Many pundits and have declared the AL East race to be over. The Yankees have opened up a 6.5 game lead on Boston, while putting 8 games between themselves and Tampa Bay. While it does seem at this point that the Yankees have all but sewn up the division, I would like to be a wet blanket and suggest a bit of caution in making that assertion. I am not going to reference the Mets or Phillies of years past as evidence, because this Yankee club is better than those teams that have blown leads in the past. Instead, I urge you to look at the current season for a bit of perspective.
On June 24th of this season, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox by 5 games. Exactly a month and a half later, the Yankees lead Boston by 6.5 games. It took 6 weeks for the Yankees to gain 11.5 games on Boston in the standings. With about 6 weeks remaining in the season, there is no reason that a club as talented as the Red Sox cannot make up 6.5 games. While you may think that the Yankees are clearly the better team and will surely not play poorly enough to relinquish the lead, I am certain Red Sox fans would have told you the same thing on June 24th.
If looking back to June 24th makes you uncomfortable, why not take a gander at the standings from last week. It took the Yankees 6 days to gain 6 games. Baseball is a game of streaks, and two streaks headed in opposite directions happened to match up. That does not mean that the Yankees cannot lose a few games in a row with Boston capitalizing. As we have seen over the last few days, things can change in a hurry in baseball. Add in the fact that the teams still have 6 meetings remaining with each other and that the Red Sox have an easier schedule, and you have a recipe for an interesting six weeks. The Yankees struck a major blow over this weekend, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The AL East race is far from over.
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