Why the NY Yankees Will Remain in First and Never Look Back

Devin Noonan@@devinnoonanCorrespondent IIIJuly 24, 2012

Why the NY Yankees Will Remain in First and Never Look Back

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    The New York Yankees find themselves atop the AL East yet again as we enter the last two months of the regular season.

    The Yanks are no stranger to fierce competition, with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays always challenging for the top spot in the east.

    This year, however, the Yankees have asserted their authority, holding the best record in the majors and leading the Baltimore Orioles by six games in the division to date.

    There are a number of factors that have contributed to the success in New York in 2012, so let's take a look at why the Yankees are going to continue their dominance as the postseason approaches.

Bench Support

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    The Yankee bench has seemed to have the answer to all of the team's problems up to this point in the season.

    With Brett Gardner now facing season-ending elbow surgery (per ESPN.com), the team has made its first major acquisition and brought in former Seattle star Ichiro Suzuki.

    Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez have been the major contributors off of the bench for the Bronx Bombers this season combining for 32 home runs thus far.

    Eduardo Nunez is still a consistent replacement in the infield, while Dewayne Wise has emerged as another solid outfield option.

    With the talent that the Yankees have on their bench, they seem prepared to weather the worst of storms on their road to the World Series.

Division Injuries

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    The division race has yet to heat up as the Yankees continue to coast on their now six game lead over Baltimore.

    The Red Sox have yet to see their entire starting nine take the field together this season.

    Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury have finally returned from injury, but the team recently lost slugger David Ortiz to the DL

    The Blue Jays are now without last year's home run leader Jose Bautista due to a strained left wrist.

    In Tampa BayEvan Longoria has been missing from the heart of the Rays lineup for most of the season with an injured hamstring.

    The team is hopeful to have him back sometime in August, but his return is still up in the air.

    As for the Orioles, Jason Hammel fell victim to a knee injury and will likely miss the next three to four weeks recovering from surgery.

    These teams all lack the depth to adequately handle these injuries and still compete with the Yankees for the AL East.

Clutch Pitching

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    Mariano Rivera's early-season exit brought some immediate worries to Yankee fans everywhere.

    Luckily, Rafael Soriano has emerged as the big-time closer in the bullpen.

    His 1.66 ERA and dominating performance thus far are reminiscent of when he closed for the Rays just a few years back.

    Joba Chamberlain will hopefully be back by the end of the month to help solidify the Yankees' late-inning relief as well.

    Starters CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes have all provided the Yankees with their fair share of quality starts so far this season.

    Andy Pettitte will be out until September, but will be ready to help the Yankees pursue their 28th World Series title this fall.

    In the meantime, Freddy Garcia has stepped up to fill the void in the rotation left by Pettitte.

    Despite all of the question marks that hovered around the Yankees pitching staff early on in the year, it looks as though they have enough quality guys to get the job done.

Offensive Power

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    When batters No. 1 through No. 9 are all capable of putting the ball out of the park, opposing pitchers are left with very little room for error.

    The Yankees currently lead the MLB with 150 home runs on the season.

    Out of the 459 runs they have scored, 51.85 percent have come from the long ball.

    Their top five of Jeter, Granderson, A-Rod, Cano and Teixeira alone gives the Yankees one of the deadliest lineups in baseball.

    In addition to them, Swisher and Ibanez have given the Yankees some power from the bottom of the lineup all season long.

    Even Russell Martin, who is hitting a miserable .180 on the season, has 10 home runs under his belt.

    With Ichiro now making his way into the lineup, you can bet that this is going to be the team to beat come this fall.