It was supposed to have been a three-horse race. The Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox were supposed to battle for the top two spots in the AL East, which was assumed to house the AL East champion and the AL Wild Card. The three teams battled through the first half, but the second half has been all Yankees, and has been all against the Rays.
A team that won 97 games last season is stuck at 82 with three games left. While they were once greatly underperforming their run differential, even that has come back down to earth. As it stands, they’re just two games behind pace. The Yankees, for what it’s worth, are outperforming their run differential by eight games, though they do have the best mark in the AL by three games.
Rookie David Price takes the mound against the Yankees for the third time this season. They worked his pitch count the first time, forcing him to toss 106 through 5.2 innings, while they scored three runs. Price’s five walks didn’t help matters. He was better the second time, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks in six innings. In his last appearance, he gave up five runs in five innings to the Rangers.
While the game is meaningless for the Yankees as a team, it does mean something for CC Sabathia, who can notch his 20th win tonight. He downplays it, saying that it would be nice but not necessary. After year after year of busted free agent pitching, I think most of us want to see him get it. Not that it makes a difference in CC’s season — he was a great pickup who was worth every penny — but it’s always nice to see a pitcher hit 20 wins these days.
For some reason, Jose Molina is DHing tonight. The early lineup had him as catcher and Jorge as DH, but then they flopped. Why not just DH Hinske if you’re not going to DH Matsui? I don’t get it. I’m glad Posada is catching CC, because that’s the way it will line up in the playoffs. Molina should catch tomorrow, and Posada should catch A.J. on Sunday.
And on the mound, number fifty-two, Carsten Charles Sabathia.