SPORTS

Leasts of the East: Yankees and Red Sox Slow Out the Gate

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05:  Rafael Soriano #29 of the New York Yankees is pulled from the game in the eighth inning after loading the bases against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on April 5, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: Rafael Soriano #29 of the New York Yankees is pulled from the game in the eighth inning after loading the bases against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on April 5, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

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The Boston Red Sox are supposed to win the World Series, experts said; the New York Yankees, those same baseball authorities said, are sure to make the playoffs anyway, backing in through a wildcard berth.

So much for those predictions.

It's early, but the would-be beasts of the AL East have shown glaring weaknesses. The Yankees have a respectable 3-2 record; it is the way the team lost, however, that has its universe of fans concerned.

Phil Hughes got rocked by the Detroit Tigers, and the buzz in the press and talk radio was less about the single performance and more about his decreased velocity. 

And Tuesday night, their prized bullpen -- the same group that effortlessly shut down the Minnesota Twins the night before -- got blown up by the same team. Rafael Soriano, he of the $35 million contract, imploded in the 8th inning.

Soriano, the set-up man to Mariano Rivera, walked three men and allowed four runs. It marred a masterful performance by CC Sabathia, who threw seven scoreless innings. The Yankees lost, 5-4, in 10 innings.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, haven't won a game. The team, which made a splash in the off-season by trading for Adrian González and signing Carl Crawford with a $142 million deal, is 0-4. They were swept by the defending AL champion Texas Rangers, and lost again to the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night.

Crawford, whom manager Terry Francona has shifted up and down the lineup, has been awful to start. The speedy outfielder is hitting only .133. 

González has been a little better, but unspectacular. He is hitting .294, but hasn't hit any home runs and only has three RBIs.

Beyond the heavyweights, experts predicted that the AL East would be more competitive this year. The Baltimore Orioles, led by Buck Showalter, is in first place with a 4-0 record. The Toronto Blue Jays are right behind with a 3-1 mark, while the Tampa Rays, defending AL East champs, have lost all of their five games.

Check out Latino players in the American League and National League who could have an impact on their teams' success.

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