Tonight was a perfect illustration of why it’s so hard to play from behind in a pennant race.
The Yankees win a huge game then can only watch helplessly as Tampa Bay’s terrible bullpen blows a game against Boston. So the Yankees remain 2.5 games behind Boston.
It’s not impossible. But with every day that passes, it becomes less likely. Look at it this way: Boston can go 3-4 and finish with 95 wins. The Yankees would have to go 6-2 to tie the.
The good news is that the Tigers are just about finished. The Yankees now lead them by 5.5 games (six in the loss column). The magic number for a playoff berth is 3.
I’m sure there are Yankee fans out there who will demand a fight to the finish to try and win the division. But based on how he used his bullpen today, Joe Torre is going to make sure guys like Luis Vizcaino get the proper rest rather than blow them out in pursuit of a secondary goal. A desperate manager would have used the Viz in the eighth inning today.
Make the playoffs, that is what counts. Once the tournament starts, nobody cares who won the division. Over these next eight games, the goal has to be to get Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain and Vizcaino as prepared as they can be.