Here come the Yankees

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There is a fundamental dilemma with rankings like these and it is as follows: Should they reflect the entire season to date, or give more weight to recent events? Exhibit A: The Red Sox have beaten the Yankees all eight times the two have played this season, often convincingly, leaving no doubt that to this point in the season at least, they are the better team head-to-head. But the Yankees have been red-hot for more than two months now to surge past the Red Sox in the AL East. Although I prefer to give added weight to recent events, it seemed strange to move the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox until one of two things happened: either they actually beat them head-to-head or they moved into first place by multiple games. Well, with their next matchup still two weeks away, look what's happened. Since bottoming out at 15-17, 6 1/2 games out of first on May 12, the Yankees have the best record in baseball at 42-20, while the Red Sox have gone 34-27 over the same period. New York now has a two-game lead in the East. While the Yankees were sweeping the Tigers and Orioles in the Bronx, the Red Sox were dropping two of three in Toronto and getting swept in Texas (the Rangers have now won five of six against Boston this year). And so despite their winless mark against their archrivals, the Yankees have played too well for too long not to move them ahead of Boston in the rankings. In the end, though, all of that is just a battle for second place, because once again, the team at the top resides 3,000 miles away from the white-hot center of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

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