Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Looking at the standings as a Yankee fan today you'll register two frightening prospects. First the Red Sox are 3.5 games up in the standings, but secondly and more importantly the Rays are starting to play like the defending AL Champions again. Despite winning their last six games, the Yankees have lost ground during that span thanks to the Rays winning 7 in a row.
The Rays are getting hitting from every position on the field. Ben Zobrist is emerging as a beast out of nowhere. Jason Bartlett is having by far the best season of his career. Carlos Pena is mashing on a pace to the upper 40s. Carl Crawford is back healthy, the power is showing up and the speed is out of this world. BJ Upton is starting to emerge from his major funk at the start of the year. Their lineup top to bottom is deep and very athletic.
The pitching is getting healthy and throwing well. The staff is 5 deep with Kazmir now back to go along with Shields, Garza, Niemann, and Price/Sonnastine. Shields and Garza have remained dominate this season. Kazmir had a solid first outing after coming off the DL. Niemann has given up more than 3 runs just once in his last ten starts. And finally, while Price and Sonnastine have both struggled to an extent only one will need to remain in the rotation. The one major questionmark is the bullpen, but for the most part that's been pieced together and pitching well over the last month.
The AL East is once again a three team race and it's going to stay that way through September.