Regular Articles
New York Yankees/51-46/Second Place AL East

Why The Yankees Should Worry:
  Well, Bob Abreu is toast, Cano’s batting average slump could hold him beneath a .350 OBP, and it’s always possible that they simply won’t regain the games they lost.

Why The Yankees Shouldn’t Worry:  They’re just too good, and too unlucky not to come back.  Clutch-Rod and Cap’n Derek are spearheading an offense that is regaining steam.  Clemens has been good, and in about 2 weeks the Yankee rotation will be at peak strength.  A rotation of Wang-Clemens-Pettitte-Mussina-Hughes excites me, and even more so if Joba Chamberlain is called up and used properly as a set-up man. 

What The Yankees Should Do At The Deadline:  Do the Scott Proctor for Wilson Betemit deal.  Look for some relief help, but other than that, stand pat.  Yankees can still win the AL East.

Boston Red Sox/59-39/First Place AL East


Why The Red Sox Should Worry:  Oh Boston, you’ve seen this story before haven’t you?  You guys with the crimson socks get flaming hot, and then those guys with lines on their jerseys catch ya in August and crush your hopes in September.  (I’ll stop now, for fear of jinxing my Bombers.)

Why The Red Sox Should Worry (Really):
  Schilling isn’t a safe bet to come back healthy, and that’s a problem.  Also, go look at Dice-K’s game logs.  Notice how he shreds the offensively-challenged teams, but when he goes up against the Indians-Yankees-Tigers, he struggles.  That could be a problem in October.  Manny Ramirez has lost a bunch of steps, Ortiz is not hitting as many home runs as he did (his Home Run per Fly Ball ratio is down), and it’d be a blessing if Youkilis and Lowell stayed somewhat close to their current lines down the stretch.  Still though, all four of those guys do the most important thing:  They get on base.

What The Red Sox Should Do At The Deadline:  Your gonna hear this a lot, but there’s not much available to trade for.  Once again, middle relief would help.  Boston is a prime wild card candidate, but with the Indians-Tigers still being really good, it’s no guarantee.

To Sum Up

Boston is good.  They really, really are.  But they aren’t better than the Yankees, I don’t see it.  I don’t think Schilling-Beckett-Matsuzaka is better than Clemens-Wang-Hughes/Mussina/Pettitte, preferably Hughes.  Papelbon is good, but he did break down last season, why couldn’t he now?  (Admittedly, Boston is using him far less frequently, which of course makes a difference.)  Chances are Lowell and Youk will regress, and chances are, Cano and Abreu will improve.  
   
I see the Yankees taking the division, probably by the beginning of September, middle at the latest.