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For Yankees, A Day To Look Back And Ahead

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A very successful road trip concluded yesterday with another close victory over the Angels. The Yankees are in first place in the division (tied for the best record in the AL), by a game over the Red Sox, who come into town tomorrow for a three-game set.

The Bombers have lived up to their namesake. They lead MLB in home runs with 88, which is 18 more than the second place Rangers. They also lead MLB in runs/game (the only team over five) and slugging, and are second in on-base percentage. As for batting average, they're ninth. (I keep trying to tell my father-in-law how unimportant BA is, at least compared to OBP and SLG, but he's old school and won't have any of it.) What seems like a weak lineup in terms of BA (no regular above .290, three hitters in the last lineup under .240) belies both their power and the general drop in hitting this season. We know about the home runs, but offense around baseball is at a 20-year low (4.22 runs/game). So please remember that before criticizing a struggling offensive player. Even Andruw Jones' .230/.299/.459 line is above average this year.

Keep reading to get to the poll.

The pitching staff has been far better than expected, racking up a 3.45 combined ERA, good for fourth best in the AL. The bullpen has largely been fine without the loss of The Eighth-Inning Guy, because David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain have filled in admirably. (I expect D-Rob's walks to catch up to him eventually though. He's not a true 1.16 ERA pitcher.)

Despite all that, it hasn't been enough to convince my father-in-law that the Yankees are a playoff-caliber team. He's somewhat of a pessimist, having matured in the Horace Clarke years, but he accused the Yanks of "bottom-feeding," beating weak teams like Oakland and Baltimore to get into first.

The coming home-stand is sure to put that theory to the test, as Boston, Cleveland and Texas all come to the Stadium. With that in mind, how are you feeling about the next 10 games?