The Yankees had their last off day of the season last night and the Seattle Mariners won their game, which means that the Yankees are now five games behind Seattle for the second wild card with 21 games left to play. The Cleveland Indians are half a game ahead of the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers are 4.5 games ahead.
The Yankees are trying to remain optimistic at this point even though they will likely have to go at least 15-6 to have a chance, which will mean that the offense will have to score more runs than they have been recently.
Derek Jeter, who saw Michael Jordan, Dave Winfield and Cal Ripken Jr. come to Yankee Stadium as surprise guests for Derek Jeter Day, is one player who is not giving up on the season, as his career winds down. “We’re still in a position where if we win our games, then we’ll be all right,” Jeter said.
Chase Headley, who has never played in the playoffs before, is also remaining optimistic and knows that all the team can do is win as many games as possible. “Well, it’s obviously not the easiest path that we have built for ourselves, but we’re going to keep fighting,” Headley said. “We’ve got to take care of our own business. We’ve got to go out and win games and win series. That’s all we can really focus on.”
The Yankees play the rest of their games against American League East division opponents. Eight of their games will be against the first-place Baltimore Orioles, who have won five of their past seven games, and they will end their current nine-game homestand, in which they are 3-3 so far, with a three-game series against the fourth-place Tampa Bay Rays.
In their previous series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees offense didn’t score any runs in two out of the three games. Shane Greene and especially Michael Pineda both pitched very well in the two losses but couldn’t get the win because of the inept offense. The Yankees only had three hits in Friday’s loss, and in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat, the offense only had four hits. They can’t repeat that offensive performance if they are going to sweep the Rays.
Tampa Bay, who has lost seven of their past 12 games, is 23rd in all of baseball in runs scored and 20th in all of baseball with their .248 batting average. When the Yankees played the Rays from August 15-17, at Tropicana Field, the Yankees won two out of the three games. David Robertson, who has been a bright spot for the Yankees this season with his 35 saves, saved both games that the Yankees won.
Chris Archer, who will pitch against the Yankees during Tuesday’s game, has had a lot of success against the Bronx Bombers in his career. He has a 1.98 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season and had a 1.23 ERA in three starts against the Yankees last season. However, Archer has allowed 13 runs combined in his last two starts and the Yankees will need to take advantage of his recent struggles by scoring a few runs off of him.
For the Yankees, Hiroki Kuroda has allowed two runs or fewer in all of his last four starts.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium:
Tuesday 7:05 p.m. on YES
Hiroki Kuroda (10-8, 3.78 ERA)
Chris Archer (8-8, 3.60 ERA)
Wednesday 7:05 p.m. on YES
Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.46 ERA)
Jake Odorizzi (10-11, 3.84 ERA)
Thursday 7:05 p.m. on YES
Michael Pineda (3-4, 1:80 ERA in nine starts)
Alex Cobb (9-7, 2.83 ERA)