Just a few notes and links worth keeping in mind…
• The Rangers and Rays begin a four-game series tonight in Florida, which means the Yankees will gain a half game on one of the current wild card leaders. But they might not gain a half game in the wild card race. Cleveland is only a half game out, so if the Indians win tonight in Kansas City, they’ll move into the second wild card spot and the Yankees will have lost a half game in the race.
• The Indians can move into the second wild card spot if they beat the Royals tonight. But if the Indians lose, the Royals will move into a tie with the Yankees. So, basically, the Yankees best-case scenario tonight involves being tied with the Royals with two weeks to play. The Orioles have an off day just like the Yankees.
• Robinson Cano believes the Yankees will make the playoffs, and he puts that trust in a higher power. “We will,” Cano told Newsday. “I think God has a plan for Mo.”
• As expected, a great look at the Yankees disappointment in Boston comes from our good friend David Waldstein, who offered this nugget: “Girardi first let his team know of his disappointment with their effort in a stern postgame meeting, then issued the same emphatic message to reporters.” That clubhouse was extremely quiet last night.
• How bad was the Yankees pitching against Boston? According to the stats people at ESPN, the Yankees’ season ERA against the Red Sox was the worst ever. “The Yankees’ ERA of 6.19 tops the 1959’s staff’s 6.17. … According to StatsPass, the Yankees allowed a .503 slugging percentage to the Red Sox this season, which is the highest since 1921. The Sox’s batting average (.315) and OBP (.383) are the 2nd-highest since 1921.”
• Also from ESPN’s number crunchers: The Yankees need to shoot for 89 wins according to a million simulations of these final two weeks of the season. According to ESPN, AL wild card contenders who finished with 88 wins in those simulations, made the postseason a little more than 40 percent of the time, and teams that finished with 89 wins advanced nearly 80 percent of the time. So, 10-2 the rest of the way. That’s a goal to keep in mind.
• Mariano Rivera has been named one of the six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year presented by the Players’ Association. Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, Carlos Beltran and Adrian Gonzalez are the other finalists. Rivera’s setup man, Dave Robertson, has been named the Yankees nominee for the Roberto Clemente award.
• Failed to mention this last week, but the Yankees have named their four pitchers going to the Arizona Fall League: RHP Brett Gerritse, RHP James Pazos, LHP Fred Lewis and LHP Vidal Nuno. Clearly the Yankees want to give Nuno some innings to make up for time lost with the groin issue. The Lewis assignment is curious. He’s a bit off the radar, there’s nothing particularly overwhelming about his numbers, and he’s Rule 5 eligible this winter.
Associated Press photo