Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ellsbury Keeps Yankee Hopes, However Remote, Alive

The Yankees chances of making the Playoffs are still very slim. Essentially, they need to win every game, and get help.

Not the kind of help Joe Girardi needs (a burning of his binder), or the kind Brian Cashman needs (a slap in the face and a pink slip).

Last night, Hiroki Kuroda did his job. Into the 7th inning, he allowed the Toronto Blue Jays 3 runs (2 earned), 7 hits, no walks, 7 strikeouts. Pitching like that deserves sufficient runs.

He got them. In the bottom of the 1st, already trailing 1-0 on an Edwin Encarnacion home run, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double. Derek Jeter singled him over to 3rd. (I know, I know, but it is time for him to go.) Brian McCann singled Ellsbury home. But the rally was stymied when Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play and Carlos Beltran (big shock) struck out.

Ellsbury struck again in the 3rd, hitting a home run, his 16th of the season. He struck again in the 4th, getting a run home on a groundout to ex-Met Jose Reyes, whose error allowed another run. Ellsbury either scored or drove in all the Yankee runs.

Girardi trusted Adam Warren to close the game out. In spite of what surely must have been palpitations from thousands of Yankee Fans, Warren got the job done.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3. WP: Kuroda (11-9). SV: Warren (3, believe it or not). LP: Mark Buehrle (12-10).

Here's how things stand, going into today's 4:00 start:

* The Yankees are 4 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot, with 9 games to go.

* If the Yankees "go Borg," and win 7 of 9...

* The Kansas City Royals would have to drop 6 of 9.

* So would the Seattle Mariners.

* And the Cleveland Indians would have to do no better than winning 7 of 9.

If all those things happened, it would create a 4-way tie for the 2nd Wild Card.

Right, I don't think the Yankees are going to make it. But it's possible that will still not be assured next Thursday, when Jeter's last home game is scheduled.

Let him play in the season's last series at Fenway? Or let the home finale be his finale? Recall that, in 2008, the Yankees were mathematically still eligible when the last scheduled game at the old Yankee Stadium was played, but the elimination number was down to 1, and we knew there would be no last round-up for the Big Orchard.

But it's still possible. Remote, but possible.

So I'm saying... there's a chance.

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