Thanks the to mediocrity of the American League East, the Boston Red Sox are only eight games out of first place, despite a 38-47 record. They would be 14.5 games behind Oakland in the AL West.
The Orioles (46-39) have taken over first place in the East (1/2-game over the Blue Jays), with the worst winning percentage of any first-place team.
Which brings us to this weekend, specifically a doubleheader today against the Orioles (Lester and Lackey vs. Gonzalez and Jimenez), and a single game Sunday.
Boston could get as close as five games (if Toronto loses to the A's this weekend) with a sweep, or fall back as far back as 11 games.
If it's the latter, assume the Red Sox to become sellers at the trade deadline.
Speaking of trades, Theo Epstein's Cubs dealt two top pitchers (Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel) to the A's, who apparently are tired of reaching the playoffs, but then exiting before the World Series. Oakland traded its top two prospects (shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney) and one-time pitching prospect Dan Straily (1-3, 4.93 in the majors this year).
New Pawtucket shortstop Deven Marrero (.273) hit a two-out RBI double in the top of the 10th to give the PawSox a 3-2 win over Syracuse. In the bottom of the 10th, Marrero figured in all three outs. He caught a line drive and doubled off a baserunner at first, and then fielded a ground ball and threw out the runner to end the game.
Steven Wright (2.40 ERA) pitched eight strong innings (5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K) ... Alex Wilson (5.27) has struggled but got the win with one-hit pitching over the last two innings ... Travis Shaw (.268), Christian Vazquez (.278) and Alex Hassan (.259) all had two hits.
Portland was rained out Friday (doubleheader today, starting at 4 p.m,), but we got a chance to catch up with Sean Coyle, the infielder whose Double-A numbers not only compare to Mookie Betts, but another second baseman to come through these parts, named Pedroia. See today's column.
Greenville second baseman Carlos Asuaje (.306) hit his 10th home run ... Lowell outfielder Danny Mars (a sixth-round draft pick this year) went 3-for-4 and is batting .448 (13-for-29) in seven games