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Yankees 3 Up & 3 Down: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Alfonso Soriano Are Up, Ivan Nova, Cesar Cabral, Kelly Johnson Down

  By Brad Carroll  
For a team in first place in the American League East, there shouldn't be many moments where the the team's confidence would be shaken to its core, bordering on losing their way heading into the next biggest series of the season. But that was thfe case for the New York Yankees Sunday afternoon. The Yankees had dropped two straight to the Tampa Bay Rays, both in humiliating fashion, and were on the verge of losing another.

But the Yankees finally broke free, scoring four runs in the top of the 12th inning and went on to beat the Rays 5-1 to salvage a split in the four-game series that could have been much worse. The win not only got the Yankees back in the right mindset heading into a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox, it established themselves as the best team in the division at this early stage.

What's On Tap: Yankees Travel To Fenway Park For Three Games With Red Sox In Always-Big Rivalry Series

  By Matt Straub  

There’s no rest for the weary in Boston. Not with the New York Yankees coming to town. For New York, there’s no chance to catch your breath after a big series with Tampa and the loss of Ivan Nova, perhaps for the season. Not with a trip to Fenway in the cards.

The best rivalry in baseball starts up again Tuesday night, featuring two teams looking to get some momentum. It’s too early to worry about the long-term affects of a series in April, but with each team trying to shake it’s own issues at the moment, the team which wins this series will be in better shape. 

Red Sox 3 Up & 3 Down: Mike Napoli, Brock Holt, Koji Uehara Are Up, Xander Bogaerts, Jake Peavy, Clay Buchholz Down For Week

  By Matt Straub  

The Boston Red Sox needed some good luck. Last year saw so many things go their way en route to the championship, but this year it seemed as though the baseball gods were getting revenge by having everything which could go wrong do just that for Boston so far this year.

Finally, some of that luck came Sunday. Perhaps it was fitting coming after the final ceremony before Boston finally started running forward again. Maybe it was because the Orioles aren’t very good. Certainly, one win, even if coupled with another wild one earlier in the week, doesn’t cure all the Red Sox ills. And a 4-2 week, while representing a start, is not necessarily representative of a total turnaround. 

For Mets Fans, Trading Ike Davis To The Pittsburgh Pirates Was Closure

Ike Davis was traded to the Pirates. (AP photo)
  By Jenni Mennella  
Finally, after four lopsided seasons, the Ike Davis experiment came to an end this past weekend as the Mets traded Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. This came as no shock to anyone since Davis had been platooning with Lucas Duda and Josh Satin at first base since the season started. Duda has put up stronger numbers without question (Duda’s line as of Friday’s trade: .275, 3 HR, 8 RBI vs. Davis: .208, 1 HR , 5 RBI) and won the job early on.

Carrying three first basemen was never part of Terry Collins’ plan for 2014, sparking trade rumors as soon as the 2013 season ended. With no takers in sight, the Mets needed one of these guys to make a strong showing in spring training to earn the starting nod. A hard-fought battle ensued and it looked like Davis would emerge as the starter, but Duda proved to be the victor even though Davis is a natural first baseman and stronger defensively.

Mets What's On Tap: Mets Host St Louis Cardinals, With Wainwright And Wacha, In Four-Game Series

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Mets will have a new face in the clubhouse as they begin a four-games series with the St. Louis Cardinals Monday night. Bobby Abreu, the 40-year-old outfielder who hasn't played in the majors since 2012, will join the team in time for the beginning of the series with the Cards, providing the team with a quality bat off the bench, and possibly, with how the offense is going, a more consistent offensive spark.

Abreu batted .395 with the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas team in 15 games this season, so he still has something left in his bat at this latter stage of his career. Of course, what he brings to the Mets at the plate will be a mystery, as there is a big leap from facing Triple-A pitching and that of the major leagues. Still, any help for the Mets offense will be welcome.

Mets 3 Up & 3 Down: David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Kyle Farnsworth Are Up, Jose Valverde, Ruben Tejada, Curtis Granderson Down For Week

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Mets saved what would have been a devastating series sweep at the hands of the Braves Sunday afternoon, topping their NL East rivals 4-3 in 14 innings. The victory allowed the Mets to take one of three games from Atlanta and finish the week at 4-2. Obviously, going 4-2 each week will have the Mets in the postseason at year's end, so the end result is a positive one.

The victory Sunday was one of the big headlines in a week full of them for the Mets. First, New York swept the Diamondbacks on the road to finish off a successful 6-3 road trip. Then, the Mets traded struggling first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates, finally ridding themselves of a player who had such a promising start yet failed so miserably for more than a year. Not slowing down, the Mets switched closers before the finale against Atlanta, removing Jose Valverde and giving the job to Kyle Farnsworth. And, oh yeah, the big-money free agent, Curtis Granderson, was moved out of the cleanup hole for the first time in his short, so-far unsuccessful stint with the team.

Red Sox What's On Tap: Orioles Up Next For Four, Including What Should Be Emotional Patriot's Day Game

  By Matt Straub  
There was good news for Red Sox Nation this week when Boston won a road series, beating Chicago two-out-of-three in frigid conditions at U.S. Cellular Field. The bad news, however, is the way the Red Sox won the games. One win came in extra innings with a utility infielder on the mound for the White Sox, another saw another brilliant performance by Jon Lester nearly wasted, and Mike Napoli almost ruined his hand trying to slide.

The offense still hasn’t looked like the 2013 edition, but the pitching has been good enough to win. The Red Sox now look to gain a little momentum from the series, as fluky as it was, and come home to Fenway Park, where they will try and reclaim their dominance at home with another series victory.

Mets What's On Tap: NL East Showdown As Mets Welcome Division-Leading Braves To Citi Field

  By Brad Carroll  
Believe it or not, the New York Mets are the hottest team in the National League right now. The Mets have won three straight after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks to finish 6-3 on their nine-game road trip. Now, the team returns home trying to keep that momentum against another red-hot team.

The Atlanta Braves come into Citi Field starting Friday night with the second best record in the National League and lead the NL East with a 10-5 record, two games ahead of the Mets. But the Mets should have plenty of confidence against the standard bearer of the division, as they started their successful road trip by winning two of three games in Atlanta. 

Yankees What's On Tap: AL East Heavyweights Clash For Four Games As Yankees Take On Rays In Tampa

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Yankees couldn't come into this early-season showdown against the Tampa Bay Rays with any more confidence. The Yankees have won four straight, highlighted by a two-game sweep against the Chicago Cubs in which the pitching staff allowed no runs. In two whole games. That's impressive, no matter the opponent.

Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda combined to let up just six hits in 14 total innings against the Cubs, allowing no runs Wednesday in the day-night doubleheader. The bullpen pitched four scoreless frames. The offense didn't exactly hit the cover off the ball, but Carlos Beltran is certainly the hottest hitter in baseball, hitting another home run in the first game. The Yankees did just enough and have a doubleheader sweep to show for it.

Red Sox What's On Tap: Boston Seeks To Get Out Of Early Malaise, Plays Three Games Against White Sox

  By Matt Straub  

There’s nothing wrong with being two games back in the race for the division, especially with just under 150 games left in the season. For the Boston Red Sox, however, there’s no time like the present. It’s time for the Red Sox to get out of their early season malaise. It’s time for the Red Sox to get some big hits, back up their strong pitching, and get some wins.

The division won’t be won if the Red Sox play well in Chicago this week. It won’t be lost if the Red Sox are swept this week by the White Sox. Things are too tight for that. What this week’s series against the White Sox, which begins tonight, can be is an opportunity to gain a little momentum. It’s time for the Red Sox to make a statement they can once again get their season on track and contend in the rugged American League East.