Five key factors to watch for in the September pennant races
Last year's AL Manager of the Year vote featured a tight race between the Orioles' Buck Showalter and the Athletics' Bob Melvin, both of whom spearheaded their teams' remarkable rises from obscurity. The race for this year's award doesn't figure to be too tight (with apologies to deserving runner-up Joe Girardi of the Yankees) given what first-year Red Sox manager John Farrell has done in Boston. Farrell has overseen the turnaround from last year's 69-win disaster -- not to mention the previous year's historic September collapse. His club has 82 wins and a 5 ½ game lead in the AL East. Surely that's worth Mike Aviles and David Carpenter, the players the Red Sox traded to the Blue Jays to get Farrell.