Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 10/3/14
The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles have had their playoff hopes dented recently. CC Sabathia shoulders some of that blame for the Yankees. New York looks for some dramatic improvement from its struggling ace as it begins a vital stretch that could determine its postseason fate Friday night against the Orioles. The Yankees (70-63) have lost four of six and are 2 1/2 games back of Baltimore (71-61) for third place in the AL East. The Orioles are 6 1/2 behind first-place Boston, which leads Tampa Bay by 2 1/2. Baltimore and New York are also in the thick of the wild-card race, sitting 3 1/2 and five games back of Oakland for the second spot. The Yankees' hopes of reaching the playoffs may hinge greatly on their next 17 games, with seven each coming against the Orioles and Red Sox. Starting that stretch by giving the ball to Sabathia (11-11, 4.81 ERA) may not help. The left-hander's ERA is the highest of his 13-year career, and his win total matches a personal low ...
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