The Yankees looked to start their “second half” on the right foot. The Red Sox need to gain games in the division as the Rays inch closer. The Jays are trying to switch places with the Rays before having their home games in Toronto. Let’s look at what happened over the weekend and what’s to come this week in the MLB American League East.

BOSTON RED SOX

Thursday’s only game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues. The five All-Stars had to be tested to make sure they were negative after being around Aaron Judge, who was tested positive for COVID-19. 

Because of the postponed game, which will be made up with a doubleheader in August, Eduardo Rodriguez started Friday’s game. He went 5.2 innings and kept the Yankees offense scoreless. J.D. Martinez hit his 19th home run of the season and Christian Arroyo hit the 3-run home run in the second inning that sealed the deal for the team. Tanner Houck pitched three scoreless innings. MLB American League East

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS

The game started out as a rain delay and ended up being called after 6 innings of rain. Nathan Eovaldi pitched a no-hitter into the 5th inning and even though his pitch count wouldn’t allow him to complete the game, he could have easily handed the ball to Matt Barnes. Unfortunately, it did not get to that. He gave up one run that tied the game before Hirokazu Sawamura gave up two runs in 0.1 innings. Josh Taylor finished the inning before the game was in a delay and eventually called.

Martin Perez lasted 4 innings and gave up three runs on Sunday’s rubber match. Darwinzon Hernandez gave up four runs and two walks while Brandon Workman walked three batters. The Sox offense had five hits but only one run. Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-3 and Martinez went 1-for-3 with a walk. Rafael Devers had three walks. The Sox lost two of three games played against the Yankees in this series. 

Arroyo will most likely head to the IL after injuring himself playing first base for the first time. Danny Santana is expected to join the team in Buffalo so the move for him is pretty much already done.

The next series for the Sox is against the Blue Jays. Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards, and Tanner Houck will pitch during the series before heading home to face the Yankees again.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

The Rays played against the Braves over the weekend. Michael Wacha pitched four innings and gave up 4 runs. The Braves scored six runs off of the Rays pitching staff and the offense came back to tie it in the 9th. They won it in the 10th inning to keep their distance behind the Red Sox 1.5 games in the standings. Ji-Man Choi hit his fourth home run of the season off of Charlie Morton. Pete Fairbanks got his fourth save.

Josh Fleming pitched in game two’s loss on Saturday. He went 4.1 innings and gave up seven runs. Yandy Diaz went 2-for-4. The offense only had four hits and two walks in the game. With the Red Sox losing in their game that was called due to weather, the Rays stayed 1.5 games behind.

Rich Hill took the mound on Sunday. He went four innings and gave up three runs. Wander Franco hit his third home run of the season and Diaz hit his fifth.  The Rays scored seven runs to win. This win makes the Rays half of a game behind the Red Sox.

Next for the Rays is facing the Orioles. MLB American League East

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Robbie Ray pitched in game one against the Rangers over the weekend. He went 6.2 innings and gave up no runs. Jacob Barnes gave up the only two runs the Rangers scored in the 10-2 win. All-Star MVP Vladimir Guerrero Jr.hit his 30th home run of the season in the first inning. Marcus Semien hit his 23rd. Teoscar Hernandez hit his 12th and Randal Grichuk hit his 17th home run. 

The postponement on Saturday meant a doubleheader on Sunday. The Jays swept the Rangers with shoutout wins. Hyun Jin Ryu pitched in the first game and went the whole seven innings. Danny Jansen hit his fifth home run of the season. Lourdes Guerriel Jr. and Santiago Espinal went 2-for-3.

Game two was started by Steven Matz. He pitched five innings while Rafael Dolis and Taylor Saucedo pitched the other two. The offense scored 10 runs.  Gurriel Jr hit his 11th home run, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 31st, George Springer hit his sixth, and Randal Grichuk hit his 18th of the season.

Next up for the Jays is facing the Red Sox at home. They have a chance to shake up the top three spots in the division. They recently got approved to play in Toronto starting July 30th and could bring their games to Toronto as a wild card spot holder. MLB American League East

NEW YORK YANKEES

As mentioned in the Red Sox section, Thursday’s game was postponed. Six Yankee players were tested positive for COVID-19 including Jonathan Loaisiga, who was out on the COVID IL before last Sunday’s game. Aaron Judge was one of the players who tested positive and because he was around others during the ALl-Star break, it caused MLB to notify other teams to have the players tested.

Thankfully, none of the Red Sox stars and others in the league have tested positive. Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Wandy Peralta, and Nestor Cortes Jr.were the others that tested positive. Luke Voit was placed on the IL for left knee inflammation. Hoy Park, Rob Brantly, Trey Amburgey, Greg Allen, and Christ Gittens were called up to fill in the spots.

PLAY BALL

Jordan Montgomery had a quality start going six innings and gave up three runs. The offense couldn’t do anything against Rodriguez and co. The Yankees offense isn’t at its full strength so to give up runs early in the game and it can put a damper on the offense trying to score runs. Three runs can feel like ten.

Gerrit Cole and Nathan Eovaldi is a matchup I was looking forward to and boy did it not disappoint. The rain, however, did disappoint. Game two started with a delay for weather heading towards the stadium. Then it started an hour later and played through the rain and was called in the 6th inning. Cole pitched 6 innings and gave up one run. Gary Sanchez hit his 16th home run of the season and Gleyber Torres hit his fourth. The Yankees won their first game against the Sox this year. Tim Locastro exited the game with a torn ACL.

SERIES WIN

Jameson Taillon went 5.1 innings and kept the Red Sox scoreless on Sunday. Zack Britton returned from the IL and gave up one run in 0.2 innings. Torres hit his fifth home run, Rougned Odor hit his 10th, and Ryan LaMarre hit his first of the season. The Yankees had their own injury during the game when Trey Amburgey was taken out of the game with a right hamstring cramp. It looked like another injury was happening when LaMarre, who was just called up, banged into the wall but he stayed in the game.

After a day off on Monday, the Yankees face the Phillies at home before heading to Fenway Park to face the Red Sox again.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

The O’s faced the Royals to start their “second half” of the season. Keegan Akin pitched three innings and gave up six runs. Shaun Anderson gave up the other three that totaled in nine runs the Royals scored. Pedro Severino went 3-for-4 with a home run. 

Jorge Lopez pitched 4.2 innings and gave up four runs in game two. The offense responded by scoring eight runs to win the game. Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini went 2-for-5. The O’s took the series with a win on Sunday. Matt Harvey went six innings and kept the Royals scoreless. Austin Hays went 2-for-5. The bullpen did its job in keeping the Royals scoreless as well.

The next series for the O’s is against the Rays. They have a chance to spoil the Rays’ chances of taking first place or stepping down to third.

LET’S SPIN IT

The Rays have a chance to take first place from the Red Sox. The Sox were 22 games over. 500 on July 5th and since then, they are 2-6 in their last 8. If the Sox do not turn it around, they will be looking at second place or third place as their home. The Yankees finally beat the Red Sox and managed to do it with their weakened lineup. Funny how baseball works huh? It does seem like the Yankees are running out of players to have on their roster and it could hurt them until the big players return. This week is one to keep an eye on with four teams facing each other to try to shake up the top three spots.

The trade deadline is approaching and it is expected that the top AL East teams will be making moves to improve or fill in gaps for their chance in October.

New York Yankees fan banned for life

Feature Image by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire MLB American League East