Plenty of factors sent every team in the American League East in the direction they've headed this season. Every team also has one number or statistic that has defined its season.Here's a look at those clubs and the one statistic or number that explains why the team is where it
Plenty of factors sent every team in the American League East in the direction they've headed this season. Every team also has one number or statistic that has defined its season.
Here's a look at those clubs and the one statistic or number that explains why the team is where it is now:
The number: 62
What it means: That's the number of players who have appeared in at least one game for the Blue Jays this year. That's a new franchise record and shows just how tumultuous this season has been. There was never any stability following early season injuries to Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman, along with the suspension of closer Roberto Osuna. There have been 14 pitchers who have made at least one start for Toronto, so it should come as no surprise that its rotation ranks 28th in the Majors with a 5.24 ERA. As the losses piled up, the Blue Jays turned to a full rebuild and have since welcomed in a slew of September callups to finish the year.
The number: 6
What it means: The last-place Orioles traded away six key players this season: Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach and Darren O'Day. The hope is the that club, with the 15 players netted in return, can kick-start a rebuild. Obviously, it's been a tough season and things haven't gotten much better following the trades as the O's try to patch together a team of youngsters and evaluate for the future.
The number: 31
What it means: That's the number of pitchers the Rays have used this season. Of those 31, four were position players who filled in during a pinch. A big part of why Tampa Bay has employed so many pitchers is its use of an "opener."
The Rays have unveiled a unique strategy this season in which they don't use a traditional starter, rather opting to use a pitcher more accustomed to pitching in relief. Sixteen pitchers have started for the team this season. The opener has normally pitched anywhere from one to three innings. Save for the use of Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, who fill traditional starting roles, Tampa Bay normally goes through the rotation using openers three out of five nights.
What it means: That is the number of times the Red Sox have won this season when trailing after six innings. It's a clear indication that manager Alex Cora's team never feels it is out of a game. For a team that hopes to go deep into October, the confidence the team possesses in the late innings should be a positive factor.
The trend of no situation being too tough to overcome started to gain steam on April 8, when the Sox were down, 7-2, against the Rays, and exploded for six straight two-out hits in the bottom of the eighth. The fun went on all year long. Perhaps most dramatic, was the comeback on Sept. 5 at Atlanta. Boston trailed 7-1 in the eighth on a day when Cora rested Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, the team's three top hitters. But the Red Sox came back anyway, and the hero was Brandon Phillips, who punctuated his first Major League game of the season by clocking the go-ahead homer in the ninth.
The number: 65
What it means: The number of extra-base hits tallied by Miguel Andujar, who recently joined Joe DiMaggio (1936) as the only rookies in franchise history to stroke 40 doubles and 20 homers. Along with fellow AL Rookie of the Year Award candidate Gleyber Torres, Andujar has helped the next wave of "Baby Bombers" make up for production lost to various injuries in the second half.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.