The Yankees elimination number is just three, so any combination of three Yanks losses or Red Sox wins, and it’s officially over. Not that we’re holding out hope at this point. For the Yankees to make the playoffs would take a collapse on the level of…nah, I won’t go there.
On the mound tonight is Phil Hughes, in his first major league start since going down with a fractured rib in late April. Phil has been stellar his past few starts in AAA, winning two playoff games, including the clinching game of the International League Governor’s Cup.
It’s not exactly a big night for Phil. With the Yanks basically out of it, there’s no pressure. Yes, it would be wholly disappointing for him to look like he did in April. But if that’s the case, well, it’s no the end of the world. He’ll get another start or two before the season closes, and he’ll get plenty of work in winter ball. All we really care about is him doing well in 2009.
For the skeptics out there, though, it’s best that he gets through at least six innings with two earned runs tonight. And when he gives up those runs, hopefully it’s in the later innings. If he gives up a run in the first, I fear for my text message inbox. I can see the “Fraudchise” messages pouring in.
1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Xavier Nady, DH
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Ivan Rodriguez, C
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
And on the mound, back to number sixty-five, Phil Hughes.