No, a shambles describes the Yankees at the moment. They went into this home series with the American League Central Division-leading Cleveland Indians only 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL Eastern Division, with the Sox coming in for 4 games right afterward. There was still a chance to win the Division, despite having dropped 5 out of 7 to the Sox earlier in August.
But on Monday night, despite a decent start from Luis Severino, the Yankees didn't get it done. Joe Girardi messed the pitching up again, the bats didn't get the job done, and a game that was 2-1 Yankees after 5 ended 6-2 Indians.
Tuesday night was a rainout, forcing a doubleheader yesterday. The opener saw Jaime Garcia give the Yankees 5 good innings, but Girardi took him out after that. The fact that Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle then pitched 4 scoreless innings is encouraging, but not that Girardi had no faith in Garcia. And the Yankees only got 5 hits, and lost 2-1.
Then the nightcap was as ugly a result as the Yankees have had all season. Jordan Montgomery (started and pitched 4 innings), Chasen Shreve (pitched into the 6th) and Caleb Smith (went the rest of the way) all had very little. This time, the Yankees got some hitting, including a home run from Greg Bird, who finally returned from injury rehab. But it was hardly enough, as the Indians beat us 9-4.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox won 3 straight. They now lead us by 5 1/2 games, 5 in the loss column, with a little 5 weekends and 4 weeks left to play.
My guideline is that if you have more weeks left than games behind, you have a chance at the Division; but if you have more games behind than weeks left, it's over.
Hal Steinbrenner could have done something about this. He could have fired Brian Cashman and installed a general manager more interested in winning now than in making promises from the future, promises that he can't keep. He could have fired Joe Girardi, and installed a field manager who understands that it's better to use fewer pitchers in a game than more. He could have accepted that not winning the Division in 5 years, not winning a Pennant in 8 years, winning only 1 World Series in 17 years is, for the New York Yankees, unacceptable.
Instead, we are stuck with Girardi and Cashman, not just through the end of the season, but for the foreseeable future. Since we believe Girardi to be a good family man, and since the breakup of Cashman's marriage, through his own fault, was not held against them, the old axiom of "They ain't gettin' rid of me 'less they catch me with a dead girl or a live boy" isn't going to work.
We have to live with incompetence in both the dugout and the front office, and we have to hope we can overcome them and our opponents.
So this is it: 4 games that will decide the Division, barring a hot streak by the Yankees and a nosedive by the Sox -- which has happened a few times before, but we can't count on it happening again.
The Yankees have to win at least 3 of the 4. Otherwise, it's the Wild Card or nothing. And, given Girardi's managing, a win-or-go-home-game the Wild Card Game might as well be nothing.
Even if we win, it, we'll have a Division Series with the Houston Astros, who are not only the best team in the AL this season, but will have the home-field advantage, and the emotional support of the entire country as they try to help their community heal from Hurricane Harvey and the Trump Administration's stupid response to it. That might as well be a 3-game sweep loss for the Yankees.
No, the Division must be won. Even that won't guarantee anything, not even home-field advantage in the ALDS, as we'd probably have to face the Indians again, with them having HFA. But it's still better than having to pull the upset against the emotionally-driven Astros.
So the Yankees must take at least 3 out of 4 against The Scum this weekend.
Here are the projected starting pitchers:
* Tonight, 7:05 PM: CC Sabathia vs. Eduardo Rodriguez.
* Tomorrow, 7:05: Sonny Gray vs. Doug Fister.
* Saturday, 1:05: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Drew Pomeranz.
* Sunday, 7:30: Luis Severino vs. Chris Sale.
This series is the Yankees' last chance to de-shamble themselves.
Hours until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 4. This is the last scheduled series against The Scum this season, although we could meet them again in the ALDS or the ALCS, though that is unlikely.
Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 1, tomorrow night, at the odd kickoff time of 6:55 PM, against Costa Rica, at Red Bull Arena, in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier.
Days until Rutgers University plays football again: 1, tomorrow night, home to the University of Washington. So here's the starting times: 6:55 PM, U.S. vs. Costa Rica in soccer; 7:00 PM, Yankees vs. Red Sox; 8:00 PM, Rutgers vs. Washington.
Days until The Arsenal play again: 6, on Saturday, 10:00 AM our time, home to AFC Bournemouth. They have a week off due to the international break, following their pathetic 1-0 loss to Stoke City and their 4-0 fiasco against Liverpool. If Arsenal want to make a run at the Premier League title, Petr Cech can never tend goal for them again.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 8, a week from next Friday night, home to Sayreville, a "derby."
Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 17, against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, September 17, at at Red Bull Arena. They will next play the D.C. Scum on Saturday, September 27, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. They are not scheduled to play New York City FC or the New England Revolution again this season. The Red Bulls might make the Playoffs, and NYCFC also will, but the Revs probably won't, so they almost certainly won't face each other again until next season.
Days until the U.S. Open Cup Final: 20, on Wednesday, September 20. The Red Bulls face Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. This is Metro's 2nd trip to the Final of the American equivalent of the FA Cup, and if they win, it will be the biggest moment in franchise history -- if they win, and, if so, until they win their 1st MLS Cup.
Days until the New Jersey Devils play again: 38, on Saturday night, October 7, home to the Colorado Avalanche. A little over 5 weeks.
Days until the New Jersey Devils next play a local rival: 45, on Saturday night, October 14, against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan. Their 1st game against the New York Islanders will be on Sunday, January 7, 2018, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn -- and they'll have played the Rangers 3 times by then. Their 1st game against the Philadelphia Flyers will be on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at the Prudential Center in Newark -- and they'll have played the Rangers 3 times and the Islanders once by then. This is a weird schedule. But at least we have it. The NBA usually doesn't release its new season's schedule until August.
Days until the Alex Rodriguez Contract From Hell officially runs out, and the Yankees can spend his salary on new players: 62, on October 31. Exactly 2 months.
Days until the next election for Governor of New Jersey: 69, on Tuesday, November 7. A little under 10 weeks until we elect Phil Murphy, defeat Kim Guadagno, end Christieism forever, and send the Republicans and their illegitimate leader Donald Trump a message that their time has come and gone. But only if you vote!
Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State football game: 73, on Saturday, November 11, at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.
Days until the next North London Derby: 90, on Saturday, November 18, at the Emirates Stadium. This game was moved back to 5:30 PM London Time, 12:30 PM New York time, for TV purposes, but was not, as I thought it might be, moved to Sunday afternoon (morning, our time) or Monday night (afternoon).
Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving high school football game: 85, on Thursday, November 23, at 10:00 AM. Just 12 weeks, and thank God it's at home, at Jay Doyle's Green Grove, rather than at that purple shit pit on Route 9.
Days until the next Winter Olympics begins in Pyeongchang, Korea: 164, on February 9, 2018. Under 6 months.
Days until the next World Cup kicks off in Russia: 287, on June 14, 2018. Under 10 months. Has Bruce Arena turned our chances around? Maybe. Or maybe, with the tournament on his soil, Vladimir Putin will tell his bitch Donald Trump to tell Bruce Arena to tank the games. Maybe not. Or maybe only if we end up playing Russia. I don't think Arena will listen. If he doesn't, I hope his life insurance is paid up, because Putin has had people killed for defying him.
Days until September 2018 roster call-ups, when we can finally start to expect seeing most of these wonderful "prospects" for whom Yankee general manager Brian Cashman threw away a chance at the 2016 Playoffs: 366. Exactly 1 year, or 12 months. Of course, Clint Frazier is already up, but the bubble has already burst on him, and we've hardly benefited enough to offset the cost of Andrew Miller. We could end up seeing another of them sooner than that, but since most of them are at Double-A Trenton now, if that, who's kidding who?
Days until the next Congressional election, when we can elect a Democratic Congress that can impeach and remove Donald Trump from the Presidency: 432, on November 6, 2018. Under a year and a half, or a little under 15 months.
Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Mariano Rivera: 496, on January 9, 2019. A little under a year and a half, or a little over 16 months.
Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Derek Jeter: 855, on January 8, 2020. A little under 2 1/2 years, or a little over 28 months.
Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 1,053, on July 24, 2020. A little under 3 years, or a little over 35 months.
Days until the next Presidential election, when we can dump the Trump-Pence regime and elect a real Administration: 1,155, on November 3, 2020. Under 3 1/2 years, or under 39 months.
Days until Liberation Day: 1,233, at noon on January 20, 2021. A little under 3 1/2 years, or a little under 41 months. Note that this is liberation from the Republican Party, not just from Donald Trump. Having Mike Pence as President wouldn't be better, just differently bad, mixing theocracy with plutocracy, rather than mixing kleptocracy with plutocracy.