It’s Texas. Why not start this post with a picture of Andy Pettitte?
Down here in Pettitte’s home state — also the birth place of Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman, Greg Golson and Boone Logan — the Yankees are about to begin the final stage of their season. The last three weeks tend to take on added significance most seasons, but that’s especially true when the Yankees are two and a half games up with 22 games to play and a beast of a schedule ahead of them.
• Three games against Texas, the first place team in the West.
• Three games against Tampa Bay, the team chasing the Yankees in the East.
• Three games against Baltimore, the team that just took two out of three in the Bronx.
• Four games against Tampa Bay, possibly the most important series of the year.
• Three games against Boston, I’m sure those won’t mean anything.
• Three games against Toronto, a team that would be competing in any other division.
• Three games against Boston, in Boston.
The season ends with three games at Fenway. It’s that kind of year. These are big games coming up, but the division is in the Yankees hands.
“I know we’re in first place, so if we win our games, we don’t have to worry about anybody else,” Derek Jeter said this week. “That’s always the approach I’ve taken. If you’re trying to catch someone, then you look at the scoreboard and hope you get some help. In our situation, we play the teams that are close to us, so if we win our games, we’ll be fine.”
Associated Press photo from Pettitte’s rehab start last night.