Yankees clinch 17th American League East title; beat Rays 4-2

It never gets old. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Approximately seven hours after earning their 2011 postseason berth, the Yankees clinched their 17th American League East title, beating the Rays 4-2, sweeping the doubleheader, securing the series victory and ensuring a stress-free final week of the season as the team prepares to kick off the American League Division Series next Friday, September 30.

CC Sabathia and Jeremy Hellickson were locked in a pitchers’ duel in this one, with the former going 7 1/3 and giving up two runs — both on solo home runs, to Kelly Shoppach and Sean Rodriguez, natch — and the latter going seven and also giving up two runs and limiting the Yankees to only two hits.

Sabathia threw 127 pitches but couldn’t get through the 8th, and after loading the bases Joe Girardi summoned David Robertson to do what he’s done all season — get out of a bases-loaded jam, this time on only one pitch.… Click here to read the rest

Your 2009 AL East Champs: The New York Yankees

Although part of me was hoping the Yankees would clinch tomorrow so I could watch it live, I must say it felt great to finally take the division back. And to do it by sweeping the Red Sox, locking up 100 wins, and the best record in baseball, well, that just makes it even sweeter. I think it’s safe to say that, with consecutive series wins against the Angels and Red Sox, not to mention their domination this year of the Tigers and Twins, the Yankees are in the heads of the other playoff teams (and not, as we often like to complain, the other way around.) As such, this seemed like as good a point as any to reflect on the team’s season.

Success starts at the top, and even though I’m as big a Cashman hater as there’s been over the years, color me impressed with his work this year. For once, he didn’t just make the big moves, he made the right moves (OK, they were pretty big,) and I’d hate to think about where this team would be without CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Andy Pettitte, and even A.J.
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