Our complete MLB standings explores the big week the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians used to take control of their respective division races.
As defending American League pennant winners, the Cleveland Indians were a heavy preseason favorite to win the AL Central. Likewise, the Boston Red Sox, whose season came to an end at the hands of the Tribe in three-game sweep in the AL Division Series, were favored to win the East for the second straight season.
However, for the majority of the first half of the season, neither Boston nor Cleveland looked like a first place team. Two upstarts, the Twins in the Central and the Yankees in the East, spend the bulk of the first half in first place instead. However, as the calendar turned to July, both the Red Sox and Indians are back where they belong – atop the standings.
Since falling to 21-21 May 20, and dropping to 4.5 games out of first place, the Red Sox have won 26 of 40 games. After a 7-1 run last week, Boston now has a three-game lead over the Yankees. The outfield trio of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Andrew Benintendi has been key to the club’s success at the plate during that period, while Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel have carried the pitching staff all season. Also, reliever Joe Kelly hasn’t allowed a run since April.
Corey Kluber has been a savior for the Indians, whose starters struggled mightily early early in the season. In six starts in June, Kluber was 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 43 innings. Opponents hit .150/.192/.204 over that span. Offensively, Jose Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Eduardo Encarnacion have all been red hot at the plate over the past month, and have carried the Tribe to 13 wins in 19 games, helping push the division lead to three games over the Twins and Royals – the largest of the season.
Thing look like they should now in both the AL East and AL Central, but how do the full MLB standings shake out?
American League East
Boston Red Sox (47-35, .573, – GB)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. Twins, 3-0 at Blue Jays
- Home Record: 25-14
- Road Record: 22-21
- Runs Scored: 399
- Runs Allowed: 336
- Run Differential: +63
- Streak: Won 4
- Last 10: 7-3
Next Week: July 3-5 at Rangers, July 6-9 at Rays
New York Yankees (43-37, .538, 3 GB)
Last Week: 2-2 at White Sox, 1-2 at Astros
- Home Record: 24-13
- Road Record: 19-24
- Runs Scored: 452
- Runs Allowed: 348
- Run Differential: +104
- Streak: Lost 2
- Last 10: 4-6
Next Week: July 3-5 vs. Blue Jays, July 7-9 vs. Brewers
Tampa Bay Rays (43-41, .512, 5 GB)
Last Week: 1-2 at Pirates, 2-1 at Orioles
- Home Record: 24-18
- Road Record: 19-23
- Runs Scored: 406
- Runs Allowed: 388
- Run Differential: +18
- Streak: Lost 1
- Last 10: 5-5
Next Week: July 4-5 at Cubs, July 6-9 vs. Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles (40-41, .494, 6.5 GB)
Last Week: 2-1 at Blue Jays, 1-2 vs. Rays
- Home Record: 25-16
- Road Record: 15-25
- Runs Scored: 363
- Runs Allowed: 431
- Run Differential: -68
- Streak: Won 1
- Last 10: 5-5
Next Week: July 3-5 at Brewers, July 6-9 at Twins
Toronto Blue Jays (37-44, .457, 9.5 GB)
Last Week: 1-2 vs. Orioles, 0-3 vs. Red Sox
- Home Record: 20-22
- Road Record: 17-22
- Runs Scored: 335
- Runs Allowed: 380
- Run Differential: -45
- Streak: Lost 4
- Last 10: 2-8
Next Week: July 3-5 at Yankees, July 6-9 vs. Astros
Mookie Betts was the star of the show last week, primarily for his 4-for-6, two-home run, eight-RBI performance in Sunday’s 15-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The blowout sealed a three-game sweep in Toronto and pushed the club’s record to 7-1 for the week.
In addition to Betts, Hanley Ramirez hit .474/.500/.947 with two home runs and four RBI in four games, Deven Marrero hit .455/.500/.591 with seven RBI and Dustin Pedroia hit .409/.581/.545 also with seven RBI. Jackie Bradley had 12 hits. Only Betts had more among major league players for the week.
Oh, and Chris Sale was just as dominant as he’s been all season, posting a 2-0 record and 0.68 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. Drew Pomeranz was nearly as good, going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings across two starts.