Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees: 3 takeaways

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The AL East is the most stratified division in baseball

The Orioles and Yankees spent the weekend showcasing the two extremes of the American League East. While the Yanks have the second-best record on all of baseball, the Orioles have been stuck in the cellar from the get-go.

More than two months into the season, the Birds’ poor play isn’t exactly headline news, but watching them struggle against the Yankees did put it all into perspective. Buck Showalter’s club was outclassed in every way, as the 12-6 run differential suggests.

The Yankees’ outright dominance encapsulated the dynamic in the AL East in 2018. The Red Sox (41-19) and Yankees (37-17) are miles ahead of the chasing pack — at 28-30, the Rays are the next closest at 12 games behind. No other third-place team in baseball is more than 5.5 games off the division lead, and of the seven teams that trail by 10 games or more, three are in the Al East.

The Yanks and Sox lording over the division may feel like the status quo, but it’s actually a stark change from recent seasons. In 2016, the top four teams in the AL East all finished within nine games of one another; the year before that, they finished within 13 games of one another, and in 2013, the number was 12. Fast forward to this year, and it’s a totally different story: the Yankees and Red Sox are on pace to finish over 20 games ahead of the competition for the first time since 2004.

The difference between MLB’s contenders and pretenders is rapidly expanding, and this transition is on full display in the AL East. Rebuild or not, Orioles fans would love to see the Birds reverse the trend.