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AL East under two flags.

7/9/09
Today the Yankees have unfortunately tied the Red Sox for first place in the Eastern Division, and if all goes according to plan, they will push ahead.

During the first quarter of the season, the Red Sox were undoubtedly the better team when it comes to the Yank/Sox rivalry. The New York offense was missing some sticks, notably Alex Rodriguez who, despite a failure to abide by Major League rules, was still the key bat to their lineup. The shiny new cannons, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett stumbled out of the gate and the Yankees had also decided to bring Chamberlain from the bullpen to a starter role which helped cover for Chien-Ming Wang’s trips to the DL, but didn’t help the last 3 to 4 innings of the Yankee game plan.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox starting rotation was plugging up their holes of their own as well, with Dice-K, Jon Lester and even Josh Beckett struggling to gain their footing. Eventually, the Red Sox starters figured out their problems significantly quicker than New York. But a bat whose importance can easily be compared with A-Rod’s had gone MIA. David Ortiz, who has only in the last few weeks picked up the pace as far as power, had not been the only icy bat in the Red Sox lineup. Bay, Youkilis, Pedroia and Lowell have all been batting well, but under par for a championship team. Defense for both of these teams has not been a problem.

No, the only shining spot from either of these teams has been the Boston bullpen. Our relievers have been the only wind under our wings that New York could not match proportionately. Now that we’re closing in on the All-Star break, the pitching for both New York and Boston have made up their lost ground and are evenly matched. The Yankees offense is now certainly better than what the Red Sox can offer and now the New York Yankees are catching up in the standings.

And like an answer to the Bronx Bombers’ prayers, the tight grip on Roy Halladay’s contract seems to be loosening, who has thrown for a 10-3 record and a 2.85 ERA. The Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox have all alluded to some sort of interest in who is arguably the best pitcher in baseball today, who could be better on a team that could promise some decent progression. The Yankees have the prospects and the money to make a formidable offer to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox can do the same, but have less need for starting pitching. The Phillies have tremendous need for a solid starter and have the prospects but can’t match the finance of New York or Boston.

It is likely that Roy Halladay will be wearing pinstripes soon if Toronto waves the white flag on the season and if Philadelphia can’t shake a little more out of their wallets. If they do, New York will shove Chamberlain or Aceves into the bullpen and have the premier starting rotation in baseball; it will be the previously mentioned significant “thump to push them ahead.”
In conclusion, the Red Sox may not need to have Halladay, but they need the Yankees to not have Halladay.

By Zachary Gallant

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