Consistently one of the elite sports betting
teams in baseball, the New York Yankees won the American League East last season, coming on strong in the final stretch of the season while their AL East division rival Boston Red Sox tanked and missed the postseason. However, with greater goals than simply making the playoffs, the Yankees went out and made some key changes this offseason that should make their club even stronger, with the most important being the upgrades to their starting rotation. New York signed young pitcher Michael Pineda as well as Hiroki Kuroda, upgrading the one area that was considered a team weakness a year ago. Those two additions have helped make the pinstripes one of the most complete teams in baseball heading in to the 2012 season, where they will look to do much more than simply repeat as division champions.
Where Pineda and Kuroda will pitch has yet to be determined, but filling two reliable arms in to a five-man rotation is a significant upgrade, one that allowed New York to ship the enigmatic AJ Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates. With perennial CY Young candidate CC Sabathia holding down his spot as the teamís ace, Pineda and Kuroda will join a group that includes Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia to fill out the bottom-four. While none of those are considered elite options, they are better than what the Yankees had a year ago, and the competition should bring out the best in each of them. Closer Mariano Rivera wonít be able to sustain his level of play forever, but he should be able to get the job done for at least one, maybe two more seasons. The two arms on the above list that donít make the starting rotation will head to the bullpen to join Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, and Corey Wade, giving New York a ton of options in relief.
The reason why the Yankees were able to make the sports bet
upgrades that they made to their pitching staff has everything to do with the offensive pieces that they already had in place, an area where they really didnít need to look for help. New York finished the 2011 season tired for second in baseball with 867 runs scored, second in on-base percentage with a .343 team-mark, and third in slugging percentage with a .444 average. Robinson Cano exploded with a breakout season in 2011, allowing an order that already consisted of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Derek Jeter even more flexibility. Curtis Granderson was another breakout star in 2011, and although he may not be able to duplicate the results of last season after hitting 41 home runs, he is another reliable option that can bring power to the lineup.
The fact that the Yankees are a better team now than they were a year ago when they won the division is an indication they should have no problem once again taking the AL East, but the focus for this season in New York is taking one of the most talented teams in baseball and bringing home a championship. Among the sportsbook
favorites to do exactly that this season, the Yankees do have the talent, itís simply a matter of putting all the pieces together now.
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