Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not “Another One of Those Games”

From September 19:

Last night's game against those pesky Toronto Blue Jays looked like it would be another one of those games.  
Phil Hughes started, and, as is the case now when Hughes starts, gave way to David Huff. Between them, they pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and (I love to see these words in connection with Yankee pitching) no walks. Plus 5 strikeouts, though I don't particularly care how the outs come, as long as they come.
But in those 1st 7 innings, the Yankees had no runs and just 3 hits. They wasted men on 1st & 3rd with 1 out in the 1st, a man on 2nd in the 3rd, 1st & 2nd with nobody out in the 4th, and a man on 1st with 2 out in the 7th.
If the Yankees do somehow make the Playoffs, which is still not likely, last night's top of the 8th will be a major reason why.
Brendan Ryan, a rookie playing shortstop for the injured Derek Jeter, hit a line drive that bounced into the left field stands for a ground rule double. Curtis Granderson singled him over to 3rd.
Alex Rodriguez came to the plate as the tying run. Clutch time. He struck out.
I’m just sayin'.
But Robinson Cano singled Ryan home. Alfonso Soriano doubled home Grandy. Vernon Wells doubled home Robbie and Sori. 4-3 Yankees. The Jays ended up using 4 pitchers in the inning.
Joe Girardi sent David Robertson out to pitch the 8th, and then needed Mariano Rivera to get a 4-out save. He got it.
So last night's game was not "another one of those games," because the Yankees were in come from behind mode.
So here's how the AL Wild Card standings currently stand:
Tampa Bay Rays 83-68 (would get the 1st Wild Card)
Texas Rangers 82-69 (would get the 2nd Wild Card and travel to Tampa for the play-in game)
Cleveland Indians 82-70, 1/2 game back
Baltimore Orioles 81-70, 1 back
New York Yankees 80-72, 2 1/2 back
Kansas City Royals 80-72, 2 1/2 back
The Yankees' Elimination Number for the 2nd Wild Card is 9: Over the last 10 games of the regular season, any number of Yankee losses and Ranger wins adding up to 9 means the Yankees don't make the Playoffs at all, for the 1st time in 5 years, and only the 2nd time in 19 years.
In other races, the Boston Red Sox are down to a Magic Number of 3 to clinch the AL East. The Detroit Tigers are down to 5 to clinch the AL Central. The Oakland Athletics, benefiting even more this year than last from a Rangers collapse, are down to 5 to clinch the AL West.
The Atlanta Braves are down to 2 to clinch the NL East. The Arizona Diamondbacks are down to 2 to clinch the AL West.  The only Division race that really remains in much doubt in the NL Central, where the St. Louis Cardinals lead the Pittsburgh Pirates by 2 (Magic Number to eliminate them is 9) and the Cincinnati Reds by 2 1/2 (Magic Number is 8).
The Pirates and Reds probably have the NL's 2 Wild Card slots wrapped up, although who will host the play-in game remains in doubt. The Washington Nationals are 5 1/2 games behind the Reds for the 2nd slot.

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