It is a familiar story. The New York Yankees are in first place in the American League East with best record in the MLB. They are once again the Bronx Bombers, with six players with double digit homeruns halfway through the regular season and two players with 20 or more. They even have a phenomenal closer, and this time his name is not Mariano Rivera. New York Yankees tickets are certainly going to be available for the postseason, making this the 11 of 12 seasons in the 21st century in which the Yanks are playing baseball in the fall.
The club is sending just three players to the All Star Game: second baseman Robinson Cano, center fielder Curtis Granderson, and starting pitcher CC Sabathia. Cano is hitting an impressive .316 with a .375 OBP and 20 homeruns. Granderson is only hitting .241, but he is among the league leaders with 23 homeruns. Sabathia has a respectable 3.45 ERA and a 9-3 record with 8.83 K/9. With just three players on the squad, one must wonder if any other players on the roster deserve to be at the 2012 MLB All Star Game. Shockingly, no one else can make the case.
Looking forward, the Yankees have a healthy lead in the AL East. They are ahead of the second place Baltimore Orioles by 5.5 games, ahead of the third place Tampa Bay Rays by 7 games, ahead of the fourth place Boston Red Sox by 7.5 games, and ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays by 8 games. The Orioles are not very likely to remain in the running. They are at a run deficit of 28 runs. Traditionally run differential is the most straightforward way to predict the placement in the standings. The Rays are even, with the potential to make a real run. The Red Sox appear the most likely challenger with a differential of +50 and a roster talented enough to challenge the Yankees.
This weekend will be a preview of that pennant race. The Yankees and Red Sox are playing four at Fenway. Kurado, Hughes, Garcia, and Nova will take on Beckett, Morales, Doubront, and Lester. Also, rumor has it Alex Rodriguez is going to be playing DH, allowing Eric Chavez a chance to give his glove a workout on the hot corner.