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Winning or losing the division

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So maybe you're concerned about the Rays holding onto their division lead now that the trade deadline has come and gone. Personally I'm not because for one thing I don't consider the situation to be very dire anyway, I don't think that the acquisitions of Rodriguez and Bay, which are upgrades over the players they replaced, are going to make a significant difference over just two months of the season. I also know for a fact that the Rays recent troubles with RISP hitting won't continue because it's basically impossible for that to happen, it would defy any sort of logic and intelligent thought if it did so. There are also upgrades available in the minors, such as Salas or Price as relievers or Ruggiano to bat against lefties. The Rays remain just as good, if not better, of a team going forward as they were the first four months of the season.

The other reason I'm confident in the Rays having a good shot at winning the division is that a three and four game lead with two months to go is larger than you may think.

If you look at the monthly records for the three AL East teams you'll see that the best two month record is 35-20 by the Rays, for a .636 winning percentage. Neither the Red Sox or Yankees broke .600 over two months of games. While it is possible for a team to play better than that for two months and it does happen sometimes it's a pretty unlikely scenario. That means that with 55 games to go the situation breaks down like this (the Red Sox have 53 games to go but for convenience we'll assume 55, since they're down four in the loss column I don't think this negatively affects them):

Each team is extremely likely to win and lose 20 games over the rest of the season. To do otherwise would be to play at a good or bad level that's very unlikely to happen. That means that in reality the only games that matter, the only ones where these moves or non-moves can affect the pennant race, are the other 15. That's right, the Red Sox and Yankees really only have 15 games in which they can gain three or four games, respectively, on the Rays.

Anything can happen but I like the way this team looks with a couple upgrades from the minors and I think they're definitely good enough to keep up with the Red Sox and Yankees for those 15 important games.