team in 2012.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays started to come on strong towards the end of the season, but it was way too little way too late by the time the team started winning. The Jays are building a good starting rotation and still possess one of the best offenses in the AL. If Toronto can bolster its bullpen, get the starting rotation to be a little more consistent and find a closer it can rely on, then the Blue Jays could be on its way to making noise in the AL East.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays found a way to generate offense in 2011 even after Carl Crawford went to the Boston Red Sox. The Rays have always had strong pitching, but it is over the top offense that the Rays have lacked. With B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld will not be there to start the season and that could have an effect on how the Rays finish this season.
The MLB blogs are already writing the obituary for the Orioles’ season. Last year, Baltimore made it through the first month of the season in first place in the AL East. This season may not be quite that exciting for the Orioles’ fans.