The New York Yankees, who once saw their lead at ten games in late July, now stand just two games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles after losing two of three to the O’s at Yankee Stadium this weekend. The rosters did expand on Saturday, but New York is still missing some of their key pieces and with manager Joe Girardi shuffling starters around in the rotation, you can see the urgency starting to kick in. Now, the Yankees begin a stretch of 26 games in which they will play 17 of them on the road.
The stretch starts with a ten-game road trip which begins in Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays. Ever since the Rays got third baseman Evan Longoria back from the disabled list in early August, they have been a completely different team. Manager Joe Maddon was searching for a spark and Longo has been that. Tampa now stands just 3.5 games back of the Yankees thanks to the aforementioned Longoria, their excellent starting pitching, and their phenomenal closer Fernando Rodney (40 saves).
The series begins Monday when Yankees’ ace CC Sabathia faces James Shields of the Rays. With New York fans in a state of panic, this is a start that the Bombers need to get an ace-like performance from CC. Otherwise, Tampa will continue to bloom with confidence. However, New York may be getting back a reinforcement that helped spark a past struggling Yankees’ team in 2009.
Yes, I am talking about their third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Even though A-Rod’s performance hasn’t been vintage Alex, he has still been able to be a threat in the lineup and clearly the other players missed that presence. Maybe having Alex in Tampa will bring the team the boost they needed.
On the Yanks Go Yard Show, I break down the Yankees’ struggles with the Orioles, the pitching matchups, as well as the impact of some of the players called up to the 40-man roster may have on the remainder of the season. Have a Happy Labor Day Everyone!