The American League isn't as bunched up as the National League, but there are still several playoff openings that need to be worked out as we head into the stretch run of the regular season.
No team has a perfect roster, and this is the time of year where weaknesses can begin to show up and determine outcomes of games. So, here's the biggest weakness of every AL contender.
7. Boston Red Sox: Starting Pitching
Who would've thought the weakness of the Boston Red Sox would be their starting pitching, especially when you consider the money they've spent and the names on the back of their jerseys? Even though the bullpen leaves much to be desired, the rotation has struggled most of the season; they rank eighth in the AL with a 5.08 starters' ERA. They need the Chris Sale of old and David Price to come back healthy if they want to make a Wild Card run.
6. Oakland Athletics: Lack of Frontline Starter
Overall, the Oakland A's starting rotation has done the job. However, unless they plan on using the opener during the postseason, who is your Wild Card Game starter? You know, someone you can feel good about in a win-or-go-home scenario. They've piecemealed this rotation together with veteran No. 3-5 starters, which worries you down the stretch, and into October if they make it.
5. Tampa Bay Rays: Pitching Depth
Tampa Bay is having a really good season and would probably be in the hunt for a division title if they were in the NL. Unfortunately, though, you have to worry about whether they have enough pitching to get through September, especially with Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell and Yonny Chirinos on the shelf with injuries.
4. Cleveland Indians: Infield Depth
Cleveland's biggest weakness heading into the deadline was the outfield. They addressed that nicely, with the additions of Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes. You combine those two with their star-studded infield of Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana, and you have yourself a lethal lineup. But what if they lose one of those infielders to injury? They don't have much quality depth to replace those guys (as we saw earlier in 2019 during Lindor's absence and Ramirez's extended slump), making their offense easier to handle for opposing pitching staffs.
3. Minnesota Twins: Bullpen
Minnesota needed help in the bullpen at the deadline, and they added Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo to fix the problem. While Romo has been solid, Dyson struggled and then went on the IL. Taylor Rogers has been very good, but do the Twins have anyone aside from Romo who has postseason experience? They added at the margins and it could cost them, as they duke it out with the Indians for the AL Central title.
2. Houston Astros:
The Houston Astros fortified their starting rotation with the addition of Zack Greinke, and even though it sometimes goes unnoticed, they possess a top-five bullpen in all of baseball. Combine that with their lethal offense, and they are clearly one of the best teams in the game. However, if one of their prized starters (Verlander, Cole, Greinke) go down for any extended period of time, they might have a tough time filling the void, as they lack pitching depth throughout their organization.
1. New York Yankees: Starting Pitching
The New York Yankees have the type of bullpen that can shut down lineups come the postseason, but there are question marks up and down their starting rotation. Outside of Domingo German (who's a young pitcher approaching his career high in innings), New York has seen inconsistencies from James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and downright cratering from J.A. Happ. They didn't address things at the deadline, so now they are stuck waiting for Luis Severino, featuring veteran arms who can't be relied upon right now.