New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
American League East
First) Yankees 46-39
Last) Red Sox 41-45
New York Yankees: Winds of change blowing from the Bronx through Boston; First place Bombers take on last place Red Sox.
Don't look now, but Boston is the hottest team in the A.L. East.
The Red Sox have put the division in a tourniquet, and have been squeezing with an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. That has made the invading Yankees' lead over their long time rival a precarious one. To the Bomber's credit, they've won 5 of their last 7 games.
The three teams that separate them in the standings; Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays; seem in no rush to distinguish themselves. Otherwise, the Sox should have been dead and buried long ago. But, this is baseball - it's a long season, and this is what happens when you fail to put teams away.
The Red Sox will host the Yankees in a first half finale prior to the All-Star break. Fenway Park should rock this weekend, with a retro feel of just a decade ago. Together, they'll prove this rivalry is far from dormant, and that the A.L. East crown is up for grabs.
Or, the Sox will get swept, and that will be the end of that.
Unfortunately, Dustin Pedroia is likely to miss the series. On the other side, the most recent traitor, Jacoby Ellsbury returns from his knee injury just in time to face his former team.
Fenway fans are sure to intensify their raucousness each and every time Alex Rodriguez steps to the plate. Who can ever forget the time they wore those little blonde girl masks? Alex in Boston has always meant good times!
If nothing else, we'll get to watch Old-Rod and Big GrandPapi share the Fenway stage for one of the last few times in their careers.
This could be a decisive series for the Red Sox, and for GM Ben Cherington in particular. Continuing to play well in July will place the pressure of all New Englanders squarely on the shoulders of Boston's GM to make a deadline move.
After Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox have no reliable pitching to speak of, and they've gotten very little out of Mike Napoli and especially Fung-Fu Panda at the plate. In fact, the Sox may have too many needs that can not be addressed in one deadline.
At 46-39, the Yankees are the best of the rest. On Thursday, Masahiro Tanaka gave the Yanks 7.2 innings of pure optimism over the A's. This weekend, they intend to subdue the Red Sox with Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Nathan Eovaldi. Lately, all three have been pitching like they're in dire need of an All-Star break.
Accompanying Mark Teixeira to the All-Star Game will be Brett Gardner - well deserved.