Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AL Questions of contention

With July winding down talks of which teams will make it to baseball's postseason are really starting to pick up. This week we present the questions that each American League contender must address in their push for the playoffs. Check back next week for the National League breakdown.

AL East

Rays- The obvious question for the Rays is whether or not they will be able to keep up their unexpected run. They are a young and talented team, but they are largely unproven and inexperienced. Removing the “Devil” from their nickname has launched them into relevance, now all they have to do is remove this botard from their fan base and they’ll also gain respectability.

Red Sox- The Red Sox are the defending champs and obviously have what it takes to win it all. However, an injury to David Ortiz along with inconsistency from Manny Ramirez does leave them a bit vulnerable. Plus there is always the possibility that Manny gets the wrong in-flight meal and decides to go all “Manny being Manny” on the pilot and kills them all.

Yankees- The Yankees have enjoyed unexpectedly solid pitching, but due largely to inconsistent offensive production and injury, still find themselves in third place. So the question is, just how lucky is this gold thong? Can they clone it so it can be worn by 3-4 players at a time? And can they get a lucky gold bra to pick up Jose Molina’s batting average/bustline?

AL Central

White Sox- The southside boys have shown sparks of brilliance, but overall inconsistency this year. The real question for them is whether or not they will continue to be motivated by Ozzie Guillen’s garble-mouthed, expletive ridden tirades. If Ozzie’s psycho-rants become too passé, he may have to jump it up a notch and just start slaying people (I vote he start with A.J. Pierzynski).

Twins- With the Twins constantly letting their most talented players leave town, Minnesota fans have to wonder if they even want to win. Now one of their own players, pitcher Francisco Liriano, is asking for a union investigation as to why the Twins have not called him up to the majors. So the only real question here is, how the hell do they keep winning when they’re trying so damn hard not to?

Tigers- After an absolutely dismal start, the Tigers have shown at times they can be as dangerous as everyone thought they’d be, putting up 19 runs on 3 separate occasions. On the last occasion however, their “star” catcher Ivan Rodriguez struck out in the 9th inning against the Royals last pitching option, shortstop Tony Pena Jr. They’ll need to know if Major League Baseball will allow them to pinch hit Manager Jim Leyland in Pudge's spot in the order if they’re going to make any sort of run at the playoffs.

AL West

Angels- The Angels own the best record in baseball despite the fact that their team leader in batting average is hitting only .287. Unless their absolutely superb pitching can continue, the Angels may have to begin flapping their arms in hopes for some supernatural help at the plate.

Rangers- The Rangers, thanks in large part to a certain former drug addict you probably haven’t heard much about yet this year, have been unbelievable at the dish so far, landing in the top 3 in every major offensive category. So the question for Texas is whether Josh Hamilton can pitch too, because they also own the league’s worst ERA and batting average against.

A’s- Oakland is still in the hunt as usual, even after trading away most of their key players… as usual. Their trademark trades of talent in order to stockpile youth has got to have you wondering if Billy Beane’s ultimate plan is just to remain mediocre in the majors while dominating the minors with an iron fist for years to come.

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