Today: Jul 17, 2024

The AL East Race

Andrew Anastasio – Sports Writer

For those of you who have been following the American League East Division race, you’ll know that the Orioles have Yankee fans biting their nails.

Going back to late July, the Yankees had a commanding lead; at one point the team was up by 10 games. However, the Yankees were burdened with injuries that included three starters: third basemen Alex Rodriguez, starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia, and recently first basemen Mark Teixiera.

On Sept. 8, Teixiera was re-activated for the disabled list after a 10-day absence due to a calf injury. The team traveled to Baltimore that weekend in a pivotal three game set against the Orioles.

With the division up for grabs, the Yankees were fortunate to defeat the O’s in two of those games only to keep a minuscule one game lead. Unfortunately, the Yankees against lost Teixiera in that series after a controversial call at first base. Teixiera gave a diving attempt to reach base safely to keep the final inning alive and in doing so he re-aggravated his calf. His return to the team is still undetermined.

For both teams, their next games’ opponents were division rivals. The Yankees headed to Boston were they took two out of three from the Red Sox, and as for the O’s, they hosted Tampa Bay and swept them in three games to reach a two-way tie with the Yankees atop the division.

With only 16 games left on the schedule for both teams, the Yankees are the team that is on the bubble. In the past 12 games, the Yankees are 6-6 while the O’s are 8-4.

Buck Showalter, manager for the O’s has his team prepared and playing productive baseball. The starting pitching has been solid, led by veteran Bruce Chen.

The Yankees rotation has been mediocre at best. Ever since Sabathia came off the DL he’s been inconsistent in each of his starts. His velocity has dipped a bit, and his devastating slider hasn’t been nearly as effective as it has been in the past.

Ivan Nova, who recently came off the DL, is back in the rotation. This may save the Yankees season. Before Nova was sent to the DL he recorded 12 wins back in late July. Phil Hughes, who currently leads the staff in wins, is at 15. The Yankees need Nova to produce and keep opponents off the bases.

The Yankees next opponent, the Rays, are still in contention for a wild card spot. With the new playoff system allowing two wild card teams, the Rays are still holding on. The Yankees have played the Rays 12 times this season and have only won five of those meetings. It’s a difficult task at hand, however the Yankees are fortunate to be playing them at home for the first time all season.

The O’s are facing the Athletics, an opponent who they have already beaten four out of the five meetings. It’s going to be an exciting finish in this division. The O’s may finally win it for the first time since 1997.

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