Around the A.L. East - Blue Jays stay hot, the reeling Rays fall 14 games out of first.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Jays continue to roll, and a bad week by the Yankees allow the Orioles to sneak back into second place.

W-L 2014 5/30-6/5 GB
Blue Jays 37-24 5-1 -
Orioles 30-28 4-2 5.5
Yankees 30-29 2-5 6
Red Sox 27-32
3-3 9
Rays 23-28 0-7 14


1. Toronto Blue Jays

SBN Blog: Bluebird Banter
2014 record: 37-24
2014 RS/RA: 311/260 (+51)
5/30-6/5 RS/RA: 37/16 (+21)

Week in Review

It feels like the Blue Jays are just getting better, which is annoying. They've gone 5-1 since last Friday and scored an average of over six runs per game. The also allowed an average of just over 2.5 runs per game, so it's easy to see why they have such a good record.

The Jays actually split a four-game series with the Royals, losing on Thursday and Friday before coming back to take the next two with a combined score of 16-2. Edwin Encarnacion, not surprisingly, had a great series against KC with three homers, a double, and six walks. Jose Bautista didn't have such a good time, going just 3-for-19 with only one extra base hit. In their loss on Friday, starting pitcher J.A. Happ got knocked around for six runs, but the starting pitching in the next two games was superb. Marcus Stroman, making his first start of the year, and Mark Buehrle combined to pitch 14 innings with just one run allowed.

If you thought the Tigers might be able to stop the Jays, you were wrong. The Blue Jays swept them easily. Drew Hutchison out-dueled Anibal Sanchez with seven shutout innings, R.A. Dickey gave up just two runs despite having some troubles, and J.A. Happ was quite a bit better than Justin Verlander in the finale.

Upcoming Week

The Blue Jays are home for six games, three against the Cardinals followed by three against the Twins. They'll then begin a series on Thursday against the Orioles that I hope won't result it a bloodbath.

Injuries and News

Colby Rasmus (right hamstring tightness) is working out at extended spring training and could return this month. Edwin Encarnacion left yesterday's game with back tightness but is expected to be back in the lineup any time.

Encarnacion was named A.L. Player of the Month for May after hitting 16 home runs. He hit homers in three straight games three times in the month and five times he hit more than one in a game.

2. Baltimore Orioles

2014 record: 30-28
2014 RS/RA: 254/256 (-2)
5/30-6/5 RS/RA: 34/23 (+9)

Week in Review

The Orioles lost the first two games of their series with the Astros last week, giving them a four-game losing streak and driving the fans (and the announcers) to drink. But they won the next two and then took two out of three from the Rangers to go 4-2 over the last seven days.

Last Friday the Orioles wasted a good start by Miguel Gonzalez (6 2/3 IP, 2 R) by only managing one run against Brett Olberholtzer and the Astros bullpen. But they bounced back on Saturday with a 4-1 win thanks to a good game from Chris Tillman (6 2/3 IP, 1 R) and a three-RBI game by Nelson Cruz. And they smacked down the Astros pitching on Sunday with nine runs behind a home run and 3 RBI from David Lough and a grand slam by Manny Machado.

After an off day on Monday, the O's ran their win streak to four against the other team Rangers. The Orioles scored eight runs on Tuesday, including a three-run homer from former Ranger Nelson Cruz. In game two they survived two home runs by Adrian Beltre with a 6-5 win. In the finale they scored six runs but a terrible game by Tillman and an uncharacteristically bad defensive game by J.J. Hardy led to an 8-6 loss.

Upcoming Week

The Orioles kick off a ten-game home stand with a three-game series against the Athletics followed by three against the Red Sox, and finally a four-game series starting on Thursday against the Blue Jays. That's a pretty tough stretch.

Injuries and News

Miguel Gonzalez had an MRI on his side that showed a slight oblique pull, and he hopes he can be ready to pitch this weekend. Buck Showalter made it sound like he'll hit the DL, though. Matt Wieters continues to throw every few days without reports of pain in his elbow, but still no timetable on a possible return. Bud Norris has a right arm contusion from being hit by a ball on Wednesday, but isn't expect to miss too much time. Tommy Hunter is recovering from his groin strain and could return as early as Monday.

Johan Santana should be in Baltimore soon. He's currently getting ready for a few starts in the minors but mid-June seems like the target for him to join the Orioles. Imagine he joined them and was actually good? That would be awesome.

3. New York Yankees

SBN Blog: Pinstripe Alley
2014 record: 30-29
2014 RS/RA: 240/268 (-28)
5/30-6/5 RS/RA:16/37 (+21)

Week in Review

The Yankees played seven games at home over the last seven games and won just two of them, going 1-2 against both the Twins and the Athletics, and losing a make up game to the Mariners. Their offense just fell apart, scoring two runs or less in five of their games. Both of their wins came with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, as Tanaka pitched 14 innings over two games with two runs allowed, three walks, and 13 strikeouts. In the series finale they took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning (having been shut down by former Yankee Phil Hughes over eight innings), but the Twins scored six runs in the top of the ninth to come back and win.

A 2-1 victory over the A's yesterday saved the Yankees from being swept. A pitching duel between Scott Kazmir and Hiroki Kuroda went south in the tenth inning of the first game when Adam Warren gave up three runs in the tenth, and in game two they blew a 4-0 lead thanks in part to two homers hit by Yoenis Cespedes.

Upcoming Week

The Yankees are on the road this week with a four-game series against the Royals and then a trip to Seattle for three more.

Injuries and News

Carlos Beltran is back from the disabled list and was in the lineup yesterday. The Yankees could get back Francisco Cervelli (strained hamstring) and RHP Shawn Kelley (back stiffness) sometime this month. No news on CC Sabathia (bum knee) or Michael Pineda (strained shoulder), both of whom are still far away from returning.

There has been a shake up in the bullpen this week as the Yankees optioned Preston Claiborne to AAA and DFA'd Alfredo Aceves. Jose Ramirez was recalled to replace Claiborne and the Yankees claimed Wade LeBlanc off waivers from the Angels to fill Aceves' spot.

4. Boston Red Sox

SBN Blog: Over the Monster
2014 record: 27-32
2014 RS/RA: 240-252 (-12)
5/30-6/5 RS/RA: 23/18 (+5)

Week in Review

The Red Sox have been a streaky team of late, following a ten-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak. They spent last weekend sweeping the Rays even further in to the basement of the A.L. East. After a walkoff victory in game one of the series, the Red Sox pitching didn't let the Rays into the game at all over the next two. Rubby De La Rosa's seven-inning gem with 8 strikeouts shut down the Rays on Saturday, and on Sunday Jon Lester struck out twelve as he demolished the Rays' lineup.

There were of course all kinds of ridiculous shenanigans during this series, with players getting hit and ejected and David Ortiz comparing baseball to war. Brandon Workman was suspended for six game for throwing at Evan Longoria, but David Price didn't get any penalty for hitting Ortiz. It was basically two unlikable teams making themselves more unlikable.

The Red Sox winning streak came to an end when they went to Cleveland for a three-game series. John Lackey pitched an eight-inning complete game loss in game one. His three runs allowed weren't many, but they were enough against Justin Masterson, who didn't give up a run in seven innings, strike out 10 Red Sox along the way. Jake Peavy was roughed up for five runs in the second game of the series, and the Indians completed the sweep on Wednesday thanks to a 12th-inning walk-off home run off of Edward Mujica.

Upcoming Week

This weekend the Red Sox are in Detroit for three against the Tigers, then they travel to Baltimore for three against the Orioles before starting a home series on Thursday vs the Indians.

Injuries and News

The Red Sox lost catcher Ryan Lavarnway (wrist surgery) and OF/1B Mike Carp (fractured foot) to the DL with no timetable on their return. Clay Buchholz (hyperextended knee) could return in mid-June and 1B Mike Napoli (finger sprain) is targeting this weekend to return. Starting pitcher Felix Doubront started a rehab assignment yesterday so could return in a week or two. No updates for Shane Victorino (strained hamstring) or Will Middlebrooks (fractured finger).

Daniel Nava was recalled to take Carp's place on the roster and Alex Hassan to replace Lavarnway. Hassan made his major league debut on June 1st. Shortstop Stephen Drew was recalled and made his first start this year on June 2nd.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

SBN Blog: DRays Bay
2014 record: 23-38
2014 RS/RA: 228/275 (-47)
May 23-29 RS/RA: 14/34 (-20)

Week in Review

The Rays finished up a week they'd just as soon forget, going 0-7 as they were swept by both the Red Sox and the Marlins. Their bats were completely miserable as they scored only 14 runs on the week, and six of them were in yesterday's loss to the Marlins.

They scored a grand total of three runs in three games in the series against the Red Sox. They wasted a good start by David Price, but neither of their other starters gave them much of a chance even if the bats had been able to do anything. Jake Odorizzi gave up five runs in just 3 1/3 innings, and Erik Bedard gave up just three runs but couldn't complete five innings thanks in part to four walks.

In the first two games against the Marlins the Rays wasted a serviceable start by Alex Cobb (6 IP, 3 R) and a great start by Chris Archer (7 IP, 1 R, 8 K) as they scored just one run over both games. They were dealt a complete game shut out by Henderson Alvarez. They lost the next two games thanks to poor pitching as David Price gave up a three-run homer after an error by Evan Longoria extended the inning. Jake Odorizzi put up another dud in the series finale.

The Rays have now lost 10 games in a row.

Upcoming Week

The Rays will try to stop their losing streak at home with four games vs the Mariners and two against the Cardinals.

Injuries and News

The Rays took a huge blow this week when OF Wil Myers went on the DL with a stress fracture in his wrist. He'll miss at least two months. Catcher Ryan Hanigan (strained hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment this weekend, so his return shouldn't be far off. Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson will also being a rehab assignment this weekend, and could return to the Rays by the end of the month.

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