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5 things to watch from AL East down the stretch

@JesseSanchezMLB
August 15, 2019

The final six weeks is always the most exciting part of the season. The divisional and Wild Card races are two of the many reasons to stay tuned in the final month and a half of the regular season, but there’s much more. There are also records to be broken

The final six weeks is always the most exciting part of the season.

The divisional and Wild Card races are two of the many reasons to stay tuned in the final month and a half of the regular season, but there’s much more. There are also records to be broken and milestones to be reached.

Which feats will be matched, and which players will go down in the record books? Who will come up short? Those questions will be answered in the games that remain. Here’s what to watch from the AL East down the stretch.

Blue Jays

It’s been a season to remember for Toronto’s first-year players. The Blue Jays could finish the season with their rookies leading in many offensive categories, both individually and as a team. The rookie group already leads Major League Baseball in cumulative games played, hits, home runs, RBIs, walks and extra-base hits. Cavan Biggio leads all AL rookies in walks while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finds himself near the top of several AL rookie categories, including hits, doubles and RBIs. Guerrero will need a late power surge to catch White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who leads the AL rookie group in home runs with 20.

Orioles

Jonathan Villar is on the cusp of making O's history.

The second baseman has 15 home runs and 26 steals, and he has a chance to be the eighth in club history to post a 20-20 season. The last Orioles hitter with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases was Manny Machado, who hit 35 homers and stole 20 bases in 2015.

Villar hit his 27th double of the season on Wednesday against the Yankees.

The Orioles, who have allowed 250 home runs this season, have already set the AL record for home runs surrendered in a season and the staff is nearing the Major League record of 258 by the Reds in 2016.

Rays

Don’t look now, but the Rays have a chance to surpass the franchise record for wins in a season. The 2008 team owns the mark -- going 97-65 in 2008, and we know how that season turned out for Tampa Bay. Could another trip to the World Series be in the works?

Here’s what we know now: The Rays need to go 26-15 over their last 41 games to tie the franchise record for wins. With the club currently in the middle of a stretch of 21 consecutive games against teams under .500, there’s a chance to reach the number of wins needed.

Red Sox

Rafael Devers' home run on Wednesday against the Indians was his 71st extra-base hit of the season. He has already cemented his place in Red Sox lore and he now has his eyes set on the Major League record for his age group.

Earlier this week, the young infielder joined Ted Williams as the only other Red Sox player with 70 or more extra-base hits in a season at the age of 22 or younger. Williams notched 86 extra-base hits in 1939 and 80 extra-base hits in '40 before turning 23.

Devers is on pace for 94 extra-base hits and he could break the record of 96 in a season by a player age 22 or younger set by Joe DiMaggio in 1937.

Yankees

The Yanks are scoring at a historic pace.

In fact, the club is the fourth team since 1900 to play at least 200 games without being shut out.

Here’s another way to look at it: Since the 204-game streak started on July 1, 2018, there have been 337 shutouts in the Major Leagues, including 11 thrown by Yankees pitchers. What’s more, each of the other 29 big league teams has been shut out at least three times during that span. In all, the Yankees have been held to one run in just 15 of those games while scoring at least 10 runs 28 times.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.