Game 161: Still alive in the AL East

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

The Yankees, amazingly, remain in the race for the AL East title. The Red Sox could’ve clinched the division with a win the last two nights, but nope, they couldn’t do it. The Yankees need to win today and tomorrow while the Red Sox lose today and tomorrow to set up a Game 163 tiebreaker at Yankee Stadium on Monday. That is the Yankees’ only path to the AL East title now.

Because they are still alive in the division race, the Yankees made a pitching change today. CC Sabathia, not Jaime Garcia, will start today’s game against the Blue Jays. Hard to disagree with that move. Could be the big man’s final start as a Yankee! I don’t want to think about that right now though. Things are going pretty great for the Yankees right now. Baseball is fun. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. DH Aaron Judge
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. 3B Todd Frazier
  8. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    LHP CC Sabathia

It is cool and cloudy in New York today, and there’s only a tiny little bit of rain in the forecast. We’ll probably end up getting nothing. Today’s game will begin shortly after 1pm ET and FOX and FOX alone will have the broadcast. If you’re out-of-market, MLB.tv is free all weekend. Just sign up for a free MLB.com account and you’ll be able to watch any game. Enjoy.

Game 160: Tanaka’s final start as a Yankee?

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

Given the one-and-done nature of the Wild Card Game and his looming opt-out, Masahiro Tanaka may very well be making his final start as a Yankee this afternoon. CC Sabathia may have already made his, which is kind of a bummer. It’s a good thing Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery emerged this year, and the Sonny Gray trade went down, because the 2018 and beyond rotation was looking pretty sketchy as recently as six months ago.

Anyway, the Yankees begin their final series of the regular season today, and they are still alive in the AL East. They have to win out and the Red Sox have to lose out to force a Game 163 tiebreaker. That’s the only path to the division title right now. Unlikely? Very. Impossible? No! Get the 90th win of the season today and make the Red Sox sweat a little bit. Don’t give them the division title with a loss. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Aaron Hicks
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. DH Chase Headley
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

I’m kinda surprised more regulars aren’t out of the lineup. Day game after a night game and the AL East title is a long shot. Whatever. The weather is amazing in New York. Great afternoon to spend at the park. Today’s game will begin a little after 1pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network out of market. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Welcome back, Adam Warren. He has been activated off the disabled list, the Yankees announced. I imagine he’ll pitch today regardless of score, then once again at some point this weekend.

Game 159: Trying for their 90th win

(Abbie Parr/Getty)
(Abbie Parr/Getty)

Tonight, for the first time since back in 2012, the Yankees have a chance to win their 90th game of the season. Pretty crazy, isn’t it? So many people pegged this team for something like 82 wins, myself included. They’ve exceeded every expectation and they’re going to the postseason. Getting to 90 wins for the first time in five seasons would be pretty damn cool too.

Aside from winning 90 games, the Yankees still have a chance to win the AL East, though it’ll be tough. Any combination of Red Sox wins and Yankees losses totaling two the rest of the season clinches the division title for Boston. The Yankees have to win out and hope the BoSox loses at least three of four to the Astros this weekend. Just keep winning. Make the Red Sox sweat. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Aaron Judge
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. DH Chase Headley
  8. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  9. 3B Todd Frazier
    RHP Sonny Gray

It has been an absolutely gorgeous day in New York. Nice and sunny without a cloud in the sky, but also cool and breezy. Pretty much perfect. It’ll be a little chilly tonight, otherwise the weather is splendid. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and both YES and MLB Network will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Aaron Hicks is fine. Just a planned off-day as he works his way back from the oblique issue. He is tentatively scheduled to play all three games against the Blue Jays this weekend … Adam Warren (back) will be activated off the disabled list tomorrow and will pitch (probably twice) in the series against Toronto to prep for the postseason.

Game 157: Welcome Back, Aaron Hicks

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Aaron Hicks was activated from the disabled list this morning, and he’ll be batting lead-off tonight. It’s good to see that Joe Girardi isn’t hesitating to maximize Hicks’s opportunities to shake-off the rust of a nearly four-week layoff with the playoffs just around the corner; here’s hoping that Hicks can make the most of it, given his all-around value to the team.

It’s also worth noting that the Yankees magic number to clinch homefield advantage in the Wild Card game is just one, meaning a Yankees win or a Twins loss will seal the deal. The sooner the better, in my mind, so Girardi can allow most everyone to get a bit more rest without the added stress of a Twins run or a Yankees slump.

Jordan Montgomery will take the mound for the Yankees tonight, and here’s the Rays lineup he’ll face. Blake Snell is starting for the Rays, and he’ll square-off against:

  1. Aaron Hicks, CF
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Gary Sanchez, C
  4. Matt Holliday, DH
  5. Chase Headley, 1B
  6. Starlin Castro, 2B
  7. Todd Frazier, 3B
  8. Clint Frazier, LF
  9. Ronald Torreyes, SS

Tonight’s game will start at 7:05 PM EST, and will be broadcast on YES.

Injury Updates: There’s nothing new to report here. Didi Gregorius was expected to sit today, so it’s nothing more than a day off.

Game 156: The Final Week

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Welcome to the final week of the 2017 regular season. The Yankees have already clinched a postseason spot, so they know they’ll be playing beyond this coming Sunday. Will they win the AL East (nope) or host the Wild Card Game (yup)? The next few days will decide that.

Today was supposed to be an off-day, but instead, the Yankees will host the Royals for a quick makeup game. The two teams were rained out on May 25th and, technically, today is a chance to win the series. That was a four-game set and the Yankees won two of the first three games. I remember that series as the series it became clear Luis Severino was in for a special season. Anyway, here is the Royals’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Aaron Judge
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. DH Matt Holliday
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. 3B Todd Frazier
  8. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP CC Sabathia

It is a hot and sunny day in the Bronx. Pretty much mid-summer weather for the matinee. Today’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and both YES and MLB Network will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: There are no injuries. No new ones, anyway. Just a day off for Starlin Castro. Gregorius will probably get tomorrow off, Joe Girardi said. The regular outfielders, who have played a ton the last few weeks, are going to get some time off their feet as well this week. No surprise there.

Game 155: Post-Clinch

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Yankees have completed step one of their ultimate goal this season. They want to win the World Series, and yesterday’s win clinched a postseason spot. The next goal: secure homefield advantage in the Wild Card Game. The goal after that: win the division. That one probably won’t happen, but the magic number to clinch a Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium is only two. That should be in the bag.

Anyway, the Yankees will play their final road game of the regular season this afternoon. They are 40-40 despite a +66 (!) run differential on the road this year, so today will determine whether they finish with a winning record away from Yankee Stadium. Here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. DH Chase Headley
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  7. 3B Todd Frazier
  8. 1B Greg Bird
  9. C Austin Romine
    LHP Jaime Garcia

Another nice and sunny day in Toronto. This afternoon’s road schedule finale will begin a bit after 1pm ET, and YES will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Game 154: A Win And They’re In

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Even though the Yankees lost last night’s series opener to the Blue Jays, the magic number dropped to one because both the Angels and Rangers lost. Thanks for that, Astros and Athletics. The clinching scenario is very simple now. With their next win, the Yankees clinch a postseason spot. They’d also clinch with one loss each from the Angels and Rangers, but that’s lame. Winning to clinch your spot is so much cooler.

Last night’s loss combined with the Red Sox’s win essentially puts the AL East title out of reach — FanGraphs put New York’s division odds at a mere 3.0% — which means it’s wildcard or bust. Win Saturday, clinch a postseason spot, then party like hell. Then go out and win three more to clinch homefield advantage in that Wild Card Game. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Aaron Judge
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. DH Chase Headley
  6. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  7. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. 1B Greg Bird
  9. 3B Todd Frazier
    RHP Sonny Gray

Another nice and sunny day in Toronto, so the Rogers Centre roof figures to be open. Today’s game will begin a little after 4pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Luis Severino was hit by a line drive in the back of his left shoulder during batting practice. He was down on the ground for a bit before he resumed playing catch. The Yankees say he’ll ice is down and is otherwise fine. Good gravy … Adam Warren (back) threw another bullpen session today and is slated to throw a simulated game Tuesday. He’ll be activated after that if all goes well … Aaron Hicks (oblique) played in an Instructional League game today, according to Antonio Mendes. The Yankees hope to get him back sometime next week so he can play in a few big league games before the postseason.