The Yankees were off last night, but the Rays weren’t. Tampa Bay won again on Thursday, which means the Yankees will open this weekend series in Cleveland with a two-and-a-half-game lead in the American League East.
“(The Rays) have played exceptional, that’s the bottom line,” Joe Girardi said. “They go on a West Coast trip and do a great job out there. They’ve been playing really well. We went through a period like that, too. It’s unfortunate we didn’t play well (in Chicago).”
Since August 7, the Rays have played 17 days in a row. They’ve gone 14-3 in that span. Before yesterday, the Yankees had played 20 days in a row, going 11-9.
“We really haven’t had that breakout like I think we had in May or June,” Nick Swisher said. “We had a monster June, so we just need to get back to that. We’re not sweating anything or stressing nothing. I think we can make a lot of good things happen in a short amount of time.”
Before the Chicago sweep, the Yankees had played well during this stretch of consecutive games. They’d won 11 of 17 heading into the White Sox series. They’d split against the Tigers, won three of four against the Rangers, and taken two of three against the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Mariners. Even with the Rays hot streak, the Yankees still have a five-game lead heading into Chicago.
“You don’t pay attention usually until September,” Derek Jeter said. “And we play everybody, you know what I mean? Everyone who’s in the race we play pretty much through most of September. Like I always say, if you win your games, you’ll be fine.”
All but nine of the Yankees remaining games are against American League East opponents. They play these three games in Cleveland, three games at home against the A’s, and three games on the road against the Twins. Otherwise, there are six games left against the Rays, six against the Red Sox, seven against the Orioles and 10 against the Blue Jays.
Remember that hot streak when the Yankees won 10 in a row in June? You know what their division lead was at the end of that stretch? It was 2.5 games, just like it is today.
“I haven’t counted down the days left in the season yet,” Phil Hughes said. “So, I mean, there’s still a lot of baseball left. Five, six weeks, whatever it is, but that’s still a lot of games. We have to play better, so hopefully we can go to Cleveland and do that.”
Associated Press photo