Today, on May 17, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are tied for second place in the American League East. The Yankees play their 40th game tonight down in Tampa Bay, approximately 25% of the way through the season, yet it feels like all hell is breaking loose. On the opposite side of the spectrum, after 41 games, the Boston Red Sox couldn't be more excited about how they're playing at the moment.
The Yankees are 20-19, the Red Sox are 21-20. Yet the players and fans know that each team's mindset is completely different.
Up in Boston, fans are still celebrating Adrian Gonzalez's two-run double off the Green Monster that capped off an unbelievable comeback from down 6-0 against Baltimore. The win only pushed them to 21-20, but this was a far cry from where Boston sat merely 32 days prior. On April 15, the Red Sox were 2-10. After all the talk about them being the best team baseball had ever seen on paper, their actions on the field begged to differ. Since then, Gonzalez has hit .358 with eight homers and 30 RBI and led the way for Boston's 19-10 run. Josh Beckett has been nothing short of brilliant in May, posting 17.1 innings pitched and a 0.00 ERA. Even Carl Crawford is coming around after experiencing Teixeiraitus, batting .290 with an improved .OBP of .302 from April's .204. Yes, Boston is becoming the team we thought they were. And I think the their first three-game sweep of the Yankees in New Yankee Stadium has awoken a sleeping giant.
Down in the Bronx, it would seem a tornado has suddenly ripped through. After saving their arch-rivals from near-death, the Yankees are struggling to just get in the win column lately. They've lost 10 of their last 13 games, including their last six. The Bombers struggled with RISP, hitting only .180 (9 for 50) during the home stand. Alex Rodriguez has hit .171 with an OBP of .236 since April 23. The bullpen has successfully blown three of the past six games, with Burnett creating his own mess yesterday. And the defense has been nothing short of abysmal, 11 errors in the past 14 games. Jorge Posada apparently thought about leaving the Yankees on Saturday, Derek Jeter indirectly called out management for handling the situation incorrectly, and Rafael Soriano thinks he knows exactly why the Yankees are where they are over the past week. The Bronx is burning, prematurely.
It's certainly a tale of two baseball cities. One is on cloud nine as they sit one game above .500, the other is on the brink of self-destruction at one game above .500. Amazing how quickly things can go from good to bad, or vice versa.
Let's keep in mind one major thought: there's still 123 baseball games left. Going out on a limb here, I don't think the Yankees will be out of the race anytime soon.
It's been a tough road over the past week. Clearer skies are ahead, and Boston also realizes that. Tonight, the Yankees stop losing. At least I hope so.