All five teams in the American League East have winning records. Boston and Toronto are tied for last place, and they’re just three games out of first. The Yankees, despite all the injuries and inconsistencies, are a game and a half out.
“There’s no easy games in our division,” Mark Teixeira said. “There’s not a team we’re going to beat up on, so you can’t afford to get too far down because there are some years where you might be five games out, but there’s only one team in front of you. This year every team has a winning record, so if you get too far down, you’re going to have four or five teams to jump over.”
It’s still early June, so it’s silly to call this week’s three-game set against Tampa Bay a must-win series, but this division race could be very tight, and a win in June counts just as much as a win in September. This is the latest into a season that all five AL East teams have been above .500 since 2008.
“I think any time we play teams in our division it’s big just because of how we’re all squished together,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s amazing. … Simple answer (for why it happened)? Teams got better. I think you look at Baltimore and Toronto, their young players developed. Tampa’s young players developed. You look at Tampa and their young pitching has been really good since ’08. They’ve been really, really good. One guy leaves, another guy steps up and does the job. I think the emergence of Baltimore’s bullpen has really helped them this year, and their starters have been a lot better. It’s just teams improving.”
So far the Yankees are 2-4 against the Rays this season.
“We have over 100 games left,” Alex Rodriguez said. “Every series is important. We know our divison games are always very important and we want to establish some momentum. … Every year is tough, and it seems like this year is the toughest. You know, this division has unbelievable parity, and it just keeps getting better.”
Just wanted to add a quick reminder that I’ll be hosting a chat here on the blog tomorrow at noon.
Associated Press photo