Heading into the weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees are in desperation mode. After getting swept by the first place Baltimore Orioles in a rain-shortened two-game set, the Bombers, if you can still call them that, will have to win just over twice as many games as they lose the rest of the way, and hope the Orioles collapse if they want any chance for an AL East crown. More realistically, the Yankees should be looking at the second wild card, but losing games, isn’t going to help their cause, as more teams supplant themselves between the last playoff spot and the Yankees.
Most thought when the Bombers were decimated by injuries to their starting rotation, losing Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, C.C. Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka, that the fill-in group of Brandon McCarthy, Shane Greene, and holdover Hiroki Kuroda, would even be able to keep the Yankees above .500, let alone in playoff contention. Unfortunately for the Yankees, the Bombers’ moniker no longer applies to the team this is in the lower-third of all AL teams in offensive production. The loss of Robinson Cano, and the additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran, were not enough to offset Cano’s departure, and as a result, the Yankees are looking at a second straight season with October baseball, in this, Derek Jeter‘s final run in the Bronx.
The Yankees face-off against a Tampa Bay Rays’ team that has been decimated by injuries as well, after being picked by many (this author included), to win the AL East in 2014. Pitching issues and a lack of offensive production has left Joe Maddon‘s team hovering at or near the bottom of the division all season. It’s a battle of M*A*S*H units this weekend in St. Petersburg, and the team that comes out on the losing end, is all but done for 2014.