For much of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, the NL West was regarded as the best division in the game. Perhaps we’ve been looking in the wrong place… and the wrong league this whole time. That’s because the American League East has four teams all with a chance of making the playoffs. One of those is the Toronto Blue Jays, and they took home a fifth straight victory on Monday as they pummeled the New York Yankees 8-0. Marcus Semien hit two home runs in the game, one of which was the first run of the game, while Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. hit his 40th dinger of the campaign. Hyun Jin Ryu was solid and capable on the mound, pitching six innings in which he allowed just three hits and three lone runners aboard. The loss was the third consecutive for the Bronx Bombers, and it means they fell a game further back.
The same can be said of the Boston Red Sox as they lost another tight one to the Tampa Bay Rays in ten innings. Sporting a 7-1 lead after two innings and with Chris Sale on the mound, it looked apparent that the Red Sox were going to cruise to a win, but they weren’t meant to be. The Rays scored four on one crazy play in the fourth to reduce the deficit to two and then picked away until Austin Meadows hit an inside-the-park home run in the ninth to square up the scores at nine apiece. Nelson Cruz would drive in a run in the tenth, one of three on the day, and Brandon Lowe’s single partially allowed (with a Boston error) Cruz to come home and put them up to two. It would end up 11-10, and the Rays had once again beaten their division foes. That leaves Tampa 8.5 up in the division with less than a month to go, so it’s practically theirs. The real race is for the Wild Card. The Yankees lead that battle by half a game over the Red Sox for the home-field advantage slot. Toronto is a further three back along with Seattle. It is going to be very interesting to see who takes those last two places, and even more compelling to see how they do in the playoffs once they reach them.