First Pitch: Where do the Yankees stand?

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
8:00
AM ET
Elvis AndrusJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesTexas managed to slide in just a single win out of a four-game set.
They fell in the finale Thursday, but the Yankees still took three of four games against Texas this week and have the best record in the American League. The Yankees lead Texas by 1 1/2 games for the top spot in the AL and finished 4-3 against the Rangers this year.

Looking at the landscape in the American League, does this series change how you view the Yankees against the competition? Are the Yankees in your eyes now the team to beat? Is this just a meaningless August series? Is it still Texas' crown to lose until someone can beat them?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday that Texas is the team to beat, and while the Yankees certainly looked impressive these past four days, this isn't October. Texas has won the pennant the past two seasons and will enter this year as a strong contender to do so again. One series in August won't define what they will do come the playoffs.

This series shows, though, that the Yankees are right there with the Rangers. They received tremendous pitching performances from David Phelps, Hiroki Kuroda and Freddy Garcia, and the bats came alive with big hits. This was arguably the best series the Yankees have played all season, considering the competition. There was no doubt the Yankees were the better team for these past four games.

QUESTION: Does this series make the Yankees the team to beat in the AL or are the Rangers still on top until they're beaten? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

UP NOW: Wally Matthews wrote about the struggles of Joba Chamberlain. I had pieces about Ivan Nova's tough day and a notebook discussing Andruw Jones' dropped ball and the overall series.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Katie Sharp will have a YankeeMetrics at 11 a.m. Sharp and Mark Simon will post a What 2 Watch 4 at 1 p.m. Matthews will have you covered from the Stadium as the Yankees begin a three-game set against the Red Sox.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.275 10 54 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 54
RB. Gardner 76
OPSB. Gardner .784
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135