Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, June 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM
You probably know that the New York Yankees have been on fire in recent days. And underreported element of the story in our view is the fact that they’ve only been playing other top teams. The Yanks aren’t just 9-0 in recent Interleague series…they’re doing that against contenders in the NL East. They’re not just 11-1 their last 12 games…those extra three games came against Tampa Bay.
It’s one thing to get hot on a homestand where Seattle and Oakland come to town, or Minnesota and Kansas City. Nailing Interleague winners isn’t all that impressive if you drew the Astros, Pirates, and Cubs in order. The Yankees are beating the best.
Imagine that Major League baseball had a special round robin invitational where only teams over .500 were invited to compete against each other over a series of days. The Yanks are 11-1 within that kind of format…playing great against nothing but top teams!
3-0 at Washington
The Nationals have the second best record in the senior circuit heading into Monday action. And, that’s even with getting swept by the Yankees.
3-0 at Atlanta
The Braves would make the playoffs as a Wildcard if the postseason started today. And, that’s even with getting swept by the Yankees. Both Washington and Atlanta were posting impressive results before the Yanks came to town.
3-0 vs. the NY Mets
It’s been a pleasant surprise for many that this beleaguered franchise has been able to compete this year after their recent off-the-field woes. They’re a definite playoff contender, yet couldn’t grab a single win in the Bronx.
2-1 vs. Tampa Bay
The Rays would make the playoffs as a Wildcard if the postseason started today. You know they were fired up to play the Yankees in a huge divisional showdown…one that was very close in the standings at the time because it happened before the Yankees got so red hot.
If you go further back, you’ll see that success had been brewing a few series earlier:
2-1 at Detroit
A road series against a team may expected to win the AL Central…and a team that still has a chance to do so even after a sluggish start.
1-2 at the LA Angels
You have to go back six series to find a series loss…and it came on the road against the second hottest AL team over the past month.
3-0 at Oakland
This is the closest thing to a breather the Yankees have had during their incredible run, and it was still on the road.
2-1 vs. Kansas City
The loss was the first game in the series…so we now have a 2-0 record we can stick on top of a 6-3 prelude to an 11-1 explosion. That’s 19-4 the last 23 games for the Yankees…including a spanking given to other contenders.
Are the Yankees really THIS good?
Well, nobody can go 19-4 every 23 games in perpetuity. But, the Yankees certainly have the look of a champion at the moment:
*Several veterans have warmed up to career norms with their bats after very slow starts. Apparently it’s harder to get up to speed for guys in their 30’s in the post steroids era! This offense is up to speed, and is very hard to shut down.
*The starting rotation has solidified, with some slow starts also falling by the wayside. There’s definite improvement on the mound this year compared to what the team was dealing with in past rotations.
*The shock of losing Mariano Rivera has worn off. Nobody’s even talking about bullpen issues any more. Rafael Soriano only has one blown save as the new man in the role, and the Yanks won that game anyway. Doomsayers have to be shocked that the Yankees have exploded after LOSING Rivera. His absence was supposedly going to prevent them from winning a pennant.
Handicapping the team can be tough because moneyline prices get high during the best of times. The good news for those of you who want to back the Yankees is that only C.C. Sabathia (who throws tonight vs. Atlanta in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN) is exorbitant in the markets right now. The rest of the rotation hasn’t earned the full respect of the market place. YET!
Yanks/Braves will likely be part of the mix for VSM handicappers tonight. Other marquee series include Cincinnati at Cleveland, Baltimore at the NY Mets, the Chicago Cubs at the Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco at the LA Angels. Check the ads on the home page for big play blockbusters. Complete details on each industry legends’ slate are available on the “buy picks” pulldown.
Hot handicappers are waiting to hear from you!