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The Wheelhouse: 30 Teams, 30 Thoughts - Part 2

Derek VanRiper

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Senior Baseball Editor for, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210) from 11a-2p ET on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Closing the book on the late August/early September edition of 30 Teams, 30 Thoughts, the focus now shifts to the American League, where things are a bit more interesting than expected when you consider the gaps in the standings just a couple of weeks ago.

The Rays have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games, trimming their lead in the race for the second Wild Card to 2.5 games (Yankees) while three other clubs remain within striking distance (Orioles & Indians at 3.0, Royals at 4.5). Joe Sheehan made a good point during his guest spot on RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today this week, noting that the Rays have nine regulars in their lineup with an OPS+ of 100 or better when Jose Lobaton replaces Jose Molina behind the plate. They also have Kelly Johnson and David DeJesus at their disposal on the bench offering a similar level of production when Joe Maddon mixes and matches for his platoons. The Red Sox have a 6.5-game lead over the Rays in the AL East entering play Friday but

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