It's been many moons since the AL East has been anything but a 2-horse race, with the BoSox and our dear Yanks battling it out for the division and often the wildcard spot, but things are different this year. Those devilish little Rays have surprised everyone by not only breaking their own team records for winning percentage but by staying in contention for the division title. So good are they this year, in fact, that their blueprint for success is the envy of fans everywhere with the young core of exciting players and some quality veterans like Floyd and Percival. They're just 1.5 games behind the Sox and they've got a 3.5 game lead over the Yankees, and with their sweep of the Cubs this week they are continuing to show that they have no intention of slowing down.
The Yankees lived in fear of not making it to the post-season for a considerable portion of 2007 season, which was strange (not to mention stressful; am I the only one that lost many nights of sleep in April and May of last year?!), but having to battle with the Rays is a very surreal state of affairs. Happily, the Yanks are on a tear and have boosted their record to 7 over .500, but they're going to need the Sox* and Rays to slow their roll considerably to give them a shot.
For the first month or so of the season, I wasn't convinced that the Rays were really capable of staying in the race; I thought their hot start was surely an anomoly. Now, though, I think they've proven that they're in it to win it and aren't going to go down without a serious fight. Now, depsite the way Yanks have been playing of late, I've found myself getting just a tad nervous about those Rays. Will they keep this up all season? More importantly, will the Yanks keep playing like they have been over the last week? Will they have to battle it out with the Rays right down to the wire??
How are you feeling about the new AL East threat?
* Many thanks to Papi and Schilling
for helping the Yanks with their cause