Of playoff races, Webb gems, young stars, and Jo-ba!

First, congrats to Brandon Webb on your 3rd straight shutout, running your scoreless innings streak to 42. Whew! Watch out, Orel!

Now, on to the races!

AL EAST: Current Standings:

Red Sox 73-49 .598 –

Yankees 68-54 .557 5.0

Blue Jays 62-59 .512 10.5

Orioles 56-64 .467 16.0

Devil Rays 46-75 .380 26.5

The words "written off" have been worn out describing the Yankees on May 29th, when the Yanks hit rock bottom, trailing the Red Sox by 14 and 1/2 games. But since, the Yanks have gone historic, going 46-25 and gaining 9 and 1/2 games. Now we’re five back with the Red Sox doubleheader split (thank you, Eric Gagne) and a win for us. Most of the thanks goes to Melky Cabrera, the centerfielder, Robinson Cano, the second baseman, Jorge Posada, the catcher, Derek Jeter, the shortstop, Alex Rodriguez, the third baseman, Shelley Duncan, a backup outfielder, first baseman, and DH, Hideki Matsui, the leftfielder, Andy Pettitte, a starter, and two young guns, Phil Hughes, a starter who has allowed three runs in his last two starts, and Joba Chamberlain, who in 4 major league appearances spanning over six innings, has given up no runs and struck out nine, including two in his perfect Yankee Stadium debut, in which he left the mound yelling and pumping his fist to chants of "JO-BA, JO-BA!"

My pick: Yankees. Red Sox tie Mariners in wild card.

Biggest young stars of this division: Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Red Sox starter Jon Lester (20 strikeouts in 28 innings since returning from cancer), Red Sox closer Jon Papelbon (1.87 ERA, 29 saves, 63 strikeouts in 43 innings), Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (.324), Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan (8-7, 4.14, 90 K’s), Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill (.267, 12, 63), Orioles starter Erik Bedard (12-4, 2.98, ML-leading 207 K’s in 169 innings), Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie (7-4, 3.50), Orioles rightfielder Nick Markakis (.298, 11, 74, 16 SB’s), Devil Rays starter Scott Kazmir (9-7, 3.44, 168 K’s in 157 innings), Devil Rays starter James Shields (9-8, 4.22, 148), Devil Rays outfielder B.J. Upton (.316, 16, 54, 13 SB’s), Devil Rays rightfielder Delmon Young (.294, 9, 64).

Division MVP: Alex Rodriguez: .304 AVG, 39 HR’s, 115 RBI’s, 15 SB’s

Coming next time, the AL Central!

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