The New York Yankees are right where they belong: in first place.
After struggling the first couple of months of the 2012 baseball season, the Yankees finally find themselves at the top of the American League East division, just ahead of both the Tampa Bay Rays and the surprising Baltimore Orioles. It’s only a one-game lead, but considering how awful the Yankees have looked at times this season, I’ll take it.
The Yankees can thank superior starting pitching for their rise to the top. Aside from an uncharacteristically erratic CC Sabathia, the Yankee starters have been brilliant in recent weeks, consistently putting up zeros and shutting down opposing teams. And they have to be near perfect, as they haven’t gotten much in the way of run support from their “can’t get a hit with runners on base” offense.
Yesterday’s game was a good example of the Yankees’ turnaround from the start of the season. After sleepwalking through seven innings against young Mike Minor (who truly deserved a better fate after his strong outing), the Yankees finally came alive in the 8th, led surprisingly by Alex Rodriguez, who tied the legendary Lou Gehrig with his 23rd Grand Slam. That was quickly followed by a two-run blast from Nick Swisher that put the Yankees in the lead for good. And even after his rough first inning, Sabathia did exactly what a true ace should do in gutting his way through seven innings to give the overworked bullpen some much needed relief.
So the Yankees are in first place. All seems right in the baseball world again.