A few things have to go just right. The rain has to hold off here in Baltimore. The Yankees have to win their third in a row against the Orioles. The Rays have to lose in Boston. If those dominoes fall the right way, the Yankees will be tied in the wild card standings for the final playoff spot.
Of course, if the Yankees lose in Baltimore and the Indians win in Chicago, the Yankees will once again have two teams standing between them and the Rays.
There’s a big out-of-town scoreboard here at Camden Yards, and it’s going to be worth watching tonight.
“It’s really hard for me not to see it because, where I stand and where it’s at,” Joe Girardi said. “I would have to be looking almost straight down not to see it. It’s a little bit harder for the players when they’re on the field or when they’re hitting, and I’m sure they recognize it just like anyone else.
“And I’ve said many times, it’s impossible to ignore it. You’re going to see it, and just like a game goes up and down, that scoreboard can go up and down too where you see a team has a lead and then they blow a lead, so I think everyone is in tune with it.”
For now, the Yankees are still chasing, as they’ve been doing most of the year. They’ve pulled within striking distance, but there’s still plenty of time for this thing to swing one way or the other. Each day now feels monumental in one way or another.
“It’s obviously become much more interesting the last three or four weeks as we’ve got guys back,” Girardi said. “It became a lot more interesting. You know every day it has that feeling of a playoff game. … One day it’s two and a half (back), one day it’s three and a half, one day it’s one and a half. I think that emotion comes with the chasing part of it.”
• Ivan Nova threw a bullpen today, and although he still sounds somewhat concerned about the tightness in his triceps, it also sounds like he’s still on schedule to make his next start. “I think he’s ready to go, I do,” Girardi said. “I think he’s ready to go on Sunday. Obviously we’ll watch him, but this is not the first time we’ve dealt with this in the course of the season, and he’s pitched very well for us. To me it’s probably a lot of the same of what he’s been dealing with, and it’s just part of being a pitcher.”
• Nova on the state of his arm: “It was kind of like tight a little bit (after Tuesday’s start), but now it feels good. Yesterday, you feel a little sore after you pitch so you have to wait until the second day to really know how you feel. And it feels good.”
• Still waiting for Austin Romine to be cleared to play. Today he’s taking one of the ImPACT tests mean to judge concussions, and Girardi said he’s hopeful Romine will be available sometime over the weekend. “Just I’m a little off,” Romine said. “With a concussion, that’s what it is, it’s just a little off. But you know, it’s going in the right direction. Headache’s gone, neck’s not sore, I feel a little better every day I keep waking up, so it’s going the right way.”
• Romine had a much worse concussion in 2011, and he’s using that to gauge how this one is going. “It was a play at the plate, and I hit my head on the ground (last time),” Romine said. “That one was a lot more severe. I was dizzy for like 25 days. I’m not feeling any of those symptoms, to that magnitude, at all. So I know we’re going in the right direction.”
• Still a little bit of concern about Alex Rodriguez’s hamstring, which is why he’s back at DH today. “I just asked him how he felt, and he said he felt better,” Girardi said. “He didn’t tell me that he felt great, so I just decided to DH him. It was my decision. … I think it’s something we’ve got to watch a little bit.”
• Girardi said he was considering a few possibilities if Rodriguez were able to play the field today, including the possibility of giving Robinson Cano a DH day and using Eduardo Nunez at second. Instead, Nunez will play third so that Rodriguez can get another day mostly off his feet.
• Boone Logan was talking about possibly playing catch today, and Girardi made it sound like Dr. James Andrews has reviewed Logan’s MRI and decided there’s nothing seriously wrong. “I think everything is fine,” Girardi said. “I think he feels better. It’s a little bit slower than the other guys so far, but he does feel better.”
• Sounds like Mariano Rivera is probably not available today. “I’ll talk him, but it’s been a pretty heavy workload, so I’ll have to see,” Girardi said.
• Speaking of Rivera, the Red Sox announced that they’re honor him before Sunday’s game at Fenway. “That should be interesting,” Girardi said. “I’m sure he’ll get a lot of respect there for what he’s done in his career. They have great fans there. I thought I heard some cheers the last time he came in a game there. I think people appreciate what he’s done and what he’s meant to the game.”
Associated Press photos