The New York Yankees could not feel better about themselves heading into the All-Star break, with a commanding lead in the American League East standings after another Boston beat-down.
Granted, the Yankees’ play was pretty sloppy at times this weekend, with Hiroki Kuroda giving up the 5-run lead his offense staked him to on Friday night and Phil Hughes unable to pitch out of the mess his defense put him in during Saturday’s double-header nightcap. But they took three out of four games against the Boston Red Sox after getting strong performances by Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova and a resurgent Mark Teixeira, who wisely decided not to further escalate his feud with a nut like Vicente Padilla.
More surprisingly, they got a turn-back-the-clock performance by Andruw Jones, who has been terrific subbing for the injured Brett Gardner all year, but really stepped up his game against the Red Sox this weekend. He hit four Monster home runs, constantly breaking the hearts of Saux fans anytime they thought their team might finally have a leg up on the hated Yankees. But even more impressive to me was his outstanding defense, including slamming against the Green Monster to make a terrific, rally-killing catch, which immediately conjured up images of a young Jones patrolling centerfield for the Atlanta Braves.
So despite all their injuries and lackluster play during the first six weeks of the season, the Yankees find themselves comfortably in first place with a 7-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles, nearly 10 games up over the Saux (which, let’s face it, is the only team that all Yankee fans truly care about regardless of their problems) and the best record in baseball.
I hope Joe Girardi and his squad enjoy their All-Star break vacation. After their first-half performance, they’ve definitely earned it.