If you’re looking for any sort of bright side this morning, you can find it in the words of Alex Rodriguez.
“I guess the good news is, we’re leaving Boston.”
The Yankees have lost seven of their past 11 games, a stretch of disappointment that left them unable to take advantage of similar stumbles by the Rays and Rangers. But if you magically eliminate these most recent Red Sox games, then the Yankees have won nine of 12 … or 15 of 21 … or 20 of 28 … depending on how far back you want to go. They’ve basically played well for a month and a half whenever they haven’t played the Red Sox.
“I know we’re right in the mix,” Rodriguez said. “Nothing that a two- or three-game winning streak can’t fix. If we go out and win four of the next five starting on Tuesday, I think we’re right back into this thing. I think if you take Boston away, over the last two or three weeks, we’ve played really good baseball. Boston has done an absolute number on us. They’ve basically whipped our …”
Well, you know what they’ve whipped. You just watched it happen for three days at Fenway.
Pitching has been a real problem. Defense has let the Yankees down at times. The lineup is thinner today than it was a week ago. Also there’s that mathematical problem of being three games out with 12 to play and having several teams to jump.
Let there be no doubt. The situation is bad for the Yankees. They’ve put themselves in a bad spot, and whatever you blame — the injuries, the front office, managerial decisions, veteran decline, an unproductive farm system — the short-term situation isn’t changing unless the Yankees take full advantage of the schedule ahead. It’s really the only good news to offer this morning.
Three against last place Toronto. Three against last place San Francisco. Three against wild-card leading Tampa Bay. And three against last place Houston.
Nine games against awful teams. Three games against a team that Yankees need to beat to advance.
“We stunk here (in Boston),” Joe Girardi said. “… (Playing sloppy games) doesn’t help. It doesn’t help. But like I said, we have a chance to turn it around on Tuesday. These guys have gotten up off the carpet many times. We’re going to have to do it again if we want to play in October. We’re going to have to put together a really good streak.”
Make that a really, really good streak. The Yankees need to win 11 of 12 just to reach 90 wins. The wild card leaders have played poorly enough that 90 wins might do it, but that’s a tough number to reach at this point. They’ve taken their beating. Now they’ve got to take advantage of what’s left.
Associated Press photo