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July 27, 2023

Five of the six MLB divisions have their first- and second-place teams separated by three games or fewer. That includes the AL East, where the Orioles are up 1.5 games on the Rays. Incredibly, neither team was the favorite or even the second choice to win the division on Opening Day. The Yankees topped the AL East odds board then at +130, followed by the Blue Jays at +185.

But who will finish on top of baseball’s toughest division? We asked our favorite baseball ⚾ guru Ariel Epstein to give us her thoughts.

Rays to win AL East (+130)
EPSTEIN: “Pitching gets you to and through the playoffs, and Tampa’s starting rotation is way deeper than Baltimore’s. I also expect the Rays’ bats will heat back up, there’s just too much talent in that lineup. The Rays also have a major edge in the fact that they’ve been in this position before. Tampa has made four straight postseasons under manager Kevin Cash, while the Orioles have zero postseason games in the Brandon Hyde era (since 2019). Back the Rays to win the AL East.”