May 28, 2010 — The Yankees entered tonight’s matchup with Cleveland — which marks the first contest in a four-game weekend series with the Tribe — four and a half games back of the Tampa Rays.
While the Yankees’ 28-19 start places them a few games back of the AL East Division leader, it must be noted that throughout baseball, only the Rays have a better record than the Yankees.
In other words, the Yankees are right there.
Of equal importance, this holiday weekend is a time the Yankees can build on their performance in their last series, and begin to put serious pressure on the Rays.
The Yankees came into tonight’s game after taking two out three against the equally impressive Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis’ new ballpark.
Phil Hughes has only given up two runs in six innings of work against the Indians tonight — marking his seventh quality start of the 2010 campaign. And, the Yankees got a big boost in the outfield as Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup for the first time in a month.
In recent years, the Yankees have built winning streaks (and winning months) off of their own momentum. The second half of the 2009 season was the perfect example of that. The Yankees kept their heads above water until the All-Star Break, and then they took off. Once they began winning, they never stopped — straight through the clinching game of the World Series.
It might be a bit early to predict a big run, but the Yankees have been impressive over the last four games — and they were equally as good before being ravaged by injuries in early May.
Great pitching and clutch hitting have returned to the Yankees makeup. And they’re getting healthy in a hurry. In addition to Granderson, Jorge Posada and Alfredo Aceves will likely be returning from injuries in the next month.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Yankees have a 4-2 lead over Cleveland. It’s been a well-played game, and I expect much of the same as the weekend rolls on.
–Alfred Santasiere III