Today is the last day of August. We’re down to one more month of baseball, 32 games in total. The Yankees have controlled the American League East since June 12th, and were once 10 games up in the standings. Now we’re down to just a 4.5 game lead to the Rays and a 3.0 game lead to the Orioles. Last year, it felt like every important game came down to the last day of the year, when the Rays and Cardinals overtook the Red Sox and Braves for the Wild Card position in a spectacular fashion. This year, the AL East could very well be decided in the next two weeks.
|#131||Friday, August 31st||BAL||7:05 PM|
|#132||Saturday, September 1st||BAL||1:05 PM|
|#133||Sunday, September 2nd||BAL||1:05 PM|
|#134||Monday, September 3rd||@||TBR||1:10 PM|
|#135||Tuesday, September 4th||@||TBR||7:10 PM|
|#136||Wednesday, September 5th||@||TBR||7:10 PM|
|#137||Thursday, September 6th||@||BAL||7:05 PM|
|#138||Friday, September 7th||@||BAL||7:05 PM|
|#139||Saturday, September 8th||@||BAL||7:05 PM|
|#140||Sunday, September 9th||@||BAL||1:35 PM|
|#141||Tuesday, September 11th||@||BOS||7:10 PM|
|#142||Wednesday, September 12th||@||BOS||7:10 PM|
|#143||Thursday, September 13th||@||BOS||7:10 PM|
|#144||Friday, September 14th||TBR||7:05 PM|
|#145||Saturday, September 15th||TBR||4:05 PM|
|#146||Sunday, September 16th||TBR||1:05 PM|
The Yankees have now enjoyed their last off-day before an important 10 game stretch between the second and third place Orioles and Rays. 13 of the next 16 games will be played against the two teams that threaten their playoff hopes. With the injury bug that’s spread rapidly through this roster, now is the worst time for the Yankees to play their most important set of series of the year. Big wins here could mean they run away with the division, but big losses mean they’ll likely lose the AL East lead.
Since the Allstar break, the Yankees have put together a record of 23 wins and 22 loses. Some players have stepped up and helped the team surpass injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Ivan Nova, and CC Sabathia, but it’s only been good enough for .500 ball. Over the next two weeks, .500 ball won’t be good enough, and it’s time for players like Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano to forget their recent slumps. With the way older guys like Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez look lately, there’s no doubt this team is beat and exhausted, but there’s no time to rest.
Tomorrow, rosters expand to 40 players, providing the Yankees and other teams with a resupply of soldiers in August. We won’t know who will get the call from Triple-A, but there’s a good chance that Mark Teixeira, Pedro Feliciano, and Aled Rodriguez return during the next two weeks. Hopefully this is enough, but if there was a time to overwork, it’s now.
Nothing appears guaranteed anymore, and we’re now in a make or break two week stretch. Any string of games short of domination will be painted as panic, but in the end, it’s simple, the Yankees need to win, now.