Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays lined up for four-way battle

Here we are, three weeks into May, 11 days from a traditional measuring stick day in baseball -- Memorial Day. While it might be more trope than policy, the truism has always been that it is the first date during the long season when teams start to make qualitative judgments about their rosters -- and the rosters of their primary competitors.

What judgments, then, can we make about the American League East? Here is one: The rebuilding Baltimore Orioles appear to be headed for the cellar. But we kind of knew that already, did we not?

The Boston Red Sox have been clinging to first place in the division since the first week of the season. Clinging is the right word: The Red Sox needed a ninth-inning rally against Toronto on Thursday to beat the Blue Jays 8-7, and maintained a one-game advantage over the Rays in the division.

If Toronto had held on, things would be even tighter, but even so, the AL East is officially a four-team logjam.