The New York Yankees with a 2010 team payroll of over $206 million in are currently tied for the best record in baseball with the Tampa Bay Rays at 78-50.
You could look at this a few ways. You could say that they are in first place and getting their money's worth or you could say, "Hey wait a minute, the San Diego Padres have the second lowest payroll in all of baseball and they almost have the same record at 76-51!"
For all the Yankee haters out there, while that's true, if you are being honest, the San Diego Padres would not be playing .600 baseball if they were in the American League East. Sure you get to play the Orioles 18 times, but competing with the three headed monster being the best three teams in MLB, the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox, takes a toll on a teams record. Frankly, if the Blue Jays were in any other division in baseball they would probably be a playoff team as well and at 67-61 in the AL East, they have nothing to be ashamed of.
Yesterday I was reading an article talking about the Yankees and how they are plan on setting their rotation for the playoffs. With Javier Vasquez being banished to the bullpen and A. J. Burnett pitching like Bob Gibson one outing and Oliver Perez the next, the article suggested that the plan all along to move Phil Hughes to bullpen for the playoffs now has him pitching game 2 with CC Sabathia throwing game one and Andy Pettitte throwing game three. This would not only break up the two lefties but it would give Andy the potential pressure game possibly being down 0-2, tied 1-1, or to close it out. This of course all assumes that Pettitte is healthy.
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Discussions of setting up the Yankee playoff pitching rotation may be a bit premature as they are currently tied with the Rays (only one of them can win the AL East) and only 4 ½ games up on the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wild Card. There is a lot of business that must to be taken care of before a playoff spot can be secured and the AL East division winner and AL Wild Card spot are not likely to be decided until the final days (perhaps the final day) of the season.
The Yankees have seven games left against the Rays and six games left against the Red Sox (including the last three of the year at Fenway Park.) With everyone in the AL East playing each other down the stretch this one could be interesting as everyone in contention has control of their own destiny.
Keep an eye on the Toronto Blue Jays as they clearly have the potential to do some damage against these three teams and would like nothing more to play spoiler. - Paul Leume
Paul is a MLB columnist from Montreal, Canada. Paul, a one-time beat writer covering the Montreal Expos for the Montreal Gazette is a proud grandfather of 3 girls and now spends his time offering his thoughts and prospective on Major League Baseball on a variety of blogs and websites throughout Al Gore's internet.
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