It’s nice to be talking magic numbers isn’t it? The New York Yankees are closing in on a playoff berth and more importantly the American League East title as they took the rubber match of a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins behind the second straight dominant start from CC Sabathia and the power of a six-run third inning for an 8-2 victory. The magic number for the Yankees to clinch a postseason spot is down to four games while the much better fate of winning the AL East is six games with seven left to play.
We’ve discussed how the Yankees (90-65) schedule to finish out the season has been kind and they’ve been doing their part by winning games they should down the stretch. With just a week left to play, they cannot let up now and stating the obvious they need Sabathia to continue to dominate. The big lefty tossed eight innings of two-run ball with ten strikeouts. He allowed just six hits and walked only one batter. It marks the second straight start for Sabathia (14-6) in which he went eight innings and recorded double-digit strikeouts.
These are the types of performances expected of an ace and Sabathia will need to provide one more before the regular season is concluded. As it stands now, if the Yankees had to play in the wild card play-in game Sabathia could work on just three days rest. However, if the Yankees win the division, he’d stay on turn or possibly get one more day depending on where they finish overall in the American League standings. Right now they sit just one game behind the Texas Rangers for home-field advantage in the AL playoffs.
In order for the Yankees to finish strong they’ll need the type of overall production they received in yesterday’s matinee with the Twins. Besides Sabathia’s stellar outing, the Yankees offense pounced on Twins reliever Brian Duensing, who stepped in for Samuel Deduno after he left with eye irritation, for six runs in the third. Robinson Cano had the first of his two doubles, a two-run line drive to right field, as he seems to be heading out of his September swoon. Nick Swisher added a RBI-single and Curtis Granderson ripped a two-run triple. Granderson would come around to score on a wild pitch for the sixth run of the frame.
Chris Dickerson hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to cap the scoring for the Bombers. Derek Jeter‘s hit streak ended at 19 games and Brett Gardner made an appearance in left field as a defensive replacement, his first game action in the Majors since April 17. The Yankees reached 90 wins for the eleventh season in the last twelve.
The all-around effort is what the Yankees expect going forward as they head to Toronto for a four-game series with the woeful Toronto Blue Jays. Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.97 ERA) who is coming off a dreadful start faces Brandon Morrow (8-7, 3.28 ERA) who stands to be the toughest starter the Yankees will see in the set.