Monday, September 20, 2010

Time to Put the Devil Rays In Their Place: 2nd

The Yankees blew it yesterday, leading the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 in the finale of the series at Camden Yards. Andy Pettitte pitched well, but Mariano Rivera allowed a homer in the bottom of the 9th. In the top of the 10th, the Yanks had a runner on 3rd with nobody out, and the bases loaded with 1 out, and didn't score, and lost in the bottom of the 11th, 4-3. But Tampa Bay also lost, so the Yanks remain half a game up, even in the loss column, Magic Number to clinch Playoff berth 7, the Division 14.

So, this is it. Four games with the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium II, starting tonight.

Yanks sweep: Up by 4 1/2, Magic Number 6.
Yanks take 3 of 4: Up by 2 1/2, Magic Number 8.
Split: Up by 1/2, Magic Number 10.
Rays take 3 of 4: Down by 1 1/2, Magic Number 12.
Rays sweep: Down by 3 1/2.

The 1st 2 are desirable, the middle one acceptable, the last 2 unacceptable.

After this, the Yanks have 9 games left, the Rays 10. If it's a split, and the Yanks take 2 of 3 in each series (at Toronto, and home-and-home with the Red Sox), the Rays would have to win 7 of 10 to forge a tie for first, which would go to them based on head-to-head: They currently lead 8-6 and would, in this scenario, lead 10-8.

But if the Yanks take 3 of 4 against the Rays, and then take 2 of 3 in each remaining series, then the Rays would have to win 9 of their last 10. That's 3 at home against Seattle, 3 at home against Baltimore, 4 at Kansas City. Possible, but not likely.

If the Yanks sweep, then even if the Rays win all of their last 10, 2 of 3 in each series would be enough to win the AL East.

It is time to put the Devil Rays in their place. Which, historically (not that they have much history) is 5th and last place, but this time, I'll settle for 2nd place.

Tonight: Ivan Nova vs. Jake Garza.

Tomorrow night: Phil Hughes vs. James Shields.

Wednesday night: A.J. Burnett vs. Wade Davis.

Thursday night: A starter as yet undecided -- should be CC Sabathia as he'd have 4 days' rest, it's hard to imagine Joe Girardi keeping him out of the Tampa series and saving him for nearly-eliminated Boston -- vs. David Price.

Tonight, the Monument to George Steinbrenner is dedicated. I wonder what George would say?

"Never mind me, get out there and win the games!"

Right on, Boss. Bring it on, Tampa, you Dummy-come-latelies!

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