When the Yanks take the field tonight, they will be just 3.5 games behind Boston and 3 out on the loss side. They haven’t been this close to the division lead since April, but it won’t be easy to catch that crown (and those games Tampa Bay blew last week loom large).
But the Yankees do hold something of a trump card if the improbable happens. With their victory on Sunday, the Yanks clinched the season series against the Red Sox. A tie atop the AL East hands the division title – and home field advantage should those teams meet again – to the Yankees.
Now, with two weeks left in the season, the Red Sox have 11 games left: 2 @ Toronto; 3 @ Tampa Bay; 2 vs. Oakland; 4 vs. Minnesota. The Yankees have 12 games left: 2 vs. Baltimore; 4 vs. Toronto; 3 @ Tampa Bay; 3 @ Baltimore. What needs to happen for the Yanks to tie?
|If the Red Sox go…||then the Yanks have to go…|
Right now, on paper, it’s not impossible. The Red Sox face better teams than the Yanks do. But these better teams have struggled lately, and the Yanks aren’t the greatest against their three division opponents.
But things are looking up for the Yanks. Yesterday, CoolStandings had the Yanks winning the division 6.5 percent of the time. Today, it shot up to 12 percent. As we all know, in baseball, anything can happen. It sure would be great to catch the Red Sox even if it would take a minor miracle. Or at least a major slump.
Our Fan -on-the-Field caption contest is going strong. I wanted to up the ante a little bit. I’m going to offer a prize. The winner gets the New York Yankees Vintage World Series Film DVD Set.
Here’s how it works: Right now, the contest will remain open for submissions until 11:59 p.m. ET tonight, Tuesday, September 18. At that point, we’ll pick our five favorites that were not submitted by someone who writes or is related to someone who writes for River Ave. Blues. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll post a poll thread that will remain open for 48 hours. The winner after those 48 hours will be awarded the DVD set.
So get send submissions in to to the comments on this post. Time’s a-wastin’.
BA’s got the scoop. The Yanks are sending Brad Suttle, Austin Jackson, George Kontos and a rehabbing Mark Melancon to play for the Honolulu Sharks. Melancon, as you may recall, left Hawaii early last year to finally have his long anticipated Tommy John surgery.
That Honolulu squad looks pretty stacked based on a quick glance, as Matt Weiters, Brandon Snyder and Ryan Harvey will be joining the Yanks foursome. Let’s just hope none of Dan Bard’s “success” rubs off on any of the Yankee guys.
(hat tip to Keith Law)
For the division:
For the Wild Card:
So, with everything else being equal (though it never is), the Yanks have as good a shot of missing the playoffs as they do of winning the AL East. I like those odds.
Briefly on tonight’s game: With a very shaky Kyle Farnsworth on the mound — you jinxed him, Mike — Torre turned to Mariano Rivera to get a one-out save. Rivera gave up an RBI to Aubrey Huff before striking out Melvin Mora, the potential tying run, to end the game. In the 9th, Torre had two choices: Use someone else in a four-run game to give Rivera the night off or go with the best available option to nail down the save.
If Torre goes with someone else and that someone else coughs up the lead, Torre gets roasted. If Torre goes with Rivera in a sheer sign of desperation and overuses his best reliever some more, Torre get roasted. So it’s a no-win situation in a game that adds another tally to the Yanks’ win column.
I pose the question to you then: What do you do in the 9th inning? Do you go with Rivera even after he threw 29 pitches the night before or do you turn the ball over to one of the other guys in the pen, say Ross Ohlendorf or Chris Britton, and hope they can retire someone from the bottom of the Orioles’ lineup without giving up four runs?
I know what you’re thinking: Uh, oh, Daniel Cabrera and the Orioles. And, hey, don’t the Yankees always lose games like this?
After yesterday’s dramatic win, the Yanks face off against the Orioles tonight. All season long, the Orioles have been a thorn in the Bombers’ collective side. The Yankees are just 4-8 against a team that is 64-84. Imagine if the Orioles represent the difference between the AL East and the Wild Card or, even worse, the Wild Card and a playoff-less October. These two teams play six more teams this year, and the Yanks very well could have their playoff fate determined by the Orioles.
But I’m not ready to write off tonight’s game as one of those let-down games. We’ve got Phil Hughes on the mound. He’s pitching for his place in the postseason rotation. And the Yanks aren’t facing the same Oriole team they battled against earlier this year. Baltimore, since Dave Trembely was named permanent manager, have gone 6-19 over their last 25 games. They’ve given up 10 runs or more eight times during that stretch and managed to allow 30 runs in one game in August.
As the Indians and Tigers prepare to do battle in the Central, the Yanks need these games. With a 2.5-game Wild Card lead, they control their own fate. Winning games against the Orioles will make the team feel better about their playoff hopes, and it will make us feel better about this team come October.
Meanwhile, submit your fan-on-the-field captions here.
Thirteen games left. Melky, hitting .190/.242/.241 this month, takes a seat tonight, and the Yanks put their sub-par defensive outfield out there.
Johnny Damon CF – Yikes
Derek Jeter SS – What a weekend: 5 for 14 with 2 HR and 5 RBI.
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui LF
Jorge Posada C
Jason Giambi DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B – Looks like we were right about this one for now.
Phil Hughes P
While some Red Sox fans are less than thrilled with Shelley Duncan’s classless-but-hilarious autograph, the Fenway Faithful managed to out-class (or is that out-classless?) the Yankees. And the stadium security forces weren’t much better.
Yesterday, during the Seventh Inning, after Eric Hinske doubled, a Boston fan ran onto the field, stole Robinson Cano‘s hat, tried to high-five Hinske and was finally, mercifully tackled in the outfield by security. In an age when we have to worry about fans attacking base coaches, how did this guy manage to get to second base, steal a hat off a player and find his way into the outfield before the obligatory security pile-on? That’s pretty terrible work by the Red Sox’s security forces.
But righteous outrage aside, Yankee fans can have some fun with this one. Below is the photo of the fan being tackled. Your job? Caption it. Leave your responses in the comments and we’ll do something with our favorite choices. Maybe we’ll all vote on it. The winner gets undying recognition and unconditional love.
The Post, ever the paragon of investigative journalism in New York City, found that New York City Transit police were blocking the emergency exits at the Yankee Stadium subway stops. Read all about it at Second Ave. Sagas. · (0) ·
Based on this post by Peter Abraham, I have to believe that Doug Mientkiewicz is the starting first baseman going forward. Last night, he put on a show at first base and went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Torre loves the defense at first. So, for better or worse, at this point, it’s Dougie’s job to lose. · (10) ·