Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since 2004. Show More
It's better to be chased than to be the one doing the chasing. That's generally true in business and politics and in the American League East.
In a reversal from 2014 and in a bit of a surprise, the Yankees -- a team with a player named Chase and another named Chasen -- are actually the chasees. The Orioles, who can only muster a "Chaz'' on their roster, are the chasers.
Perhaps that's why the teams' general managers had very different thoughts on the non-waiver trade deadline, which arrives July 31. A few days ago, Brian Cashman said it was "more likely that we don't do anything rather than predicting we do something significant.''
Spoken like a man who had a five-game lead over the second-place Blue Jays (pending Toronto's late game) and six over the defending AL East champion Orioles and Tampa Bay after last night's 4-3 victory over Baltimore at Yankee Stadium.
The Bosox? Fuggeddaboutit.
Ivan Nova went six innings for the win in his fifth start back from Tommy John surgery. Mark Teixeira hit his 24th home run, a two-run shot in a three-run first inning, and Alex Rodriguez hit a 450-foot solo blast (his 20th) to left-center in the fifth.
"I wish you get more points for distance,'' the now reliably charming Rodriguez said.
Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances were perfect in relief and Andrew Miller picked up his 22nd save despite allowing a two-out homer to Chris Davis in the ninth.
(Chase Headley went 0-for-3 and Orioles reliever Chaz Roe didn't pitch. Take a bow if you knew we were talking about Chaz Roe earlier. Take another if you remember he appeared in three games for the Yankees last season.)
If A-Rod and Teixeira stay healthy and the starting pitching stays in more-than-competent mode, Cashman knows he can put his feet up over the next eight days and wait for prices to fall to what he's willing to pay.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette went the other way in a talk with reporters before the game. He's eager to deal.
"We're still contenders for the playoffs,'' he said, "and we are going to approach our season as though we're going to advance to the playoffs. So we're going to continue to build and add to our team where we can . . . I think we need more pitching and we need more production from the outfield.''
A year ago at this time, the Yankees were chasing the Orioles, trailing by only three games. But the Birds went 41-21 from July 23 on and lapped the Yankees by 12.
The Orioles and Yankees finish the regular season at Camden Yards on Oct. 2-4. Will it matter? The Yankees look pretty good right now.
"These are important series because it gives you an opportunity to put some distance between you and the clubs in your division,'' Joe Girardi said. "But there's still a ton of games to be played.''
The last three clubs to lead the AL East on July 23 went on to win the division. That chase is on, and so is the one to add difference-making talent before the end of the month.
"I think in the AL East, the playoff spots are going to be won in the next six weeks, between now and Sept. 1,'' Duquette said. "The teams that are able to strengthen themselves and play well in that period of time will advance to the playoffs. So we'll see.''
Cashman said, "It's a division there for the taking,'' but it doesn't look as if he's going to do anything more than tinker around the edges before the deadline.
He may not have to.