The New York Yankees are sitting atop the AL East with a record of 20-13. However, it is not the rival Red Sox, nor the young Baltimore Orioles, but the Tampa Bay Rays that are breathing down the neck of the Yankees with a record of 20-15. The Rays lost key players such as Carlos Pena (Cubs), Rafael Soriano (Yankees), and Carl Crawford (Red Sox), not to mention other key losses in their bullpen. Injuries such as Evan Longoria’s have also affected the team.
The Yankees just finished a long road trip, which included stops at Detroit and at Texas. The Yankees lost 3 out of 4 to the Tigers, but finished the road trip strong taking 2 out of 3 against the Rangers. The Yankees, all season, have relied heavily on the power of their bats. Throughout their 32 games this year, the Yankees have hit 54 homeruns with Texas and Cincinnati tied at a distant second. As the season progresses, the Yankees must find another option in order to be able to score runs without the use of the “Big Fly”, as they say. They have struggled all season long with runners in scoring position, which was a big factor in their success last year.
One of the biggest eye openers in the Yankees season has been the struggles of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Jeter is coming off a mediocre 2010 season and so far this season he seems to be playing the same tune as last year, barely hitting .260 with 2 home runs and nine runs batted in. You would think pitchers are chasing him away like the coyote chasing the roadrunner. Jeter has been criticized as being “done” or simply not the Derek Jeter we are used to seeing. Regardless of how you put it, Jeter will get it together. He has shown signs of life, hitting 2 home runs in the third and final game against the Rangers. Jeter is 38 hits away from 3000 career hits (2,963). As for A-Rod, there hasn’t been any “A-bombs” lately. Rodriguez was one of the league’s hottest hitters the first three weeks of the season, batting 366. with four home runs and 10 RBI. Over his last 14 games, A-Rod is batting .170 (9 for 53) with three RBI and no homers. When asked about his recent slump Rodriguez said, “I don’t worry about it. I’ve always looked at baseball like the stock market: You don’t look at it everyday when it’s a good stock, after a long season, it’s going to be there.”
The Yankees host a 3-game set with the rival Red Sox starting Friday. In the last meeting between the two, the Red Sox were 0-7 and at the time was the worse record in baseball. Since taking two out of three from the Yanks at Fenway Park, a month later it seems the Red Sox are no longer out of sync. The Yankees are struggling to take 3-game sets from teams. Perhaps the clock will turn as it is to be expected that these three games are likely to include the following: hostile environments, long innings, and a new chapter added to the Yanks/Sox rivalry. It should kick off an exciting weekend, a weekend where Jeter and Rodriguez can take the first step to changing the outlook of their season.
Sports Notes: (Boxing) #1 pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao defeated “Sugar” Shane Mosley by unanimous decision on Saturday night. Will this lead to a super fight between Pacquiao and undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather? (NBA Basketball) The Dallas Mavericks eliminated the 2-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 Thunder VS. Grizzlies. Series tied at 2-2. Heat VS. Celtics. Heat Lead Series 3-1. Bulls VS. Hawks. Bulls lead 3-2.