You’ve heard this story before, Hiroki Kuroda gives the Yankees a chance to win, but the offense and pen can’t deliver in a 6-2 loss. The problem this time is with 9 games left, there isn’t time for New York to work things out.
Kuroda struggled early, allowing 2 on in each of the first 3 innings, giving up 2 in the 3rd. But he stuck with it, and gave the Bombers a chance to win the game, going 6 innings of 3 run ball. But as it has happened often the last month, the bullpen wasn’t up to the task. Joba Chamberlain, whether he’s brought into close games or blowouts, the righty has struggled all year. With two on and no outs, Chamberlain surrendered a 3-run homer to Adam Lind, blowing the game open.
The Yankees offense was stagnant once again, managing to get nothing but a Curtis Granderson solo shot off Jays starter Todd Redmond.
It was the bombers 5th loss in their last 6 after a big series win over Baltimore, which put them just a game out of wild card. But now another tough loss to the Jays could mean the end of the line for the 2013 season. After starting the season 12-1 against their AL East foes, the Yankees are just 2-4 in their final 6 against Toronto. Down 3.5 in the Wildcard, you can look at those 4 losses as being the difference. Of course there are other games to point to, a blown sweep opportunity to Baltimore last month. A sweep to the sox in Chicago. 4 losses to the Mets in June. Yet somehow, with 9 to go, 3.5 with 3 to go against Tampa, they’re not mathematically out. But there are 2 other teams between the and the Rays, so it would probably mean winning out and hoping the Orioles and Indians lose a lot.
Focus shifts back to the Bronx for what could be Mariano Rivera’s final 6 home games. The closer will be honored Sunday before their finale with the Giants. The hope is to make the last 9 count, force their way into a Wild Card, and give their first ballot hall-of-fame closer one more shot to do what he does best, perform in October.
CC Sabathia has had a down year, but he needs to put that behind him and give New York his best start of the year tonight. The defending champion Giants are a shadow of the team they were last season, but they’re dangerous and want to play spoiler to finish their season on a high note. They’ve got former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum going, and he always has the chance to put up a big performance.
Making that’s worse is that the rays and orioles play each other this weekend, meaning any loss means dropping down further. The Yankees are the point where just winning a series isn’t good enough. They have to look at each game as a must win.