Thursday, July 26, 2012

Off Day Notes: Why the Road Trip didn't Matter

The Yankees just finished a seven game West coast road trip against the surging Athletics and the always slumping Mariners by going 2-5, with both wins coming against the Mariners. Even though 2-5 is an ugly, and almost Met like number, the Yankees were essentially playing with house money in those games. They entered the series against the A's with a ten game lead in the American League East. Everything was going swimmingly before that as they were coming off a three game sweep of the limping Blue Jays and had an almost un-catchable lead in their division. They ended up finishing the road trip by only losing two games in the standings despite losing five games.

Before the season started, everyone including myself expected this division to come down to the last week of the season but by the looks of it thus far, the Yankees are easily the best team in the East by and far even without Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Freddy Garcia has stepped up in Pettitte's absence, as has David Phelps. Rafael Soriano is putting up Rivera-like numbers with a 1.57 ERA and converting 26 of 28 saves. Jayson Nix came off the bench yesterday and delivered the game winning hit that gave the Yankees a series win over the Mariners. Finally, the acquisition of Ichiro gives the Yankees a legitimate left fielder who has a track history of greatness. Every other team in the American League East can't even come close to filling out a roster as dominant as the Yankees. The Rays have no offense without Longoria, the Blue Jays are all on the disabled list, the Orioles are not legitimate, and the Red Sox have no pitching. I do not see anyone making this difficult for the Yankees down the stretch unless Boston acquires starters and unless Longoria comes back at 100%.

The Yankees are coming back home with the best record in baseball. At 59-39, they are twenty games over the .500 mark and are in no danger of giving that lead up unless something bizarre were to happen. They come home tomorrow night to a nine game home-stand against teams they should be able to beat in the Red Sox, Orioles and Mariners. Tomorrow, the Yankees send Phil Hughes to the mound who has had his fair share of troubles against the Red Sox but he will look to stave off a lineup with more threats in Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. The Yankees will swing against Aaron Cook who was with the Rockies his entire career before signing with the Red Sox in the off-season. The only hitter in the Yankees lineup with impressive numbers against Cook is Raul Ibanez who is 6-13 with four RBI against the right hander. The rest of the lineup has faced him a handful of times. A 7-2 homestand would be just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees.

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