As the All-Star Game approaches in major league baseball, division races are taking shape. In the American League East, the New York Yankees are back in the think of the race trailing the division leading Toronto Blue Jays by just 1 ½ games.
The Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night thanks to a walk off three-run home run by Carlos Beltran. The Yankees trailed 3-1 entering the ninth but scored three runs to take the win.
With the win, the Yankees moved to 39-33 on the season, have won 4 straight and 8 of their last 10 overall.
Last week, the Yankees swept a three-game series from division leading Toronto marking the 16th consecutive loss by Toronto at Yankee Stadium.
On Bovada and topbet, the Yankees were still a long shot at 20 to 1 to win the World Series, but that was prior to the team sweeping the Blue Jays and winning Friday night’s thriller.
With New York winning 9 of its past 13 and the Blue Jays dropping 9 of their past 12, you can see how quickly the Yankees have moved into contention.
The Orioles are up and down and the Red Sox are still sleeping off a World Series hangover, meaning the biggest race could be between the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Toronto as of Monday June 16 on betonline and sportsbook.com sat at 10 to 1 to win the World Series. That number is sure to be adjusted when a new updated list of World Series futures is released on Monday June 23.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who is playing his farewell season has been instrumental in the recent surge by the Yankees. Jeter is hitting .405 over his past 9 games in which the Yankees are 7-2.
During the same stretch of nine games, Brett Gardner who hits in front of Jeter has a .361 average with 3 home runs.
Jacoby Ellsbury the free agent acquisition from Boston has been just what the Yankees expected he would be. He is hitting for power, has 20 stolen bases and defensively in centerfield he controls the outfield.
The Yankees have Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran in the lineup again, making the offense look quite strong for the Pinstripes.
However, pitching is still suspect. They team can only pitch first year sensation Masahiro Tanaka every five days. Tanaka is 11-1 with an ERA of 1.99. He already is considered an elite pitcher in the league with the likes of Clayton Kershaw.
His unbelievable record from last season of 24-0 with an ERA of 1.27 in Japan can now be believed. New York is 12-2 in Tanaka’s 14 starts this season.
If New York was to reach the postseason and Tanaka continues to pitch at this level, he could be considered for not just the Cy Young and rookie of the year, but also the MVP.
The rotation for New York was expected to be a strength with Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova. However, injuries changed things quickly.
However, with Tanaka and one or two more strong starters, the Yankees will battle for the AL East crown.