With the late-inning implosion of the Rays’ bullpen earlier this evening, the Yankees find themselves tied for third place. A loss tonight would drop them into fourth place in the AL East. It would be the first time since 1992 that the Yanks are in fourth this late in the season.
Over the course of the evening, we’ve seen a few opinions emerge as to whether or not fourth place matters. Some people feel that if the Yanks aren’t going to make the playoffs — first place or wild card — then it doesn’t matter where they finish as long as it isn’t last. Others — including me — believe it to be a point of pride.
Sure, the $200-million Yankees are a big disappointment this year, but that doesn’t mean they should roll over and give up on the rest of the season. Their fans are still watching; we expect decent baseball. So the team should deliver. Plus, it’s better to win more games than anything else. While some cite the difference in draft picks, the Yanks aren’t going to land one of the top five picks no matter how poorly they do over their final three weeks of the season. I’d rather see them finish in third and land the 20th pick than finish in fourth and land the 18th pick.
To keep the Yankees in third place, Joe Girardi will painfully hand the ball off to Sidney Ponson. The only reason Ponson is starting tonight is because Al Aceves has to replace Darrell Rasner next week. Such are the state of things in September. As a Yankee, Ponson is 3-4 with a 6.22 ERA. Since winning on August 6, he’s 0-3 in 20.2 innings spanning four starts. He’s walked nine and struck out seven while pitching to an ERA of 7.40. I’m glad I’m leaving the house tonight before this game starts. It could be an ugly, ugly evening.
A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C