Good morning Fackers. And a good morning it is. The Yanks have just completed their longest road trip of the year, 10 games and 11 days worth of a pretty unfriendly travel schedule, and they have a 7-3 record to show for it. Not a bad trip.
While we usually bemoan off days in these parts, I'm alright with this one. It was a long trip, and as it always is, the three game set with Boston was likely as physically draining for the players as it was emotionally draining for the fans. Despite having had an off day just last Thursday, I'm sure this one is welcomed and well-earned.
I have two rules of thumb that I follow as it pertains to baseball standings. First, I don't pay much attention to the them until about mid-June. This gives the season some time to develop so one can get an idea of who's for real, and who isn't. Second, I don't consider a team to be in trouble until there are fewer weeks left in the season than they are games back in the standings.
The regular season ends six weeks from yesterday. The Red Sox are now 7.5 games back in the AL East (seven in the loss column). Given the history between the two teams and given what we've seen occur in Flushing the last two years, I'm by no means ready to declare the AL East race over. But despite the overall run differential for the series being zero, the Yanks went in and took two of three, accomplishing what they wanted to. While this series wasn't an emphatic sweep like the September 8-10, 2000 series or the August 18-21, 2006 series or even the fabled Boston Massacre of Septmber 1978, it should be enough to ensure that the Red Sox spend September more concerned about the Rangers and Rays than the Yankees. Baseball Prospectus puts the Yankees' chances of winning the division at 95.73%.
That said, the Sox are still a formidable team, as their offensive outputs Friday and Saturday illustrated. So before we go kicking dirt on their grave, let's remember that the weekend series against them in late September may not be the last the Yankees see of them in 2009. Until then though, we can't be anything but happy about how the last two plus weeks have played out.