It’s hard to believe it, but the Yankees are just half a game out of first in the AL East. After beating Tampa, courtesy of another strong performance by Ivan Nova, the Bombers find themselves trailing only the Orioles. That’s right – Baltimore.
The Rays are hanging in as a close third, and the Jays are just 2.5 games behind the leaders. Boston is in last – four games back.
How did this all happen? Nova and CC are 6-2 and 7-2 respectively, and the comeback of Andy Pettitte continues to amaze. The unretired lefty is 3-2 in five starts with a tiny 2.78 ERA to lead all starters. Granted Pettitte has half as many starts (five) as the rest of the rotation, but I expect his performance to improve as the season goes on, just like a fine wine.
The bullpen has performed admirably too, converting all but one of 10 save opportunities since Mo went down.
Offensively, things have not been stellar. Only Jeter has been consistently batting well over .300 and hitting the cover off the ball. Granderson has belted 17 homers, but New York is still stranding too many runners in scoring position – 15.81 per game to be exact! Good (or bad) enough for worst in the majors. They’re only slight worse in runners left in scoring position (3.91 per game) at 26th overall.
The offense has picked up recently and Brett Gardner, who has been on the DL since April, is expected back for this weekend’s Subway Series.
If the Yankees can build in some consistency at the plate and the pitching stays solid, they will do ok, even in the toughest division in baseball.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits