The AL East was suppose to be a 3 team race this year between the Sox, Rays and Yanks, however on May 19th the Toronto Blue Jays sit atop the division 3.5 games ahead our Boston Red Sox.
This is the first look we'll have at the over achieving Blue Jays this year. The Jays look solid from top to bottom with Halladay anchoring their starting rotation and one of the best offenses in baseball. Halladay is 8-1 with an era of 2.78, probably for the best that the Sox won't face him this series.
Other then Halladay the rest of the Jays success remains a mystery, are they this years version of the Tampa Bay Rays?
Aaron Hill and Adam Lind are batting over .300 and have combined for 18 taters and 69 RBI, pretty much the Canadian version of Ortiz and Manny.
Behind Hallaway the Jays are throwing out Robert Ray, Scott Richmond, Brian Tallet, and Brett Cecil, 4 guys I've never heard of until I just looked it up. Without stealing too blatantly from Tony Mazz's article today, these guys are 9-5 with an ERA around 4 if my math is right. Not too shabby.
As for the Sox, Ortiz is back in the 3 hole tonight with Bay batting 4th in the absence of Kevin Youkilis. Youk is down in Pawtucket rehabbing his back, last night he went 0-4 with a whiff. What's important about these starts down on the farm is that Youk can swing a bat and play pain free. Getting back into the groove he was in when he went down will take some time and some major league at bats.
Dice K is due back this week as well which means Masterson is probably heading back to the bullpen. Hopefully the time off did Dice some good as Masterson has been great in the starting rotation, hate to lose a quality start even if we are beefing up the bullpen.
There's been a lot of talk that the Jay's have played a soft schedule and that when they play the big 3 in the east they will come back down to earth, I guess that starts tonight. Still, to be a contender you have to beat up on the weak teams and the Jays have done that this year.
One final thought, does it strike anyone else as weird that the Red Sox are done with their west coast trips for the year and haven't played a single game against the Blue Jays?