Found September 03, 2013 on
Derek Jeter will play a crucial role in the Yankees’ drive to October.
A win over the White Sox yesterday coupled with another Tampa Bay loss pulled the Yankees within 2.5 games of the second Wild Card spot. It’s the closest they’ve been to the postseason cutoff since July 29, at which point they were just five games over .500 and a mere shadow of the team they are now.
Then, they were still mired in a summer slump and slipping in the standings. The only reason they were hanging on, it seemed, was because other teams had yet to break away. By math they were only 2 ½ games out, but by all other tests the Yankees were nowhere near that close.
Now, the team is smack-dab in the middle of a late-season surge and headed the other direction in the standings. Since August 7, when they fell a daunting seven games out of the Wild Card race, the Yankees have passed two teams and are now nipping at the heels of the Orioles, who might want to warn the Rays as well. If 2 ½ games felt like a mountain at the end of July, at the start of September it has never felt smaller.
Part of that is due to the way the team is playing. The Bronx Bombers are once again living up to their name, smashing the ball with confidence and piling up wins at home. The span of play between July 29 and today has seen the Yankees jump seven teams in runs scored and compile an 11-3 record at The Stadium.
But that feeing of optimism now brewing in the Bronx also stems from what lies ahead. For a team needing to make up ground, the Yankees play an extremely favorable schedule in the final month. For the rest of the season, they are playing either a team belly-up in the water or one just ahead of them in the standings. The most any team can hope for entering September is to control their own destiny and the Yankees can certainly lay claim to that.
Including the next two games against the White Sox, the Yankees play 11 games against teams a combined 98 games under .500. That includes a series against the decrepit Houston Astros to close out the season, which, given the crowded Wild Card race, could be the answer to every prayer in Yankee Land.
The remaining 14 games come against AL East rivals Boston, Baltimore and Tampa Bay. The Red Sox might be out of a reach today, but next Sunday, after the two teams have played each other seven more times, there may be a new story to tell. But that’s not what this team is after. Not right now, at least.
Though it may go against Yankee scripture to aim for second, that’s where this season has brought them. (And if they achieve that goal, they can cleanse themselves of their sins by setting their sights on the World Series.) Four games next week against the Orioles and three games against the Rays two weeks after that grant the Yankees every opportunity they need to sneak into one door to open another.
It’s hard to attach a magic number to the wins column at this point, but if last season is any barometer, it will take no less than 91 to grab a Wild Card spot. Assuming they can win eight of 11 games against the White Sox, Blue Jays, Giants and Astros, the Yankees would need to take 10 out of 14 from their AL East brethren to get to 91 wins total.
That’s a record of 18-7 over their final 25 games, which is certainly realistic given the way they’ve played the past month. Since August 7, they are 16-7, and right on pace for September.
The Yankees can’t think like that though. They can set their sights only on the day at hand, their goal to win one game, tonight, and if they do that, then to win one more game tomorrow. If they take care of business on a daily basis, 18 wins will take care of itself. Though bigger opponents await, no game is more important for the Yankees right now than the one tonight against the White Sox.
Keep winning, and the mountain will continue to get smaller.
BEST OF MAXIM
Mariano Rivera's farewell tour has been one of the far and few highlights of the Yankees rough and tumble 2013 season but now, it sounds like manager Joe Girardi wants his Hall of Fame closer to leave his pile of swag in its wrappers and come back for one more year. Girardi will give Rivera time to settle into retirement before reaching out, he stressed Tuesday night. ...
The Yankees continue their important homestand tonight against the White Sox. After an impressive 9-1 win yesterday, Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball with hopes of getting back on the right track. After pitching so well all season, Kuroda has hit a wall over his last few starts. He faces off against White Sox ace Chris Sale, so there won’t be a lot of room for error.
Chicago White Sox...
Nobody sits down and conceives a great WinWarble. If you think too much, your diaphragm tightens, the chords strain, and -- around the 6.40-second mark, the Heartbreak Hill of Sterl Hurls - your lungs simply fail, leaving the world with what sounds like a routine win over Houston.No, the great Warbles must rise up from the soul, lighting the abyss, dazzling the Yankiverse, restoring...
Ivan Nova is acknowledged for his outstanding August.
Ivan Nova (AL) & Zack Greinke (NL) named Pitchers of the Month for August. @Yankees@Dodgers
— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) September 4, 2013
For the month of August, Ivan Nova had a 4-0 record with a 2.08 ERA. He also had a WHIP of 1.20. He pitched seven innings of shutout baseball in San Diego early in the month...
To say that 2013 has been a struggle for right-hander Phil Hughes would be an understatement. Hughes has complied a 4-13 record with an ERA+ of 83 so far this season after 26 starts. He will now be relegated to the bullpen, which was a role he excelled at during the 2009 championship-run. How Hughes has lasted in the rotation this long is a testament as to how injury-riddled and...
After a thrilling come from behind win last night, the Yankees go for the sweep against the White Sox! CC Sabathia gets the ball and will try to turn in a quality start. He will be opposed by Erik Johnson, who will be making his Major League debut tonight. The Yankees are currently 4-1 on their current 10-game homestand. Anything less than 8-2 would be a major disappointment, so...
20 years ago today, Jim Abbott took to the mound at Yankee Stadium in front of 27,125 fans on an overcast, somewhat damp day. Abbott entered that game with a record of 9-11 with a 4.31 ERA for the Yankees in 1993 – largely unimpressive. In the December before the season, he was traded to New York by the Angels after a couple of good years in California, but couldn’t quite carry...
Joe Girardi will spend part of the coming offseason advising Mariano Rivera to reconsider his scheduled retirement the New York Yankees manager told ESPNNewYork.com.
In a wider conversation about Rivera's career Tuesday evening Girardi was asked how many more seasons he thought his former teammate could continue to close at a high level.
"I don't see any reason why...
The Yankees look for a little payback sweep as CC Sabathia (12-11, 4.91 ERA) and Erik Johnson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) go head to head in the last game of the series. In his last nine starts, Sabathia gave up at least five runs six times. He earned a win despite giving up five runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Orioles his last time out. In six August starts, Sabathia has a 5.94 ERA. The...
What manager in their right mind would want Mariano Rivera to retire?
The answer is none, so that’s why it comes as no surprise that Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants his legendary closer to stay.
“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t. He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls...
With the Yanks now just 2.5 games out of the wild card, Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA) takes on Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99 ERA) in hopes of gaining more ground. Kuroda will also hope to stop the bleeding after two straight rough outings. The right hander was blasted for seven runs against the Rays on Aug. 23 and five more against the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Chris Stewart wondered afterward...
Trailing by three against Chris Sale has usually spelt doom for the Yankees in the past but on this night the New York Yankees put together six hits and five runs in their most important inning of the season.
Eduardo Nunez’s two-run double capped a five-run eighth inning that handed a two run lead to Mariano Rivers for their 12th victory in their past 14 home games.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi says he'll talk to Mariano Rivera in
the offseason about whether the New York Yankees closer definitely
wants to retire.
With the success of international free agents such as Yu Darvish Aroldis Chapman Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig many major league teams have begun to spend more resources scouting players from outside the US.
The Yankees have historically been a team that has been willing to spend money on hot young international talent (Jose Contreras Hideki Irabu among many others).
Scoring runs has been an issue for the Yankees all season. In the fourth inning Monday it felt like they were making up for the past five months in a single frame.
The Yankees exploded for eight runs in the inning on their way to a 9-1 win over the White Sox in front of an announced Labor Day crowd of 40125 at soggy Yankee Stadium.
Six different Yankees drove in runs during the...