Headlines and snippets from this morning's New York papers. The theme: this team is chomping at the bits, and this city is feeling optimistic:
NY Post, It's Time for Yanks to Beat Boston: "The Yanks dropped three straight in Boston in April before losing two in a row in The Bronx last month, when they were still trying to crack the .500 mark. Since then, Alex Rodriguez has returned from hip surgery and Mark Teixeira's bat has woken up as the Yankees have surged into first place -- one game ahead of the Red Sox after last night's 5-3 victory over the Rays at Yankee Stadium. Now, the teams seem poised to renew their rivalry atop the division. But that doesn't change the fact that the Yankees are 0-5 against the Sox. 'Definitely, we need to win a game there,' Mariano Rivera said...'I haven't forgotten about it," Burnett said. "But that's in the past. Obviously, it leaves a taste in your mouth. I'm not gonna stew on it, not gonna do too much. We know how important this is. I have to attack.' Their captain, however, had a different view. 'It doesn't matter,' Derek Jeter said of the Yanks' struggles against the Sox. 'It makes no difference in [tonight's] game. We're due to win a game. I'm pretty sure they're not thinking about what happened before. We couldn't care less what happened the first five games. It has no bearing on this.'"
NY Post (Vacarrio), Girardi, Fans Looking Forward to 1st Place Clash: But they sure seem like the two best teams in the American League, no matter how many games the Rangers have won (including two out of three at Fenway Park this weekend). They sure look like the class of the AL, in a year when the Rays are still trying to catch fire and the Blue Jays are trying not to slide down a greased flume ride, when the AL Central champion seems a good bet to win only 85 or so games, when the Angels seem to pay every day for allowing Francisco Rodriguez to seek exile in the National League...'Any time you face the Red Sox,' Girardi said after last night's game, 'you know the implications of the games.'"
NY Daily News, Red Hot Yankees roll into Fenway and try to get 1st Win vs. Red Sox. "Boston beat the Yanks twice at the new Stadium, too. But the Yankees are clinging to the idea that they were a very different team the last time the rivals met. In fact, they were. After a 7-3 loss to the Red Sox on May 5, the Yankees were a third-place team with a .500 record (13-13). Hideki Matsui was their cleanup hitter, Ramiro Pena and Angel Berroa were holding down third base and Jose Molina was the regular catcher. Mark Teixeira was irking fans with his slow start and his .198 batting average was a neon reminder of the team's sluggishness every time it appeared on a scoreboard. Since then, they've gone 20-10. After two losses to the Rays following Boston's two-game sweep, A-Rod came back May 8 and the Yanks are 20-8 since, the best winning percentage in the majors over that time. Posada returned May 29 and the lineup looked more like the juggernaut the Yankees hoped for during spring training. The rotation has soared, too. Over the last 24 games (in which the Yanks are 18-6), starters are 11-2 with a 3.83 ERA. The Yankees have a 3.65 ERA during that span, third in the AL."
Even a bit of the same rotation bombast that the Sox have come down with of late. Might come as news to Sox fans that the Yanks, too, feel bloated with starters:
NY Daily News, As Joe Girardi Juggles Rotation, Pettitte holds own, for now. "When there are six quality starters vying for five spots, every outing becomes a bit of an audition - no matter how many big games you boast in your resume. You got the feeling Monday night that Andy Pettitte was one more shaky outing away from a controversy, from people talking about his control problems, about his aching back muscles and about Phil Hughes wasting away in the bullpen. Pettitte did fine, though."
All in all, the Yanks are clearly feeling good about themselves. Let's hope you can check in over the next few mornings to find them taken down a notch.