Why is this week so important in the American League East?
The teams are playing within their own division so the wins and losses have more importance. The third place Tampa Bay Rays host the Boston Red Sox for a two game set. Boston is only a half a game behind the first place New York Yankees. The Yanks are up in Toronto for two nights at the Rogers Centre playing two against the Blue Jays.
With the Blue Jays lagging 12 games behind the Yanks there not really competing. Technically there is always a possibility to not be 100% completely out. I guess miracles do exist but for Toronto it does not look very hopeful or likely of the trio above all collapsing literally on their faces.
Toronto does know that beating the Yankees could potentially take their lead in the AL East right from under the boys from the Bronx. It is doubtful that Boston is going to win two at the Trop; as the best bet would be a spilt series.
Why? The answer is because Tampa decisively needs these wins. If Toronto wins just one and the Rays lose both it will put Tampa a half game behind Toronto. These two night games may very well predict where, last years AL Champs’ season’s future will be heading. The duel in Tropicana Field will both be games of tough baseball.
Let’s not forget that the second place Red Sox haven’t been behind their rivals for a few seasons now and it would be nice to head to the Bronx on Thursday in first place. It has been some time since the Red Sox have been in the lead and trust me they want it back. The Red Sox are going into to a four game series in NY and the rivalry is back to the good old days. Boston has the mentality of knowing that the Yanks haven’t beaten them yet this season. Their advantage lies in knowing how badly that fact kills the Yankee players and the Yankee fans probably hate it more. Boston would like nothing better than to fly back up north in first place and show up the Yanks in their own house again.
Tampa will put out all the stops to not let this happen but it sure ain’t for the Yanks sake. Joe Madden and his Rays are too good to be out of the race so “win, win, win” is mandatory theme.
This will bring the heat index up in Canada, as this has got to give the Yankees the hunger. In all truth, the time has come to one-up Boston. The Bombers know this entails coming home still in first. It is vital not to lose momentum.
Here is the perfect quote for the Yankees to live by:
“Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.” – George Orwell
What does each of the competing team need and want to do?
Boston Red Sox win both games against the Rays keeps them at the very minimal…still only a half game out of first. That is if Yanks win both but if one slips by than Boston can take the lead.
- Theo ‘the genius’ Epstein loaded up his team in acquiring Indians’ All-Star Victor Martinez; also got the catcher/first-baseman cheap, without giving up pitcher Clay Buchholz in process.
- Martinez arrival woke-up Boston who bat have heated up at the right time and that needs to continue.
- should avoid Varitek catching either game as the Rays will kill him running the bases; the captain will not like it but he can pinch hit when needed.
Tampa Bay Rays:
- win both games against Boston
- Go from 5.5 out to only 3.5 games out without considering what the Yanks do which could make it even less.
- starting pitchers have to go deep into games as Tampa middle relief is weak
- BJ Upton should not to be the lead-off unless his bad attitude is going to cause him to sulk which cannot be afforded
- Tampa is fast on the bases and if Varitek is catching run, run, run on his ailing arm
New York Yankees:
- the same first point as the two above…. to win both games in Toronto
- at the very least keeps a half game in front if Boston wins both but could also increase their lead a tad which counts because Yanks face Red Sox seven times in the next two weeks
- Petite has been pitching great his last three starts with a 2.70 and he has to be just as good Tuesday night
- the bats are up against the best pitcher in baseball Roy Halliday but he has been losing due to the lack of runs produces from Toronto hitters so that is a key element regarding Petite’s performance
- Sergio Mitre has got to pitch much better than he has; at least he will not be in any of the Boston games is the best scenario out of this
- Wednesday night is all about hitting for the Yanks because Mitre is shaky and Girardi needs to rethink who should be the fifth starter cause this guy is not solid enough thus far
I guess the best part about baseball is here. Let the races begin all around the Majors but especially in the American League East. The best rivalry in sports has been cold for a few seasons and as a die-hard Yankees fan I never thought I would say, that I have missed the Boston Red Sox dearly.
- AL East powers continue battle for supremacy (mlb.mlb.com)
- He Who Hesitates Is Lost: Where Do the Yanks Sit After Missing Out on Cliff Lee? (bleacherreport.com)
- Red Sox Ink Crawford: Should We Call Them The Boston Left Sox? (bleacherreport.com)