10. Can the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Angels Turn Their Seasons Around?
The four highest spending teams in baseball, winners of three of the last five World Series, proud owners of two $250 million men (Angels and Yankees), one of the greatest 1-2-3 pitching rotations of this generation (Phillies), and the best team to tank a season due to excessive beer and chicken consumption (Red Sox)—Boston, Los Angeles of Anaheim, New York, and Philly are a combined eight games above .500 as of this writing. And they're desperate, too. The Angels' shiny new first baseman, Albert Pujols, spent the first six weeks of the season not hitting, the Red Sox are playing their $150 million dollar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in right field, the Phillies just lost their No. 1 starter Roy Halladay for 6-8 weeks, and the Yankees are still pitching Phil Hughes every five days (we'll see how long that lasts). Will any of these teams make the playoffs?
The Complex Crystal Ball Says... Yes, but only one of them will be playing beyond the wild card play-in, and it's not the one you think. Between May 1 and August 31 last year, the Red Sox were the best team in baseball, and they're largely the same squad this year. They get Jacoby Ellsbury back in July, and while playing Gonzalez in the outfield seems like a recipe for disaster, the Sox have scored the second-most runs in the AL so far. The Angels are only five and a half games behind Texas in the West, and are in the thick of the early AL wild card race. They'll be fighting with the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays for the wild card (one of those East teams will win the division, obviously). Here's saying that neither the Yanks or Halos make the cut. Oh, and the Phills are toast!