The New York Yankees (60-23) defeated the Boston Red Sox (45-38) Thursday 6-5 to begin a four-game series at Fenway Park, increasing an already sizable lead atop the AL East. With the 2022 MLB season halfway complete, the divisional race is dangerously close to being over.
In the latest 2022 MLB standings, the Yankees are 15 games ahead of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays (45-37) were off Thursday and moved into sole possession of second place in the division. The Toronto Blue Jays (45-39) started the season as the AL East favorite, but they are 15.5 games behind New York and almost out of contention in the division.
Unless Boston can beat New York in three straight games, the Red Sox probably don’t have a realistic chance of catching the Yankees in the second half of the season. The Red Sox would have to replicate what New York did to them in 1978 when the Yankees made a historic comeback, rebounding from a 14-game deficit in mid July.
The opportunity is there for the Red Sox to make up some real ground. Six of Boston’s final 10 games before the All-Star break will come against the Yankees. In between their home-and-away series with New York, the Red Sox will visit Tampa Bay in a key four-game series.
AL East is the only division in baseball with all of its teams reaching 40 wins pic.twitter.com/kzXghQG1Sm
— Buck’s Bombers (@BucksBombers27) July 8, 2022
Boston’s offense has helped it rebound from a slow start. The Red Sox are second in the American League wild-card standings because of an MLB-best .260 batting average. With a 3.70 ERA, Boston ranks sixth in the AL.
The Yankees have the clear starting pitching advantage in three of the four games at Fenway Park. Connor Seabold, who has three career starts for a 7.71 ERA, takes the mound Friday opposite Nestor Cortes. Boston hasn’t yet named a starter for Saturday’s game.
The AL East could end up producing four of the league’s six playoff teams. The Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays own all three wild-card spots. Toronto has a three-game lead on the Seattle Mariners (42-42) for the final postseason berth.
The Yankees have a 27-12 record against AL East teams. No other AL East team is better than one game over .500 within the division.
Yankees are now 11-9 (.550) when allowing 5+ runs in a game this season. That's by far the best record in MLB.
Every other team is at least 11 games under .500 in those games.
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) July 8, 2022
It’s hard to imagine this Yankees’ team allowing the Red Sox, Rays or Blue Jays to win the division. New York is on pace to win 117 games, which would set the single-season record. The Yankees lead baseball in runs scored and are constantly going back and forth with the Los Angeles Dodgers (53-29) for the best ERA in the majors.
The Yankees have a 5.5-game lead atop the overall MLB standings. New York’s plus-176 run differential is the best in baseball.