Yankees Editorial: How Do The Yanks’ Compare To The AL East?


The New York Yankees have a 19-12 record and are currently first in the American League East. Fourteen of those wins are against division opponents, which besides just two series’ this season, those are the only teams the Yanks’ have faced. The 3-6 start hindered what could’ve been an even better first month of the season, but with how the team has been playing there is no reason to be picky. So with a month of the season through, what can fans maybe expect to see for the rest of the first half of the year?

For the Yankees, the success has been through timely hitting and their dominant bullpen. That isn’t saying the starting rotation hasn’t been getting their fair share of work done, but the bullpen is something opponents really don’t want to face. The talent is there, but the future outcome of what those group of players have to offer actually relies in the rotations’ hands, and Joe Girardi‘s. If Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka (if all goes well with his return) are the only ones who can give the Yanks’ at least 6 innings of work in their starts, that’s going to put an unearthly amount of pressure on the bullpen. Thus, making life harder for Girardi to balance innings pitched for each guy in the pen, avoiding injuries however he can.

Next for the hitting, there isn’t much to take note of with this lineup. Though the organization did take the younger route this off-season, they still have older injury prone players arguably in the first six every day batters. With Jose Pirela just now returning a couple of days ago, he still has to get back into a major league pace of play. He has been switching between Didi Gregorius‘ and Stephen Drew‘s spots in the lineup, and playing second, moving Drew to short on certain days. Gregorius and Drew were already known as the two weakest hitters the Yankees have, but they have been improving in all areas of their game lately. Carlos Beltran has even had sudden bursts of hitting, but with his contract he should at least be hitting like he deserves to be in the lineup everyday. Chris Young has been a key part to the Yankees hitting, backing up Beltran, whether it be starting for him, or coming in later parts of the game. Young has nearly 20 less at-bats than Beltran, yet has the same amount of RBIs with twelve. Chris “Forever Young” also has six home runs, which is third on the Yankees.

The most important parts of the Yankees hitting have been Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner leading off, which is one of the deadliest duos in baseball right now. Having that kind of speed to lead off your lineup, and their hitting ability is almost unfair. Topping that off with the power from Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, fueling the fire that is the Yankees lineup. This too is something that is in the hands of Girardi, moving them around, giving the pair off days, it will all be helpful throughout the season to keep the two healthy.

With the current formula for the Yankees winning, how does it compare to the rest of the AL East?

The favorites to win the division this year, were again the Baltimore Orioles. Their power hitting is always there, however their downfall is pitching. Their team ERA is 4.25, but the team is also tied for fourth in home runs hit with 37. To rely on hitting can only help a team for so long, this is one of the reason the O’s aren’t seen as a threat this time in the season. Another team with the same problem would be the Toronto Blue Jays. Their team ERA is even worse at 4.54, but lead the league in RBIs and runs scored. The saying ‘defense wins championships’ holds true, better pitching will almost always prevail over power hitting.

Along with the Yankees, the biggest surprise (team wise) in the division might be the Tampa Bay Rays in second place. The Rays have had decent hitting to pair with their surging pitchers. The Rays lead the league in opponents batting average which is .211, their team ERA is 3.41 which is tied for seventh. However they are 1-5 against the Yankees this season, being swept once already. The Yankees head down to Tampa again starting Monday for a four game series. With the Yankees and Rays being first and second in the division, this series will be vital if the Yanks want to gain a bigger lead in the AL East.

Last we have the Boston Red Sox who the Yankees swept to start out the month of May. The Red Sox are having troubles throughout the team right now. Their rotation was suspect even before the season started, however they thought the additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez would even that stat out. As of right now it hasn’t helped them much at all. Right now they are the last of the Yankees worries, or any other team in the division for that matter.

Looking forward, the biggest domino would be the Orioles or Jays finding constant pitching. Without that they are going to need double the work from their hitters if they want to compete for the division. The Rays have found consistency in the last couple of weeks, it will be interesting to see how they match up against the Yankees next week.

More from Yanks Go Yard