Good morning Yankees fans! I am back with another Wild Card Watch! Yesterday the Yankees were 3.5 games back and needed to gain some ground. Did they? Here’s the results from last night along with the final scores of our Wild Card contending teams:
Wild Card Final Scores (WC Teams are in BOLD):
White Sox 1, Yankees 9: David Huff pitched 5.1 IP of one run ball, Derek Jeter drove in two runs and the Yankees scored a season high 8 runs in the 4th inning as they demolished the White Sox 9-1 to take game one of the three game set. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA)
Rays 2, Angels 11: Erick Aybar had a big night for the Angels, hitting a two-run homer and a two-run triple, Grant Green had his first MLB home run and Garret Richards navigated after a shaky start as the Angels hand the Rays their fifth straight loss with a 11-2 victory. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Matt Moore (14-3, 3.41 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.54 ERA).
Orioles 7, Indians 2: Nate McLouth and Matt Weiters both hit two-run HR’s and Bud Norris pitched seven innings of one run ball as the Orioles beat the Indians 7-2. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 3.95 ERA).
Rangers 2, Athletics 4: Coco Crisp hit the game deciding home run and Yoenis Cespedes HR’d as the A’s win 4-2. The Rangers and Angels are now tied for first in the AL West (which is why the Rangers are in the Wild Card standings. Tonight’s match-up: Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94 ERA).
Royals 3, Mariners 1: Royals reliever Will Smith tossed 4.1 IP after starter Danny Duffy left the game in the fourth inning and the Royals got to King Felix, scoring three runs including a Mike Moustakas single as the Royals beat the Mariners 3-1. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 5.18 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (6-2, 2.79 ERA).
Come back tomorrow for another Wild Card Update!
It’s a brand new series…let’s just forget about yesterday. Here’s the lineup
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Vernon Wells DH
Curtis Granderson RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Austin Romine C
Phil Hughes RHP
— The Yankees have called up Preston Claiborne from High A Tampa. Joe Girardi said there shouldn’t be anymore call-ups September. Aside from Preston Claiborne, don’t expect the other call ups to be used. Girardi says they are more here for the experience.
Last night on Twitter I asked my followers if they would prefer that I placed the Wild Card standings on my Twitter account and I got a huge response. All of the answers were yes. So I decided why not do a Wild Card Watch on Yankees Fans Unite as well? That way we can keep tabs on where the Yankees are for the rest of the month, dissecting what the Yankees have to do in order to get the second Wild Card spot. Here was the Wild Card standings from last night, since all the teams that are in the Wild Card race played afternoon games.
The good news is, the Yankees didn’t lose any ground for the second Wild Card spot. The Tampa Bay Rays lost so the Yankees are still 3.5 in the race. The bad news (for now) is that Baltimore and Cleveland leapfrogged over the Yankees for the other two spots. Now, the reason I say it was bad news for now is because a brand new series means brand new teams play against one another. Yankees will host the Chicago White Sox for three games and the Cleveland Indians will host–the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have a chance to once again leapfrog over Baltimore and Cleveland since one of those teams in the Wild Card race would have to lose the games and the series. Now, the White Sox are no pushovers for the Yankees since they have Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago going in that series, but the Yankees have a slightly different team and the offense clicked as of late. What will happen on Labor Day? Hopefully the Yankees labor their way to a victory, then hold their breath to hope either Baltimore or Cleveland lose the game, then hold their breath and hope the Rays lose their game. Yankees can’t fall backwards. It’s only going forwards from here. Come back to the blog tomorrow for another Wild Card Watch.
Yankees go for the series sweep vs. the Orioles today (and there are some September Call-Ups)! Here is your starting lineup!
LHP Andy Pettitte
— Catcher J.R. Murphy
— Infielder David Adams
— Right Hand Pitcher Brett Marshall
— Right Hand Pitcher Dellin Betances
— Left Hand Pitcher Cesar Cabral
(Preston Claiborne will be another call-up but the season for the Tampa Yankees finishes on Monday, so he could either come back tomorrow or most likely Tuesday).
All right, let’s play a quick game. Raise your hand if on May 1st you thought this team was going to be in a position to take the second Wild Card spot in September with a lineup that didn’t have Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson or Mark Teixeira. Be honest, because from Twitter from May-July there were some pessimistic tweets about them.
It is September 1st. The Yankees are 3.5 games back for the second Wild Card spot entering play today and they have 27 games remaining. The Tampa Bay Rays have been fading recently, going 3-7 in their last ten games, playing the first Wild Card spot team the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees in their last 10 games are 7-3. The team the Yankees need to keep below them in the Wild Card, the Baltimore Orioles are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Yes, the Yankees have been playing with the cards that have been dealt to them but it’s easier now, considering the Yankees have some power in the lineup.
Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have returned. The Yankees have traded for Alfonso Soriano. They claimed Mark Reynolds off waivers. The world (and the season) no longer falls on Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki‘s shoulders. They are now a small (but important) part of a large puzzle. The rotation has been getting quality work from Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte. Hiroki Kuroda is expected to turn it around after a dismal August, which could be because of fatigue. The bullpen has been flawless this year (well, majority of the bullpen). The Yankees pieces are all clicking together at the right time and if they keep playing the way they are playing, they have a legitimate chance to knock Tampa Bay out of the second spot and claim it for themselves.
Two weeks ago, the Yankees chances seemed slim. They had to hop over three teams to even get behind the Rays. Going into September…the Yankees hope to pass the Rays and get into postseason contention and prove all the naysayers wrong. This team could be good enough to get into the playoffs, but how far could they possibly go?
Yankees did a great job taking Game 1! Now let’s take Game 2! Here’s your starting lineup!
RHP Ivan Nova
RHP Ivan Nova
— Alex Rodriguez has been scratched with the flu.
There’s no denying two things:
1) Mark Reynolds is carrying a hot bat into this Baltimore Orioles series, having three hits last night and simply demolished the Toronto Blue Jays; going 5-for-8 in his two games.
2) Lyle Overbay is seriously struggling coming into this series He hasn’t had a hit since August 18 vs. the Boston Red Sox.
The way that it was designed since the New York Yankees had picked up Mark Reynolds was simple; Reynolds will hit vs. LHP and Lyle Overbay will hit vs. RHP. However, the stakes are high and the times have changed. The Yankees are fighting for the final WC spot (along with the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics). They need the hottest bats in the lineup. They need Mark Reynolds. Reynolds is slowly forming back into his April form, hitting .319 in August. after having a sluggish May-July which ultimately caused him to lose his job with the Indians. Lyle Overbay however is hitting .231 in August and is 0-for his last-15.
If I’m the manager of the Yankees, Reynolds would be in the lineup today over Overbay. I like Lyle Overbay, I do–but this is a time where people’s feelings can’t get hurt. If you’re not producing whether on the mound or at the plate, you’re either getting pulled early or you’re not getting the start. It’s as simple as that. Right now, Overbay wouldn’t get the start; Reynolds would. It sounds mean and sounds cruel but looking at numbers, that’s how it would have to be done if the Yankees want to keep their playoff hopes alive. So take your pick, would you take Mark Reynolds…or Lyle Overbay going forward in this stretch?
The Yankees have 29 games left this season, and they gained a half game yesterday without playing a game (thanks Angels and Tigers). As the Baltimore Orioles come into town this weekend, the schedule for the Yankees in September will tell them just how much of a playoff contending team they are. Here’s a preview of the September calendar, and where the Yankees could stand at the end of the month.
August 30 – September 1
Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees
The Baltimore Orioles pitching is a bit sketchy, but they can survive sketchy pitching with their lineup. With the power bat of Chris Davis and the ability for the rest of team to scratch out runs, the Yankees are in for the fight of their life this weekend. This series won’t be easy but the Yankees have added Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano should he be well enough to play at some point this weekend. The Yankees need to at least take two out of three in this series, which means that CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova need to step up and pitch well (Nova has done that this season, the sentence was more for Hughes and Sabathia). Also a word of advice, if the Yankees want a chance to take the series, I’d suggest taking Hughes out of the rotation and put David Huff to start instead. Just because David Huff combined with his last two outings had pitched a full game giving up no runs and one hit. I’d sign up for that instead of home runs and runs from Hughes.
September 2 – September 4
Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees
The last time these two teams faced one another, the White Sox swept the Yankees in three games. This time it should be a bit different since we didn’t have any power bats in our lineup at the time (minus Robinson Cano). This White Sox team is a bit different since they gave up a lot of their key players during the season to contending teams, so it should be an easier battle this time around. If all goes according to plan, the best case scenario would be to take two out of three. I’d be greedy saying I want the sweep, but hey…don’t we all?
September 5 – September 8
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
The Red Sox and Yankees were the highlight of ESPN baseball two weeks ago when the Red Sox woke up the Yankees after an intentionally pitch to Alex Rodriguez hit him in his ribs. This time it’s a four game set at Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox will have to face off against the Yankees once again. The Yankees took two out of three last time due to great pitching and timely hitting. The Yankees need to have the same formula coming into the series. The keys to this series: keep Jacoby Ellsbury off base since he’s the Red Sox version of Brett Gardner and find a way to get David Ortiz out anyway they can. (As of the morning of August 30, Ortiz has been in a slump going 0 for his last 23). This series is crucial. The Yankees need to at least take two out of the four games.
September 9 – September 12
New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles
The Yankees go from one four game series to another four game series, this time traveling to Camden Yards for this four game set vs. the Orioles. Keys to the rest of the Orioles series is simple: Don’t give them anything to hit, especially Chris Davis. One mistake and it could go out to Eutaw street faster than you can say “Mariano Rivera“. Which means I strongly advise Joe Girardi to again not play Phil Hughes. Don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this.
September 13 – September 15
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
After the Orioles series, the Yankees go to Boston and play another series at Fenway. Yep, same old same old Yankees vs. Red Sox. But this has more on the line for the Yankees than it does for the Red Sox. Let’s just say find a way to stop the Red Sox bats, score some runs, take two out of three and get the heck out of there? Sound good? Good.
September 17 – September 19
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Yankees go to Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays in their final showdown this season. The Yankees have owned the Blue Jays this season, minus the most recent series where the Blue Jays took two out of three from the Yankees. Well, the Yankees will be looking for a vengeance. Key to this series: Keep the power hitters at bay, don’t walk Jose Reyes and Rajai Davis–and try to get to the Blue Jays pitching. The Yankees have the discipline to do so and have proved it in the past.
September 20 – September 22
San Francisco Giants vs. New York Yankees
All right, who made this schedule? An interleague game at the end of the year? Anyway, back to the topic at hand: The Giants this year–aren’t very good (and that’s an understatement). The Yankees could have themselves a two out of three series (or maybe a sweep) if the Yankees run into bad pitching, which the Giants have had this season. Well, we don’t know when the Giants will come back to Yankee Stadium so we might as well enjoy this series (that and we could see how starstruck the players get when they run into Mariano Rivera).
September 24 – September 26
Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees
The final series at Yankee Stadium for the 2013 season is against the Tampa Bay Rays who have the pitching to get them where they need to be if they make the first wild card spot. The keys to this series is simple: Don’t give any of the power hitters (and there are some power hitters) anything good to hit. That includes Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce…you get the picture. It’s also important to stay patient with the pitchers. You never know when you can get into their bullpen which has had an up and down year.
September 27 – September 29
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
The final series of the season takes the Yankees to Texas, but not to face the Rangers. Instead, they will face the Houston Astros. Honestly, if the Yankees can’t sweep the Astros, then we don’t deserve to be contending. The Houston Astros are a minor league team in the Major Leagues, and that’s me putting it as nicely as I can. Depending where the Yankees are in the wild card standings at this point in the season, this series is important. This series could make or break the chances of getting into the playoffs if the race is that close in the end.
Tonight at 7 p.m. catch the third installment of “The Captain Returns.” Hopefully this is the LAST time he has to return from an injury. Here’s your starting lineup!
Phil Hughes RHP
Some Notes and Transactions:
— Well if you looked at the lineup, Derek Jeter is back. Also R.A. Dickey is on the mound so a word of advice to the Yankees: Keep your hands in because that knuckleball will find a way to hit you.
— This isn’t Yankees news but it’s important to address it: Matt Harvey of the New York Mets had an MRI done at the Hospital of Special Surgery this morning and his MRI results revealed a partial tear in his UCL. He’s going on the DL and will miss some time. I’m wishing Matt Harvey a speedy recovery and hope he returns soon.
Yankees need this game. If not, they’ll get swept by the Rays and the Yankees playoff chances will diminsh. Here’s your lineup:
Ivan Nova RHP
Some Notes and Transactions:
— Derek Jeter has the day-off today. If all goes well, he’ll meet the Yankees in Toronto tomorrow for the series vs. the Blue Jays.
— Lyle Overbay feels well enough to play today. He sat out the last two games with a stomach virus. Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells were joking about him.
Cano to Overbay: “You’re getting your color back,”
Wells to Cano: “Whatever color he had,”
— Yesterday I was having a conversation with someone on Twitter about Mark Reynolds possibly being a fit at 3B next year if A-Rod is suspended. Well, it looks like today the Yankees are going to try it out and see for themselves.
LHP CC Sabathia
Some Notes and Transactions:
— Brett Gardner‘s X-Ray results came back earlier today and they were clean. Gardner is just having the day off vs. the left hander Price.
— Derek Jeter will have one more rehab start tonight and then will join the Yankees in Toronto. I’ll be covering Derek Jeter’s rehab start so follow me on Twitter @dfiregirl4 for Jeter updates.