New York Yankees: Could There Be Trouble in Paradise?

Kate ConroySenior Analyst IIAugust 3, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG - AUGUST 01:  Pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees fouls off a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on August 1, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tampa Bay beat the Yankees 3-0.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

After losing the series 2-1 in Tampa to the Rays over the weekend, the New York Yankees are back in the Bronx.

The Toronto Blue Jays are in town and the Yankees lost the first game at the stadium yesterday.

This is two losses in a row, and the Champs no longer own the best record in baseball. They now they share it with the Rays.

It all started Sunday afternoon in Tampa, when skipper Joe Girardi substituted new Yankee Lance Berkman for Mark Teixeira at first base, gave Alex Rodriguez a day off,  and Brett Gardner was not in the outfield.

It made me question Girardi’s train of thought, considering CC Sabathia was on the mound, which gives the team a major advantage to win.

From a fan’s perspective, it didn’t seem like winning the game was on the priority list of Joe Girardi. He didn’t put the best team out there. It looked like practice, or that the Yankees were not that concerned about leading the division.

In the end, the Rays won and moved one game away from tying with the Yankees.

Than last night, AJ Burnett on the mound was back to the old four innings of domination. Then in the fifth inning, Burnett fell apart and Toronto had batting practice.

At the same time, the Rays beat the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field. Then the Yankees lost and now the AL East has a tie for first place for the first time since May 18th.

This makes the guarantee of a post-season spot up-in-the-air for the Yankees, or at least the possibility of no October more realistic.

Over the next week, the Yankees have two more games against heavy hitting Toronto, followed by an off day on Thursday, before starting a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox Friday night at home.

This could make for big trouble, because the Red Sox need these division wins. Just imagine what winning three of four in New York could do to the AL East standings.

Here are the current AL East win-loss standings:

Yankees- 66/39
Rays- 66/39
Red Sox- 60/46
Blue Jays- 55/51
Orioles- 32/73

Other than the fact that the Orioles are so bad, the other four teams have solid records. The Blue Jays are flirting with becoming a competitive team, and that would make the AL East a powerhouse.

The Red Sox are only seven back in the loss column from catching the Yankees and the Rays. Cutting that number to three or two would a realistic expectation. Problem is, the Yankees can’t afford to go into a slump or else the wild-card will not be an option anymore.

The Yankees have to win the next two against the Blue Jays before facing their rivals, or else there will be trouble in paradise for the 2009 reigning World Champions.