Following the Rangers 8-7 victory over the Angels last night, the Yankees have officially clinched a spot in the 2012 playoffs. But, even with a spot clinched, there is still much to be earned for New York. Starting tonight, they will host the rival Boston Red Sox for a three game series that can lead the Yankees towards a division title.
Currently, the Yankees are tied atop the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles, with both teams sporting records of 92-67. The Orioles will be off to Tampa Bay to face the Rays, who have now been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Both the Yankees and Orioles will be facing teams who have one goal in mind, to spoil their rival’s hopes of winning the division.
Also, the Yankees will be getting first baseman, Mark Teixeira back for this pivotal series with Boston. Teixeira has missed the Yankees last 19 games after re-injuring his calf attempting to beat out a game saving ground ball on September 8th in Baltimore. The addition of Teixeira’s bat in the lineup will give the home run happy Yankees even more power heading in to the postseason. Teixeira’s return will also sure up the Yankees infield, as Nick Swisher will move back to his original position in right field. While Swisher has played very well over at first, having Teixeira’s glove is always an advantage.
Going into this series with the Red Sox, the Yankees will send ace CC Sabathia, David Phelps, and Hiroki Kuroda to the hill, leaving Andy Pettitte available to pitch in case a tie-breaker is needed. Boston will attempt to counter with Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Even with the season long struggles the Red Sox have had to deal with, you can bet they will be gunning to stop the Yankees from holding the division crown.
The Yankees also have a shot to win the American League’s best record, which would give them home-field advantage throughout the American League Championship Series, assuming they make it there. When it comes to those standings, the Yankees are currently one game back of the Rangers (93-66), who are set to begin a huge series with the Oakland Athletics (91-68), who are also in the hunt for the AL’s top record.
With so much on the line in such a short amount of time, you can expect the next few days to be wild, as four clubs try to jockey for not only divisional titles, but the best record in the American League. It should be fun to watch.
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