The New York Yankees find themselves with the best record in baseball, having won three out of games since the second half of the season started. With a record of 55-34, the Yanks maintain a comfortable 8.5 game lead in the American League East over the surprise Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees good first half was fueled by several key players including All-Star keystone combination Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, both who are hitting over .300. Outfielder Curtis Granderson leads the team with 25 homers, which is second in the American League. First baseman Mark Teixeira leads the Bronx Bombers with 61 rbi’s, good for fifth in the league. These four hitters have been hitting the tar out of the ball, as if they’ve been using ATEC pitching machines in batting practice.
The Yankees pitching staff is led by upstart Ivan Nova who is third in the league with ten wins while closer Rafael Soriano has done a fantastic job of filling in for the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, who has been lost for the season to injury. Soriano’s 23 saves are fourth in the AL. The starting pitching has had solid first half performances from C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. The bullpen is consistently good with four relievers maintaining ERA’s under 3.00 – Soriano with a 1.51 ERA, as well as David Robertson, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada.
Injuries will factor into the Yankees division run. With the aforementioned Rivera out for the season, the Yanks other key reliever, Joba Chamberlin, is fighting to return to the bullpen after a lengthy injury. Outfielder Brett Gardner is nicked up and on the disabled list. The Yankees will be in the market to bolster their bench, particularly the outfield, as the trade deadline nears.
Looking at the Yankees upcoming games, they begin a west coast swing this week visiting Oakland and Seattle. The end of July brings NY home with two key series against division foes Baltimore and Boston. The season may be decided in early September though with 16 straight games against division rivals including home and home series vs. the Orioles and Rays and an away series against the Red Sox.
The Yankees have the veteran leadership to carry them to another division title. The question is: can they get past two time defending AL Champ Texas to make it to the World Series?
Today’s guest blogger is Rebecca Wilcox.