With an Angels loss to the Rangers tonight, the Rangers, Orioles, and Yankees are now all destined for the playoffs. Where these teams enter the postseason is still to be determined. Now, either the Yankees or Orioles will at least play a one game wildcard series against either the Rangers or Athletics. With just three [...]
This post almost turned into a frustrated rant. Phil Hughes was awful, allowing eight hits and five runs in just 4.2 innings of work. And the Yankee offense came out of the gate slow. The Blue Jays entered the sixth inning with a five to one lead and it looked like the Yankees were going [...]
The Yankees rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Blue Jays in Toronto Sunday afternoon, regaining a share of the AL East lead. Baltimore beat Boston 6-3 earlier in the day to claim sole possession of first, but the Yankees’ late spark drove the bombers back into pole position. The Yankees overcame a rough start by Phil Hughes, who tossed four and two-thirds innings of eight-hit, five-run ball, effectively stymying the Blue Jays offense thanks to strong relief efforts by Derek Lowe, Boone Logan, and David Robertson.
The bombers began the game essentially the way they ended last night’s contest: offensively impotent, and looking for something to fall their way. The Jays, on the other hand, jumped all over Hughes almost immediately: Yunel Escobar doubled in a run in the first while advancing Edwin Encarnacion to third–he’d score on Adam Lind’s sacrifice fly. They would put men on first and third in the second, but quiet down in the third and fourth; the Yankees got hits in the first and second innings, but didn’t manage to score until Eric Chavez blasted a Henderson Alvarez ball into the right field stands.
That was the way the game was going, pretty much, at the beginning of the sixth inning–the Yankees ineptly putting runners on then failing to advance them, and the Jays moving runners almost at will against a flustered-looking Phil Hughes. The Jays were coming off a long bottom of the fifth that saw Brett Lawrie turn on a hanging, spinning breaking ball with a runner on first, and then saw Moises Sierra lace a run-scoring single to chase Hughes. Heading into the inning, it was 5-1, and the Yankees were staring a one-game deficit in the eyes.
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The Yankees refuse to make this easy. Rather than focus on who the Yankees should have beaten based on the match up (Ricky Romero, cough, cough) I want to emphasize the need to win big games, easy competition or not. The Yankees don’t want to find themselves in a sudden death playoff. The team hasn’t [...]
Imagine a scenario: the Yankees lose their last four games, watching the O’s sweep the Rays, the Angels win all four, and the Oakland A’s take two out of four. No playoffs. And after yesterday’s stinker against the Jays, I have to say, I wouldn’t be that fussed. I mean, sure, the Yankees have a strong body of work over a long season…but they have spent long swaths of this season looking like a sub-.500 team.
Basically, I’m echoing the sentiment that popped up a lot after yesterday’s disaster: maybe they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
But baseball, like all sports, has little relationship to fairness; and if the Yanks can just take a few games in a row, then they’ll be where they always seem to be these days: playing for their lives in October.
So let’s try to scrub the image of yesterday’s bases loaded impotence out of our brains, and watch Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.10) try to stop the bleeding against Henderson Alvarez (9-14, 4.91). First pitch is at 1:05 PM EST.
D. Jeter, SS
I. Suzuki, RF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
N. Swisher, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
R. Ibanez, LF
R. Martin, C
E. Chavez, DH
Blue Jays (70-88)
B. Lawrie, 3B
R. Davis, LF
E. Encarnacion, DH
Y. Escobar, SS
A. Lind, 1B
M. Sierra, RF
J. Arencibia, C
A. Hechavarria, 2B
A. Gose, CF
Ivan Nova has been terrible this season. Ivan Nova is scheduled to start what could be a crucial on Tuesday night against Boston. For the moment, manager Joe Girardi says he plans on letting Nova make that start. Before you get too worked up about that, however, keep in mind that Girardi sounds about as uncommitted to that course as he possibly could. “We’ll just go day-by-day where we’re at,” Girardi said. “As of right now, we’ve made no changes.”
I’m of the opinion that Nova should not start any big games for the rest of 2012, but the situation is still highly fungible at the moment. If, for example, the Yankees win/Orioles lose both of their respective next two games, the Yankees will enter that Tuesday game with a magic number of just one, giving them four separate chances to clinch the division. If that comes to pass, I probably would go ahead and run Nova out there to start. Short of that? No way I’m pinning my hopes to Ivan the Terrible. Would Girardi? I have no idea.
I hate interesting September baseball.
At least we’re getting some good news before the games start today. Jack Curry tweets that Joe Girardi anticipates that Mark Teixeira will rejoin the Yankees tomorrow, and will start at first base against Boston in the season’s final series. With four games left to go and the Yankees tied for first place, that’s obviously a big deal. While it’s unrealistic to expect Tex to be an offensive force after missing so much time and when he’ll likely be dealing with some lingering effects from that calf injury, the Yankees should probably be able to count on his customarily excellent defense at first base, and if nothing else his presence will make it a lot easier to park Andruw Jones on the bench for good. Both of those facts will represent a marginal upgrade for the lineup, and at this point in the season every little bit counts. The Yankees realistically need to win all four remaining games on their schedule in order to avoid having to play a 163rd game for the division title in Baltimore, so absolutely anything they can do to increase their chances of winning an individual game is a good thing at this point.
So yesterday’s game was something less than awesome, huh? In fact, I dare say it was the worst loss of the year so far given the context. I mean, you had a) a cellar dwelling opponent, b0 an opposing starter who’s been one of the worst full-time starters in all of baseball this year and who did everything he could to wrap the game up early for you, c) an absolute must win game with the Orioles just one game back and facing the similarly woeful Red Sox, and the Yankees just laid an egg. That they managed just two first inning runs the whole game was bad enough, but it just rubbed even more salt in the wound to watch them do that after the performance they put on Friday night. But then that’s been the story of the entire season, hasn’t it? It’s just magnified in a must win game against a sub 70 win team in the season’s last week.
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The scenario the New York Yankees find themselves in is not exactly where they wanted to be. They would have preferred to be comfortable with their magic number counting down steadily. A few non-crisis games would have been nice to end the season. Instead, with four games left, they are in a dead heat with the Baltimore Orioles after a particularly ugly loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, their second in three days to that lowly team. The first loss was understandable. Despite what many fans have been saying, Brandon Morrow is one heck of a pitcher and he pitched to his potential. But not yesterday’s loss. Not with seven runners left on base in the first four innings. Not with a starting pitcher on the ropes they couldn’t put away. Not when a bases loaded, no out situation ended with zero runs. No, that was ugly. And a couple of scapegoats are available. One is Curtis Granderson. He could not put the ball in play and made the first out in that bases loaded situation. A ground ball…a fly ball somewhere. Anything. Instead he popped up. But our scapegoat, de rigueur is Andruw Jones. “Smiling Andruw,” as the wife calls him did not make anyone smile yesterday. And with the exception of that one pinch hit homer the other day, hasn’t made anyone smile in a long time.
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