Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yankees benefit from Red Sox freefall

The New York Yankees lost another baseball game last night, but they didn’t lose any ground in their quest for the American League East title. Why? Because the Boston Red Sox also lost, squandering an opportunity to get a game closer to their archrivals.

With Mariano Rivera finally getting the attention he deserves for closing in on the all-time saves record, the Yankees pursuit of another division title has temporarily become a secondary topic in the Yankees universe. The Yankees have managed to put and maintain some distance between themselves and the Red Sox even though the Yankees lost two games against the lowly Baltimore Orioles last week and suffered a tough defeat in Seattle last night.

If we were paying attention to the Red Sox, we would see that their struggles have left them completely incapable of gaining ground on the Yankees. Tim Wakefield managed to get his 200th victory after 20 tries (ok, maybe not that many although it sure seemed like it), but little else has gone right for the Saux in the past few weeks. The Red Sox got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, who are chasing the Red Sox for the American League wild card, and will face that talented young pitching staff again starting tonight. Boston’s fire-throwing young stud Daniel Bard blew a big game last night. But the Red Sox will get their ace Josh Beckett back on the mound Friday and if they can split the four-game series with the Rays, they will be in good shape in the wild-card race. My hope is that the Red Sox and Rays batter each other into submission so that whoever makes the playoffs doesn’t have much left in the tank.

Of course, the Yankees are not out of the woods yet. They have a brutal schedule down the stretch, with three games remaining against the Saux and seven against the Rays. But if the Yankees can play .500 ball during that time, they assure themselves of first place and possibly home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But with the postseason right around the corner, I’d like to see the Yankees head into October playing their best baseball of the year.

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