2011 New York Yankees: 5 Reasons They'll Finish Ahead of the Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox were garnishing praise from the media for their offseason acquisitions of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby Jenks.
These players were supposed to kick start the Red Sox and have them running away with the American League East right from opening day.
This was not the case. The Red Sox did not have a .500 record until May 15th.
They also had a slow season, which gives The Yankees history to be on their side. Out of a 110 teams in Major League Baseball history only two teams have started 0–5 like the Red Sox and went on to make it to the post season.
The New York Yankees instead have played well keeping themselves in either first or second in the AL East.
They may not look like they are going to run away with the AL East but they will certainly finish above the Red Sox because of five main reasons.
Home Runs and Slugging Percentage
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The Yankees have one thing that allows them to stay in every game. They have the ability to hit the long ball and put runs on the board immediately with any at bat.
They lead the majors in both home runs and slugging percentage at this point.
Up and down the Yankees line up, every player can put the ball out of the ballpark. Especially Curtis Granderson who has the second most home runs in the majors to this point and Mark Teixeira who are just starting to warm up.
Then examining Alex Rodriguez who has always had the ability to hit 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI in a season. The offensive production will be there in the clean up spot.
The man who follows him in the line up Robinson Cano is coming off of a MVP like season in 2010 hitting an average of .320 with 29 home runs and 109 RBI in 2010 and he is also starting to hit form now in the 2011 season.
The Yankees are certainly not a one-dimensional team though. They have the ability to play small ball with the speed of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Chris Dickerson and Eduardo Núñez (when he is playing).
Runs Scored Versus Runs Allowed
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The Yankees have the second best difference between runs scored and runs allowed. They find themselves behind the surprising Cleveland Indians thus far in the season.
It seems simple if a team scores more runs then they allow they win games.
The Yankees have a differential of plus-49 where as the Red Sox are behind them with plus-34.
The Yankees have scored 257 runs while only allowing 208. This has been helped by the Yankees timely home runs.
They have scored 52 percent of their runs off of home runs and they have hit 49 percent of these home runs with men on base.
7th, 8th, and 9th Inning Pitching
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The Yankees have the edge when it comes to their late inning relief. David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera can close out any game.
David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain are two young arms that are lights out this season.
David Robertson has pitched 21.1 innings and only allowed 16 hits while striking out 35 batters. He also has an earned run average of 1.27.
Joba Chamberlain seems to be back in his dominating ways. His fastball is hitting in the mid to high 90’s again. This has provided him with a prominent role in the Yankees bullpen once again.
Rafael Soriano was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason. He is currently the set up man but he is also the heir to the closer role after Mariano Rivera retires.
He is on the 15 day disabled list right now and has had a slow start to this season. The beginning of this season does not show his talent. Last season as Tampa Bay’s closer he had 45 saves.
Mariano Rivera is one of the best closers of all time. Over his career he has 572 saves. He only has 29 more saves until he passes Trevor Hoffman for the most saves of all time.
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The Yankees last won the World Series in 2009. The Red Sox have not won since 2007.
The turnover from the Yankees 2009 roster has the core mostly there but the 2007 Red Sox roster has changed considerably.
This experience is important come playoffs. If the Yankees are to finish above the Red Sox in the 2011 season they will need to rely on the veteran leadership to carry them through it.
The Red Sox only have five of their 2007 starters still with them.
The Yankees have six of their starters plus Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner who were up and coming young players that have become important role players for the Yankees.
Ability to Trade and Sign Players
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This reason is also a reason why so many baseball fans love to hate the Yankees.
They have the ability to fill in any gaps before the trade deadlines. They have coveted prospects and talent through out their roster that teams are willing to trade for.
They also have the cash and the big market to entice most major league players to want to come to the ball club.
This ability means that if there is anything lacking the General Manager Brian Cashman can make many moves to bring in the players needed to give them the edge.